Foursquare announced on Monday that it is opening its ads to all small businesses.
Last year, the company launched promoted updates, but they were only available to big chains. That changed this past summer when Foursquare started testing the offering with small businesses. It began with a pilot in New York with a handful of businesses in June, but then expanded in July to "a few thousand local businesses". Now, they're available to anyone who wants to use them.
There are already a million and a half businesses on Foursquare, so this opens up a potentially large avenue for monetization for the company, which secured a $41 million round of funding earlier this year.
"We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a 'like' or a 'click' has any meaning in the real world," the company says in a blog post. "Now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store. We built this to be simple and flexible, learning from our four years of data and relationships with over 1.5 million claimed businesses."
"Any merchant can monitor how many people have viewed their ad, how many have tapped on it, and how many actually came into their store," Foursquare says. "Merchants know what they’re paying for – real actions and real customers. We’ve been testing it with a thousand businesses for the last few months, and the results have been great."
To create an ad on Foursquare, go to foursquare.com/ads, choose an image and offer/tip, set your budget and push it out.
Facebook has also been improving its search functionality. Last month, for example, they announced that you can now search by specific foods in your area, making it a much more powerful local search tool, at least for restaurants.
Foursquare has 40 million users, and according to the company, 40,000 of them are "superusers". Let's see how they respond to all the ads that are about to come their way.