Foursquare's latest revenue grab: Expanding its ad platform to 1.5 million small businesses

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Foursquare is trying to silence its critics in the most effective way possible: by generating real revenue.

The company announced today that it’s expanding the availability of its self-serve ad platform, which will allow more small businesses to run ad campaigns without talking to Foursquare’s sales team.

Foursquare’s pitch to businesses is simple. While it’s been impossible traditionally to tell if advertising to potential customers actually led to those customers visiting your business, Foursquare says its platform fills in the knowledge gap. If Foursquare advertises a business to a user and that user ends up going to the advertised business, then Foursquare can safely say it had a hand in that conversion.

In other words, Foursquare is finally answering a question every business at some point has had: “Are my advertisements actually bringing in new customers?”


Foursquare wants the pricing to make sense here as well. Businesses advertising on Foursquare will only pay when people click on their ads or check-in at their locations via the Foursquare app

For Foursquare, all of this is pretty huge, considering the company is still struggling to shake off the impression that it’s incapable of making the cash it needs to stay afloat, let alone thrive.

So how will this affect you as a Foursquare user? Not all that much — though it’s likely you’ll start seeing more ads for local businesses that you might actually want to go to.

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