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If in-app ads for Chipotle and Taco Bell were Foursquare’s past, ads for your local coffee joint are Foursquare’s future.

Foursquare has officially launched its self-serve ad platform, giving thousands more small businesses the same powerful location-based advertising that the big food chains and retailers have had for months now. The wider rollout comes months after Foursquare started testing the product with select businesses in New York City.

“The idea behind these new ads is simple – connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive traffic to their stores,” Foursquare wrote in a blog post today.

Via the ads, Foursquare will target users based off two criteria: One, obviously is their location. According to Foursquare, 78 percent of people who search locally actually make purchases. That’s a pretty significant number, and it’s exactly the kind of thing small businesses are going to want to hear before they sign up.


Foursquare’s second targeting criteria is similarly obvious: Foursquare ads will only appear to users who are actually likely to be customers. This not only means you’ll be seeing more promoted venues in your search results, but Foursquare will even bring ads to the app’s homescreen as well.

For users, however, the new ad platform is not necessarily a bad thing. As with Foursquare’s check-ins ads, the company’s self-serve ad platform is fueled by the power of its 3 billion check ins. That data, coupled with all of Foursquare’s added insights, gives Foursquare’s ads something that most ads often lack — relevance.

The ads are particularly good deal for retailers, too: Foursquare says it will only charge for the ads when users click on them, or when they visit the advertised locations.

Slowly but surely Foursquare’s monetization strategy is taking shape.

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