Foursquare Ads: Open for (Small) Business

Foursquare Ads: Open for (Small) Business

By: Alexandra Gladu

You already know that collecting Facebook likes and Twitter followers are free and effective ways to market your small business, but how do you know if those likes and follows are actually bringing in customers? With a new feature from Foursquare, small business owners can see their social media marketing translate into new customers – and if they don’t, they don’t pay.

Foursquare Ads allow small business owners to reach the consumers they need most and to see how effectively they are reaching those consumers. It’s all thanks to the app’s “check in” feature, which allows users to report where they are – which restaurants they’re trying, which retail stores they’re frequenting, and so on. Using this information, Foursquare targets ads to users who are in the same geographic area as the advertising business and have previously checked in at similar businesses. These consumers, according to the experts at Foursquare, are the most likely users to become new customers to the small business.

Foursquare also uses the check-in feature to demonstrate return on investment and set its prices for advertisers. When a small business registers to use Foursquare ads, the business owner sets a monthly budget for the campaign, but only pays based on the number of check-ins users make at the business and the number of clicks the ad gets. These statistics are always available to business owners in their Foursquare Ads dashboard, allowing them to see how effective their ads are at all times. In other words, small business owners can easily see their advertising dollars turn into new visitors to their stores, restaurants, or hotels.

The Foursquare Ads system is newly available to small businesses, but test groups prove that it really works. The Bronx Beer Hall, a small business in New York specializing in craft beers, has seen a 155 percent return on investment, and the owner has since turned down all other advertising options.

A whopping 97 percent of Internet users search for local goods and services online, and nearly 78 percent of people who search for local goods on a smartphone end up making a purchase. Foursquare opens the door to an audience of more than 40 million users, but its new Foursquare Ads program makes sure that small business owners reach those users as effectively as possible. To start advertising with Foursquare Ads, visit

Alex is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is double-majoring in Public Relations and Spanish.  Since becoming an intern with Independent We Stand, she has fully adopted the ‘buy local’ lifestyle.  Her favorite indie business is Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C, where she has been known to go a little cupcake crazy. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit or political communication.

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