In May, Foursquare will introduce the first of two new ad types for advertisers hungry to capitalize on data the company has collected from 30 million users who have checked in at restaurants, bars, and other venues more than 3.5 billion times, according to a pitch deck obtained by Valleywag.
Oddly, the document just happened to surface on the same day Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley tried to quiet critics who claim his company isn't making money. Coincidence? Foursquare did not respond to a request for comment.
Foursquare, according to the internal document, plans to offer a check-in retargeting tool to help advertisers improve the performance of their display, video, or Facebook Exchange ad buys with knowledge gleaned from member check-ins. Advertisers with budgets between $50,000 and $75,000 can supplement their existing knowledge on customers' purchase or browsing activities with so-called "check-in markers," and show their ads to a more specific type of mom, traveler, or luxury-brand buyer.
An advertiser who wants to reach a business traveler could turn to Foursquare to help it locate people who checked in at airports, rental car locations, or hotels twice in the previous 90 days, the company explains in the document. The existence of this type of ad unit is supported by a mid-April report on Foursquare's intent to help advertisers refine their targeting with location data.
Also in the works, according to the document, is a post check-in ad unit available to advertisers who want to serve up spots inside Foursquare's applications. The unit, launching in late June or early July, shows Foursquare users a targeted ad after they've checked in to specific venue.
Though clearly motivated by an increased pressure to make money, Foursquare's check-in themed ad plans clash with a newfound mission centered on personalized local search. One the one hand, Foursquare is telling consumers: "Hey, you have it wrong, we're not a check-in app anymore. We're local search." On the other, it's saying to advertisers: "Look at all this juicy check-in data we have for you." Can Foursquare have it both ways?