Local businesses will soon have a new way to get visibility on Foursquare via the company’s first real advertisiing product.
Promoted Updates are pretty much the same thing as those Local Updates that launched last week.
But where Local Updates are organic messages that show up on the Friends’ activity tab, the new Promoted Updates are essentially ads that will appear in Foursquare search results on the Explore tab. They’ll show up with a small (but visible) “Promoted” message to distinguish them from regular search/explore results. Here’s a screenshot from Foursquare’s announcement:
The Promoted Updates are being tested now by about 20 companies across the U.S. Foursquare’s announcement seems to suggest that they’re going to keep the advertiser group small for at least a couple months to see how businesses use them and how consumers interact with them. As Greg Sterling wrote on Marketing Land, one thing Foursquare needs to figure out is the best payment model for advertisers; during the test, it’ll be on a cost-per-action basis.
In any case, smart move for Foursquare and no at all surprising. The company has made a lot of changes over the past year to beef up its local search prowess and it’s time to start making some money.