Foursquare, the check-in and local search app maker, has rolled out ads for local businesses, as it continues its efforts to develop its business model.
The ads service is aimed at getting people who normally walk past storefronts to actually enter them, by connecting businesses with people located nearby. The company has been trialling the technology with a few thousand businesses since July.
Merchants create an ad by uploading an image of their location and offering a special offer or tip to customers. After setting their monthly advertising budget they push the ad live so that is displayed to people in the vicinity of their shop.
Businesses can then monitor the number of people that have seen their app, how many have elected to tap on it and how many have come into their store as a result.
“We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a ‘like’ or a ‘click’ has any meaning in the real world; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store,” the company said in a blog post.
Foursquare has gathered data on the relationships between users and more than 1.5 million businesses over the past four years. However, it hasn’t converted its potential into significant revenue.
According to reports, the company generated $2 million in revenue in 2012 but its main source of revenue — ads on its search engine — have disappointed.
The company secured $41 million in funding in April and was recently reported to have attracted interest from Microsoft and American Express.