Foursquare Takes Targeted Ads to the Next Level

Foursquare has collected a lot of location data over the five years they have been in existence. Now, they are starting to monetize that data by providing targeted ads on mobile devices and computers. How does Foursquare find advertisers? Simple. They sell the spots directly. There are 30 staff members just waiting to take your order.

Foursquare has a good thing going. Knowing where people spend their time gives you a lot of insight on what is important to them. Are they heading to the gym daily, week after week? They may need devices for counting steps, calories burned, or monitoring vitals. Does someone frequent the finest restaurants in town? Perhaps they are interested in food and drink magazines or a nice wine club. It’s not too difficult to discern people’s interests by their habits and the places they visit.

So, how is data collected? When you use the site from your computer or any smart tech device, cookies feed information to Foursquare. On your mobile device, you are tracked by device ID number. Of course, if you login, that helps. In addition, the app collects vital information simply based on your location. The social networking company gets about a billion “check ins” per year with people outright telling Foursquare where they are at the moment. Currently, those “check ins” are used for targeted ads. With it, GPS tracking has the potential to increase targeted ads in the long term.

What is the future of Foursquare? The 170 employees work hard to operate the multimillion dollar business. They’ve caught the eye of Microsoft who recently signed a data licensing deal with the company. This comes after a 15 million dollar investment from Microsoft in the success of Foursquare. How Microsoft will use the data they receive from Foursquare remains to be seen, but we can certainly look forward to upgraded benefits of the Windows Phone OS and the Bing search engine.