Thursday, July 26, 2012

Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr have all gotten into the “Promoted” game launching advertising products called “Promoted Tweets” and “Highlighted Posts” that offer businesses additional exposure for their content.

On Wednesday, Foursquare is joining them with the launch of “Promoted Updates,” its first paid product offering for merchants.

Last week, Foursquare began allowing business owners to send local updates  say, their specials for the day, or a picture of their new outdoor seating area to their “best customers” when they’re nearby. “Best customers” are those who check in frequently, and possibly have “Liked” the venue on Foursquare.

Now, businesses can aim those updates at users who aren’t their best customers, but could be. The ads are designed to target users whose friends frequently stop by, who have added that venue to one of their Foursquare lists, or who are often visiting similar venues in that neighborhood. These ads aren’t intrusive: They’re confined entirely to the “Explore” tab.

Foursquare is rolling out Promoted Updates and Promoted Specials with a handful of large chains, including Gap, Old Navy, Hilton, JC Penney, Best Buy and Walgreens, as well as some smaller enterprises. The other 1 million merchants registered on Foursquare will be able to advertise through Promoted Updates “in the coming months,” a spokesperson said.