According to AdWeek Foursquare is about to introduce a new ad unit/format called “Tap to Tweet.” It’s another flavor of “post check-in” ads that the company previously introduced.
After a venue check-in, a brand or advertiser message appears asking the user to tweet to his/her followers on Twitter (see image below).
Reportedly the company tested this with Mastercard during the SXSW conference several weeks ago. The minimum spend commitment is relatively steep: $100,000.
Cleverly this is a way to amplify Foursquare advertisers’ messages using a third party platform, which is much larger. Foursquare claims roughly 45 million “registered” users. Twitter says it has 241 monthly active users (globally) as of December 31, 2013.
Qualifying that extended reach is the fact that Foursquare users must first check in and then connect their Twitter and Foursquare accounts (if not already linked). Users then have to be willing to associate themselves with the brand and its messaging. That’s more likely to happen when there’s an offer or very attractive promotion of some sort — rather than some generic branding message.
Here’s an example of one of the Mastercard Tap to Tweet ads via AdWeek:
Foursquare has been very creative in trying to grow ad revenue. Ironically Foursquare could probably generate enough revenue to support itself over the long term as an independent company. However investors will relatively soon be demanding a “liquidity event” — either an IPO or acquisition.
It’s still very hard to imagine Foursquare getting to an IPO, however.