Foursquare unveils location-based ad service

Foursquare unveils a new service that aims to deliver targeted ads to customers "based on the places they go in the physical world" (AFP Photo/Abd Doumany) (AFP/File)

San Francisco (AFP) - Location-based social network Foursquare on Tuesday unveiled a new service that aims to deliver targeted ads to customers "based on the places they go in the physical world."

The ad platform called Pinpoint is based on "the world's most accurate location intelligence available," Foursquare said on the website for the new service.

Foursquare gained notoriety as a smartphone-based social network that tracked the location of users to allow people to more easily find and meet their friends.

Last year, it split into two separate smartphone apps: Swarm, which let users keep track of friends, and the rebranded Foursquare, offering local search and recommendation.

The advertising service enables Foursquare to give better data to advertisers based on check-ins and movements of users.

Foursquare said some companies are already using the service include AT&T, Fedex, Choice Hotels and Olive Garden restaurants.

The notion of location-based advertising has been around for years, but has been limited by technology as well as user privacy concerns.

Foursquare says that Pinpoint "ensures that advertisers can easily quantify how effective their campaigns are in driving critical foot traffic into locations."

The new service can work with other apps and can deliver ads to users on smartphones, tablets or PCs.

Foursquare product vice president Noah Weiss said on Twitter that the service is based on "7+ billion check-ins + 6yrs of tech + deep AdTech integration."

"We have six years of first-party location intelligence, which has created a map of the world the way your mobile device sees it," the website said.

"Our snap-to-place technology filters out inaccurate location data, so that advertisers get only the precise places that their audience goes to in the real world."

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