“I think Foursquare has gone a long way beyond the novelty of a check-in,” said Peter Krasilovsky, VP and senior analyst at BIA/Kelsey. “Previously they had been all about coupons that were sold through them by American Express and then they got into offering loyalty services … so they really crossed the spectrum for loyalty engagement. [Foursquare Ads] is the next step for them to really provide a wide range of marketing services.”
Citing BIA/Kelsey findings, 12 million-14 million small businesses in the U.S. today now use approximately eight different channels for marketing purposes. It’s “tremendously different than the days when they did the Yellow Pages and maybe a little search,” he added. “Having a one-stop with many different solutions is a good thing for them.”
Foursquare is not the only game in town sniffing out small-business ad opportunity. Twitter acquired Spindle in June, bringing local search and personalized alerts into the fold. The social network’s also been credited with developing geo-targeted ads for retailers and has, for a while now, been developing ad solutions for small businesses.
“If you told me a year ago that Twitter and Foursquare would be going up against each other, I’d say that wouldn’t make any sense, but worlds are converging,” Krasilovsky said. “It’s not only with them, but many other players. They’re all looking to provide integrated marketing solutions for small businesses. That’s where the volume is and Twitter’s Spindle acquisition is really aimed at that same target group.”
Although both companies are attracting more interest from the SMB crowd in terms of advertising, both have a long way to go before they could introduce themselves as commerce marketing providers for small business, he said.