PPBH was intrigued when Foursquare announced last October that it would allow small businesses to advertise on Foursquare.
The premise behind the mobile check-in app being able to actually track a click to a physical visit into your location was promising. Real foot traffic! Measurable ROI!
We set up a campaign using our agency as a guinea pig, writing several ads that looked like this:
But here’s the thing – that was all there was. We could not specify our geo-fence, target audience, or even our cost per click. Foursquare reassured us in their FAQs that our ads would be shown to potential customers based on their location and where they normally check in. We warily treaded forward, hoping for the best.
DISCLAIMER: We realize we are an advertising agency and that new clients won’t just walk through the door (however if you are our dream client and wish to, we are located here). We did, however, expect to garner some insights as to how Foursquare identifies our customers and potentially recommend the service to our clients.
We let our campaign run for nearly four months (11/25/13 – 3/17/14), and here are the stats that Foursquare showed us:
We can toggle between actions and impressions, but that’s it. We cannot see who checked in, who “tapped” our ad or even which ad copy is performing best. These are must-haves for digital advertising and Foursquare doesn’t have them.
We agree that the cost per action is comparable to a cost per click for display ads, and the click through rate is much higher than the industry average. It’s also so neat that you can track check-ins to your location.
When running online ads there is a reasonable expectation for traceable results and Foursquare doesn’t deliver quite yet. There is a small group of us at the agency who check in religiously, and we did not see any new check-ins to our location (according to Foursquare’s analytics and personally checking through the app). We’d like to know how Foursquare counts the check-ins if we can’t see them.
Once these issues are addressed, we could see this service becoming a powerhouse in the retail arena because of its ability to track real visits. Until then, we’ll stay confined to the archaic question “So, how did you hear about us?”