Foursquare Checks In: Expands into Latin America, Unlocks New Markets

Written on
Mar 31, 2014 
Richard L. Tso  |

ADOTAS – Remember Foursquare, that scrappy company that made headlines when it first burst on the social scene, allowing consumers to check-in at locations around the globe before Facebook began offering similar features on its platform? With gamification elements that encourage social sharing and online conversations about the businesses and restaurants where people frequent, recently Foursquare has gone quiet.

Now it looks as though the company has been quietly been working on its monetization strategies to improve the ways that brands can reach consumers through valuable geolocation information.

Late last week, the social app company announced its move to broaden its advertising and marketing efforts to Latin America, partnering with digital ad and marketing firm Internet Media Services (IMS) as their exclusive ad partner in this highly coveted geographic region. IMS is well-known in the social realms, with clients like Twitter, Waze, Spotify and Netflix.

“We’re confident in Foursquare’s prospects for success in the region, based on our experience with mobile platforms and the trends we’re seeing in the marketplace,” said Maren Lau, CMO at IMS. “Brazil and Mexico will be priority markets for IMS and Brazil today represents one of Foursquare’s fastest growing markets.  This is no surprise, considering that the country (and region as a whole) enjoys one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world.  Another market characteristic which speaks to the potential of Foursquare in Latin America is the fact that Latin American consumers are among the most engaged in social media networks anywhere in the world.”

Over the past two years, IMS has worked extensively with U.S.-based consumer technology companies looking to scale their business across Latin America.  A major focus of this work has been helping these companies navigate the many nuances of the various countries in the region with a bespoke, in-market sales team.

In 2012, IMS was selected by Twitter as the company’s exclusive ad sales partner in Latin America, and in 2013, Waze selected IMS as its exclusive regional ad sales partner. Most recently, Spotify partnered with IMS to enter the market with advertising opportunities on the music-streaming platform.

“One of the key goals for Foursquare in 2014 is to expand our advertising tools to additional markets worldwide, and we’re glad to work with IMS to enter Latin America,” said Steven Rosenblatt, Chief Revenue Officer of Foursquare. “IMS has the experience, marketplace knowledge, and manpower to help us scale up operations quickly and efficiently. Brands already love using Foursquare to reach new customers in the United States and we have no doubt this will be the case in each new market we enter.”

Under Foursquare’s model specifically catered to brand marketers, advertisers are only charged on a Cost-Per-Action basis, or when a user either interacts with an ad or checks into a specific venue within 72 hours upon seeing that ad. Across the board, Foursquare’s engagement rates far outpace those of traditional banner advertising and provide actual, measureable ROI for brands.

“We believe that the future of geolocation services in Latin America is very bright over the coming years,” Lau added. ”The region hasn’t simply come into its own as a mobile market but rather has developed as a mobile market.  We are at the point in time where mobile infrastructure, penetration and consumer demand have laid the foundation for geoloction-based services, such as Waze and Foursquare, to truly thrive. From an advertising perspective, we believe that Foursquare will provide a unique value proposition to both agencies and brands in the LATAM market.  The consumer/user experience around Foursquare’s advertising products, combined with the market trends outlined above point toward a very successful future.”

Richard L. Tso is a reporter for Adotas and an avid writer covering the intersection of technology and advertising, fashion and music. With over 12 years of experience in the Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations industries, Richard has held executive positions at global agencies and technology companies and is founder of the interactive communications firm Pseudosound Consulting LLC. A classical cellist and painter, he believes that sometimes sound carries more weight than words. He is a graduate of Stanford University.

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