from Turn ad agency web site.png
From the Web site of the Turn ad agency

In a move that should surprise no one, Foursquare will be working with one of Facebook's ad partners to direct location-based ads to its users beyond their check-ins.

The deal was reported by Ad Age, which cited “unnamed executives familiar with the matter,” although both Foursquare and Turn have declined to comment. The ad partner is Turn, and the partnership will allow the agency to identify Foursquare users and then target display and video ads to those users as they travel the Web. Turn specializes in using data about online behaviors so that its clients can, as it says on its website, "retarget customers you know were already interested."

Turn’s Partnerships

Turn has a network of partnerships, a "Partner Ecosystem" of more than a dozen inventory, data and service providers, and it utilizes a "demand-side platform" (DSP) so that its customers can buy ad inventory that tracks cookies and therefore targets users by their Web interests. Its ad-exchange partners also include Facebook Exchange, which uses cookies to follows users.

With Foursquare in the mix, targeted ads will be triggered by check-ins in addition to cookies, but check-ins will also be cross-referenced with cookies to better establish user profiles for post-Foursquare ad targeting.

In April, there were reports online of a leaked presentation purported to be from Foursquare that showed the company’s projected strategy for using its data for ads.

Post-Foursquare Experience

The presentation indicated that Foursquare has been planning to link user check-in data at a physical place with a DSP partner, which would allow an advertiser to find what the presentation described as "Foursquare users outside of the Foursquare app experience."

Foursquare’s treasure trove of data is derived not only from the check-in's made by users through its app, but also from location data received from other apps that have integrated Foursquare, such as Evernote.

Foursquare has said that it will not allow advertisers to target specific users, but will allow its data to create classes of users, like mothers, business travelers or well-heeled luxury purchasers. The company’s privacy policy, updated in June, noted that it will only use automatically-collected information, like location or cookie information, in aggregate form unless required to do otherwise by law. It also says that any information a user provides that is public, like profile information, can be shared with third parties.