With Its Future on the Line, Foursquare Readies Ad Retargeting and In-App Ads

social networks, social media, mobile apps, local search, recommendations, yelp, check-insFoursquare is looking for advertisers to participate in its efforts to retarget ads to Web users based on their check-ins and to serve up interstitial ads in its mobile apps, according to a leaked pitch deck for advertisers obtained by Gawker’s Valley Wag.

Foursquare’s latest round of funding was in loans, rather than outright investment, demonstrating its investors’ impatience with the company’s failure to generate revenue.

It would work like this: Users who check in to a shoe store, for example, using the Foursquare app, might see a pop-up shoe ad in the Foursquare app immediately after they check in. The same ad or a different one may appear the next time the user accesses the Web from a desktop machine.

The retargeting program is set to launch in beta next month, according to the leaked documents. Foursquare is asking for a $50,000 ad expenditure.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Retargeting is controversial among privacy advocates because it relies on tracking. But it’s nevertheless becoming more widespread.

The pop-up ads will launch in late June or early July, the documents indicate. Foursquare is pushing advertisers to create interactive ads, which ad networks say perform best on mobile devices.

Meanwhile, venture capitalist and former YouTube executive Hunter Walk proposed a different business model for the company: Walk argued that a credit card company should buy Foursquare. The companies could combine their records of consumer spending habits with Foursquare’s local business data to provide users with customized suggestions about where else they may want to shop, Walk said.

“By combining with Foursquare, the credit card companies could finally justify and preserve their transaction fees (in the face of competition from other payment options) but working to drive demand to the local retailers,” Walk said.

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