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Foursquare is reportedly planning to launch paid search ads in June, allowing brands to promote check-in deals when users search for local specials.

The new ads will work on the same algorithms that power ‘explore’, Foursquare’s search tool that recommends locations based on a user’s previous check-ins and as well of those of their friends.

AdAge reports that the social network is developing the new ads with marketers that it has worked with before which includes the likes of Pepsi, Whole Foods and Dunkin’ Donuts.

US pharmacist Walgreens confirmed it was in talks with Foursquare about the new ads but hadn’t yet agreed to sign up for them.

The new ads will help Foursquare further monetise its user base, which now stands at 20m users who have check-in more than 2bn times. 

In January it moved towards becoming a local search engine by adding the ‘explore’ function to its desktop site and giving restaurants the ability to upload menu information.

And while the majority of its users are based in the US, it has ambitions to replicate its success in Europe.

Foursquare’s business development director for Europe Omid Ashtari told us this week that he was in the process of building relationships with local retailers, publishers and brands over here.

He said that the UK is currently Foursquare’s biggest market in Europe but its presence was growing across the continent.

That said users across the region have been longing for more local content, rewards and badges so this is what we will be working on.

Growing this user base will be key if Foursquare wants to compete for advertising revenues with Facebook and Google, which are also working on their own check-in services.

David Moth

Published 20 April, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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