Facebook’s Nearby Friends Will Use Location-Based Ads Say TechCrunch, Will Dating Apps Follow?


This morning we wrote about Facebook’s new mobile feature Nearby Friends, which lets users broadcast their location to friends, so they can meet up.

If enabled, the feature will share your whereabouts with friends – to a distance of half a mile, and only if you choose to share it with them – and a TechCrunch article says that Facebook plan to use this location data for marketing purposes in the future.

TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine noticed that a “Location History” setting must be left on, in order to use Nearby Friends.

He talked to a Facebook spokesperson, who told him “at this time it’s not being used for advertising or marketing, but in the future it will be.”

Constine imagines how Facebook could use this precise location history, and real-time location tracking, in order to offer you tailored deals and adverts in your immediate vicinity.

As he says: 

“It wouldn’t confirm exactly how, but I foresee it targeting you with ads for businesses that could actually be in sight or just a few hundred feet away. An ad for a brick-and-mortar clothing shop would surely be more relevant if shown when you’re on the same block. The ability to generate foot traffic that leads to sales could let Location History-powered Facebook ads generate big returns on investment for meatspace business advertisers. That means they’d be willing to pay more for these hyper-local ads than for ones pointed to users who are far away and much less likely to visit their store.”

With location-based features a norm for dating apps now, this close proximity ad targeting is surely a revenue stream dating apps will be exploring more in the future.

It is something we have already started to see, with Cupid and iHookup partnering with Poynt to monetise local businesses, and Korean couples app Between allowing third parties to offer nearby date deals and ideas.

This comes as Tinder is deciding on its monetisation strategy, and while adding location-based ads on a currently ad-free platform may turn off users, there is definitely a lucrative space for a dating app that can offer a date, and a list of nearby locations and deals, in a simple and efficient package.

Read Constine’s TechCrunch article here.