What’s the difference? Dollars.
The Foursquare Local Update option is a way to communicate with your fans via short posts that appear on their wall, kind of like that other social media network. These posts are free to send but they only go out to people who have checked-in to your location.
Promoted Updates go out to any user in your area who might be interested in what you have to offer. For example, if I search for lunch venues in Laguna Beach, I might see a Promoted Update from a new cafe I’ve never tried. So, basically it’s Adwords for Foursquare, which is pretty neat.
Marketers will pay a cents per action fee for the privilege and Foursquare promises to target the ads as much as inhumanly possible so you aren’t wasting your time or your cash.
And speaking of cash, this is Foursquare working toward actual monetization. Imagine that, a social media network that makes money.
Right now, Promoted
Tweets Updates are only available to a limited number of partners, but Foursquare says they’ll be rolling the option out to everyone else someday. Meaning, once they’re sure the Foursquare community won’t rebel against a sudden glut of ads cluttering up the app.