Foursquare has kicked off the work week with some big news for advertisers: its self-service ads platform is now available to all small businesses as of today.

Every day, hundreds of people walk by storefronts without ever stepping foot inside. By launching Foursquare Ads, the company was able to connect local businesses with people nearby who were most likely to become customers.

Previously available to a select group of businesses, Foursquare Ads let business owners pay to make their profiles appear higher in search results for nearby consumers. The idea behind them is to connect people looking for somewhere to go with businesses that want to drive foot traffic.

“We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a ‘like’ or a ‘click’ has any meaning in the real world; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store,” explained Foursquare.

The system was designed to be simple and flexible. All a business owner needs to do is visit foursquare.com/ads and build their ad — just choose a great photo of your venue and either offer a special or highlight a great customer tip. From there, set your monthly budget and push your ad live.

You can monitor how many people have viewed your ad, how many people have tapped on it, and how many people actually visited your store because of it. The ad unit has been in testing with thousands of businesses for the last few months. Success stories include Barcade, Bronx Beer Hall, and Sky Room.

According to Foursquare, 78 percent of people who search locally on their phone make a purchase. This is a promising metric for the service’s 1.5 million registered small businesses.

[Image credit: Nan Palmero]