After over a decade of almost complete hiatus from the non-gaming world, Pikachu and friends have suddenly exploded back onto the scene, this time in the form of an augmented reality app game which combines the functions of your smart phone’s camera with its GPS features to transform the real world around you into a virtual environment where Pokémon’s roam free, just waiting for you to catch ‘em all.
Created by Niantic Labs and Nintendo, the game has become so popular that after only two weeks of being available, it had already amassed some 21 million daily active users in the US. That’s one million more than Candy Crush had when it was at its absolute peak. Simply put, nothing in the history of consumer technology has ever succeeded on this scale before, and with such a sky high adoption rate, businesses are now starting to explore the games marketing and advertising potential.
Here, Action Digital lays out four ways your businesses can cash in on the craze and turn Pokémon Go into a way of attracting potential clients.
Branded PokeStops and Gyms
Pokémon Go differs from other games and apps in that it forces users (or trainers as they are called in the game) to go out and explore their physical surroundings in search of Pokémon. PokéStops (where players go to get Pokéballs, eggs and other item), and gyms (where trainers take their creatures to train and fight other Pokémon) are located in actual places, from parks, public spaces, landmarks and even businesses. Local and international companies are already starting to pay good money to have their businesses become PokéStops and gyms. In Japan, McDonald’s turned 3000 of their restaurants into gyms – the result: a surge in foot traffic and an increase in sales as players looking to train their Pokémon bought produce.
Discounts and Special Events
Attracting Pokémon Go trainers by offering in-business discounts for trainers, offering Pokémon-specific products or by hosting special Pokémon Go related events has already taken off internationally with results already proving that this technique works. Not only does this help a business to attract new customers, with all things Pokémon currently trending online, getting on board with the popular app, is also a great way of increasing your online traffic and drawing attention to your brand.
A lure is one of the many in-game accessories which can be purchased using Pokécoins. The purpose of a lure is – as the name suggests – to lure Pokémon to the PokéStops for a designated amount of time. Businesses can use this feature to attract trainers at a specific time – perhaps you are holding an event and want more people to show up; throw down a lure and the trainers will inevitably start to show up!
Increasing your followers and drawing attention to your brand are two of the key reasons why companies should use social media today. So take advantage of the current craze for Pokémon and start using the #PokémonGo hashtag and engaging with your followers by asking them to share photos of their Pokémon adventures either in your business or nearby.
And this is just the beginning. Pokémon Go is expected to catalyse a significant shift in digital marketing, not only by closing the gap between the online world and the real world, but also by removing one of the major obstacles marketers face today – data farming. Instead of collecting data to target potential clients, the consumer can now come directly to your business.
The unmatched popularity of the game is also opening the doors for augmented reality to become a publicly accepted part of our reality across diverse age groups. The augmented-reality industry is set to grow exponentially in the next two years, with predictions in place for it to become a $4 billion market by 2018. Pokémon Go is paving the way for this growth, preparing consumers to engage with the technology more in the future.
Thanks to Pokémon Go, trainer both young and old will be ready next time they are asked to interact with augmented-reality – the question is will you and your business be ready!