For quite some time now, augmented reality (AR) apps have been in use in various spheres of life. There are apps that can be used to identify constellations on the sky, others that can show a mountain climber his altitude, and others used by mechanics to work on vehicle parts amongst many others. However, no AR app has been able to draw the kind of hype drawn by Pokémon Go. Within two weeks of its launch, Pokémon Go had been downloaded over 15 million times across the five countries of its coverage.
You interact with the AR app through a game which uses your smartphone’s GPS and camera to digitally augment the real world through the help of a digital creature called Pokémon. You will see the location of the Pokémon via the app then try to ‘catch’ it at its physical location by navigating with your GPS through the urban jungles and countryside. Your phone notifies you of a nearby creatures with a buzz and when you come across it; your phone screen with the help of the camera seemingly projects the Pokémon into the physical world. Then by moving your phone side to side, the creature stays still at one fixed position from where you can ‘capture’ it by flicking poke balls at the creature on your screen.
A New Marketing Strategy
With its huge fan base, Pokémon Go has surpassed Twitter in daily logins and boasts over 30 million unique downloads so far. This presents an amazing opportunity for marketing, and its creator Niantic has not hesitated in cashing in on the multi-million dollar opportunity. They have created virtual locations called PokeStopes (Places where users can get accessories used in the game) and Gyms (Areas where users can train and fight their captured Pokémon against other players). The virtual places are marched with real-world locations which could be anything from a city park to a merchandise store or cafeteria.
Businesses are in a rush to have one of the lucky locations marched to their premises. To have that done, they are paying Niantic insanely high amounts for advertising purposes, and they have not been disappointed by the outcome as retailers like GameStop and RadioShack already report a 45% and 50% respectively increase in sales for chargers and charging accessories within only two weeks of purchasing a Pokémon lure module – an in-game purchase that attracts Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes.
Marketing In Future
This game is a golden opportunity for brand marketers now and in the future. We already have Pokémon Merchandise that is trending and generating a lot of following in social media. Google is naturally expected to figure how to place Ad words in the game for sponsored content in the form of upgrades and items. As it has been a success with product placement on other video games, we expect Pokémon Go to follow suit.
Pokémon Go Is Data Mining
This is probably the biggest marketing opportunity of the game as it collects a big chunk of user data including; Google name, physical location, Gmail address, web search history and the IP address in the servers. This is a data goldmine which many tech companies are going to be eyeing for their marketing campaigns. Although, As was recently pointed out by Bloomberg, daily active users are down, as is overall engagement. And indeed, it’s hit the point in its release where the initial buzz has worn off, and the new normal of “Pokemon Go” is beginning to take shape.