Pokémon GO is taking the world by storm. It’s the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. In less than a week since its launch, people are already spending more time playing Pokémon GO than using Snapchat and Instagram.
As both a seasoned gamer and marketer, I’m not surprised about this at all. Niantic distilled the addictive nature of Pokémon games into a simple – if flawed – experience. The augmented reality game has people roam the real world, collecting pocket monsters and stopping by PokeStops for items and goodies and battling it out at locations designated as Gyms.
Because the app is leading to an influx of foot traffic everywhere, it’s got everyone asking: How can I get a piece of the Pokémon pie?
Let’s get this out of the way first: Right now, the businesses and spots that are PokeStops and Gyms were selected based on a map generated by Niantic’s previous game, Ingress, which used Google Maps as it’s basis. That list of hot spots was generated by user submissions, so currently there is no way to insert your location in the game.
That said, change is in the wind. Niantic recently announced Pokémon Go will soon get ads in the form of sponsored locations.
Until then, whether your brick and mortar location has their location selected, or has another one nearby, there are several ways that you can take advantage of and have more fun with this craze. For example:
- Use “Lures” to make your PokeStop a must-visit for players and drive foot traffic to your business.
- Create unique offers or experiences for the players. If you really want to show off your savvy, divide up those experiences by the teams available in the game (Instinct, Valor or Mystic).
- If your location is a Gym, have special deals or rewards for the leading team of the moment. This can change rapidly, which would give customers a reason to stay in your store and compete.
- Pokémon are often found near habitats that make sense for their type (e.g., water types will be around beaches), so promote your business as a place where certain Pokémon can be found.
Time will tell if the Pokémon GO craze will hold. As it is, Niantic still has many issues it needs to work through, and they need to address them to keep their players interested and invested.
Either way, brands still have an opportunity to take advantage and create unique experiences around this phenomenon. In fact, the Pokémon GO is a good reminder of how powerful and compelling experiential marketing can be, especially for location-based marketers.
If you’re interested in augmented reality as a whole, we offer these capabilities at Digital Park and would love to talk to you! (Or just tweet me @RaphSangiovanni if you wanna geek out or swap Pokémon GO tips.)