Pokemon is back and bigger than ever in an addictive smartphone app game that is taking the world by storm and turning millions into budding Pokemon trainers.
The game is breaking new ground in the world of mobile gaming, and it’s popularity means that many advertisers are striking while the iron is hot to boost their brand on the new platform.
What is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is the latest game developed by Niantic games, and based on the phenomenally popular 90s Japanese franchise. In the Pokemon universe (derived from ‘pocket monsters’), the sometimes cute, sometimes fearsome monsters live amongst humans. It’s up to Pokemon trainers to collect the monsters with Pokeballs, tame them and battle them against other trainers.
In Pokemon Go, trainers can catch Pokemon in the real world with the help GPS and augmented reality technology. Real life locations are incorporated into the game in the form of PokeStops, where you can pick up supplies and you can even join one of three teams and work with other gamers to battle rivals. The app is a huge industry game changer, as it it requires users to actually get out of the house and walk around in order to play, and encourages real life interaction with other trainers.
With over 30 million downloads of the app as of July 19th (two thirds of which are 18 – 24), brands and businesses are jumping on the bandwagon and coming up with creative ways to use the craze.
Want to get potential customers to your event or business? Pokemon Go has the item you need! Place a Lure Module at a Pokestop near your desired location. A Lure Module attracts Pokemon to a certain area, and where there’s Pokemon, there’s Pokemon hunters. L’inizio Pizza Bar in New York claims that sales rose by 75% in a weekend simply by using this method, and it only cost the business $10.
Pick a Team
In the game, once you reach a certain level you have to choose a team to be a part of, each with their own colours and emblems. Some businesses are giving discounts to customers who are on the same team as them.
Game developer Niantic is soon rolling out a ‘sponsored location’ feature, allowing businesses and retailers to to have their location become a featured point on the Poke-map. Ads will run on a cost-per-visit basis, similar to the current cost-per-click mechanism on Facebook. The first of these will be launched by McDonalds in Japan on July 21, 2016. It is reported that 3,000 of the fast food restaurants all over the country will appear on the Poke-map as gyms. If all goes well, this will be an option for businesses all over the world.
Get Social and Incentivise
Join the conversation on social media and let players know which Poke-stops are near your business, or encourage trainers to play the game and share screenshots of which Pokemon they’ve caught nearby. Why not add little incentives, like “a free coffee if you have a Drowzee in your Pokedex” or offer a free charging station for anyone who fancies a break from catching Pokemon as it’s a huge drain on battery.
While it remains to be seen if Pokemon Go will stand the test of time, it’s hard to think of another app that has has such huge success in such a short timeframe. Whatever it’s longevity, it will no doubt encourage games developers and brands to think outside the box and push the boundaries when it comes to location based games, and with that, new ways to monetise the platforms.