Back in 1996 the world of handheld gaming was changed by the release of Pokemon Red and Green on the original Gameboy. Six generations and multiple spin-off titles of Pokemon games have been released since then across different devices.
Last week saw the launch of Pokemon Go – an augmented reality exploration game playable on mobile phones which has caught the imagination of users at unprecedented levels. It has been installed on twice as many phones as Tinder, has double the engagement of Snapchat and it is quickly catching up with Twitter in its percentage of daily active users.
Users are spending a lot of time wandering around towns and cities in their quest to catch Pokemon, meaning that businesses such as coffee shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, gyms, stores and more can capatlise with a little bit of insight and clever digital marketing.
If you don’t know your Pokemon from a Pork Chop you needn’t worry! Here’s what you need to know for now:
Pokemon Go is somewhat unique in that to play the game users have to leave the comfort of their house and explore the outside world in order to play as the game runs off augmented reality of the real world. To spell it out for you, Pokemon appear in the real world when playing the game – like so:
Users catch Pokemon, collect rewards from PokeStops, battle other users at Gyms, and team up to defend their territory. Got it? Good! So next of all you need to know how your business can benefit from Pokemon Go!
Is your Business & PokeStop Or Gym?
PokeStops and Gyms attract players without effort as they flock to them for rewards and to battle other players-and they can be leveraged for massive sales. So you need to know if you are fortunate enough to be one of these.
If you would prefer to find out if your business is one of these without installing the game, as there is no official location maps released yet you can have a look at the online map of portals created over the last three years for the game “Ingress”, which all but matches Pokemon Go’s PokeStops and Gyms.
You can check out the map here after you install the Ingress app on your phone and sign in (you can use a Google account). Once you have it set up, you can search the world map of PokeStops & Gyms.
Lure At PokeStops
Pokemon Go offers a range of in-app purchases, the one that small businesses should be interested in is Lures. Lures increase the rate that Pokemon appear in the area around the Pokestop for half an hour. This may not sound that useful, but Pokemon are actually scarcer than you’d think.
What makes this even better is how affordable Luring is. Currently $100 (the game is yet to be released officially here) will get you 14,500 Pokemon coins which will get you 84 hours worth of Lures. So one hour of lures will cost just $1.19! For $1.19 you can attract big numbers of Pokemon enthusiasts to, or near your business!
If your business is, or near a gym you will naturally find gamers attracted to those areas in order to do battle. While you can use the Lure functionality there is still scope to attract an audience to your business and participate.
For example your store could sell customised Pokemon accessories such as tote bags. Your coffee shop could display the name of the team that are currently “in control” of the gym (don’t worry about keep logging into the game, should a new team take over the members will tell you!).
If the footfall of Pokemon enthusiasts is plentiful, you could even consider offering some sort of discount or reward scheme to them to keep them returning to your establishment. This could be especially helpful should you be in a particularly competitive area.
While this feature has not been released yet, Niantic CEO John Hanke told the New York Times that sponsored locations would feature in the game in future. Businesses could pay to become sponsored Pokemon Go locations, to encourage gamers to visit to capture a Pokemon.
You can incorporate your new found knowledge (and love?!) of all things Pokemon in your PPC campaigns quite easily.
Facebook advertising’s targeting options make this the ideal platform for your targeting Pokemon gamers. You can experiment with a set of Ads targeting users in your local area with the interest of Pokemon Go.
You can also boost your post in order to tell potential customers that you are the place they should visit before, during or after their quest!
If you are targeting users in a specific area, experiment with some Ad copy specifically around the game. Let users know that you are aware of the game and that you welcome their custom!
Even if your business is neither, nor close to a Pokestop or Gym, you are still going to get Pokemon. Encourage your users to take, upload and share photos of Pokemon they have caught at your premises.
You could even get into the game yourself and purchase in game Incense which like Lure attracts Pokemon (but only for the user that purchases) and take photos. Gamers may get particularly excited if you catch a rare one! For easy reference, check out this
If you don’t want to play the game yourself, offer to cover the cost of a gamers Incense on the condition they share and tag a photo of the Pokemon they catch while they are with you.
If your business allows it, you could get a little bit creative and go on the move. Why not pitch up by a Pokestop or Gym and drum up some trade (licensing etc allowing of course!).
If you are interested in jumping on the Pokemon Go bandwagon, we would love to help you. While there is no guarantee that this game will be a long term institution, the new customers your campaigns acquire could turn into long term, or even lifetime. Don’t be afraid to try something new and get in touch!