Is Pokemon Go a new marketing platform for business?
There’s a new craze on the loose. You may have observed groups of people walking around your town talking about ‘gyms’ and ‘Pokestops’ and teams. They’ll all be looking at their phones. Or you may have seen videos of stampedes of crowds in New York running into a dark Central Park as they seek a rare ‘monster’.
This is Pokemon Go: a new app from Nintendo’s Niantic that, in its very short life, has more downloads than Tinder, more UK users than Twitter, and has sent Nintendo’s shares through the roof.
Naturally, businesses want to know how they can utilise this craze for marketing purposes.
The way the game works is through geolocation, it uses your phone location to allow you to play Pokemon in the ‘real world’ through augmented reality. It also uses local places as key locations in the game where you can pick up items and play against other players.
It is these locations that businesses want to get their hands on. Well, here are the key things around that:
- The app uses Google for its mapping data, not necessarily the location data
- The locations of gyms and Pokestops are crowdsourced: busier areas will generally have more activity.
- The locations are inherited from Niantic’s previous game called Ingress; its developers prioritising the public attractions and points of interest they learnt from that.
The key thing about Pokemon Go is the more users and people about, the more activity there will be on the app. This is why Niantic has been put into hot water as more sensitive locations like Auschwitz and the Holocaust Museum in the US have increasing gaming activity due to the number of visitors these places get.
This all leads to the question: how can brands get themselves into the game?
The short answer is: they can’t.
The long answer is: they can’t at the moment, but there are discussions about sponsored locations within the game at some point, but not yet. McDonald’s is already pursuing this with branded locations in the game, but for smaller, local businesses this is a long way off. Remember, it’s only a few days old at the moment!
What businesses can do is utilise the game through other marketing platforms. The RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) recently tweeted that they were a Pokestop. Our office at DTW is a Pokemon Go Gym, therefore, as a business, see what’s around you in the app and market your location in relation to these places. That way, hopefully, you’ll be able to see some footfall benefit from this new craze.