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Why Pokémon Go Is a Magnet for Marketing

How marketers are leveraging Pokémon Go to drive more sales and brand awareness.
BY Ollie Roddy - August 02, 2016

So, as humanity continues in its quest to catch virtual, fictional (but adorable) creatures via smartphones around the globe, all whilst being ran over and casually walking off cliffs, marketers have got dollar signs in their eyes.

But their ‘gotta catch em all’ mantra isn’t directed at the non-existent Pokémon. Nope. They’ve gotta catch you. Us. People. Everyone. And this record breaking augmented reality game is enabling brands to do it, really really easily.

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Pokémon Woah
Let’s just take a second to stop what we’re doing and seriously digest the facts about Pokémon Go and its ridiculous success achieved in what feels like two minutes. On Android devices, the mobile game garnered more than 30 million downloads. To put that into perspective, Candy Crush only managed to get 20 million at its peak. Yes you heard right; it beat Candy Crush. But that’s not the end of it. This game, revived from a time I never thought I’d have to revisit, is installed on 5.16% of all Android devices, compared to Tinder’s meagre 2%.

People are bypassing trying to forge relationships, meet the one or engage in the act of reproduction. That’s not important. What’s important is capturing Pokémon and watching them evolve into bigger, more aggressive Pokémon. But on the whole, you can get what I’m saying can’t you? That Pokémon Go is kind of a big deal right now. 

And marketers know this.

The Brandwagon
Whilst some brands have leveraged the virality of Pokémon Go for their own social media gains and to show they’re down with what’s hip and cool, it’s the ones who are going a step further to market their product or services through the game that’s really caught our attention.

McDonald’s were the first brand to snap up a sponsorship deal with Niantic - the company behind this trend -
turning 3,000 outlets in Japan into Pokémon Go Gyms, a place where players can go to train their virtual critters via an interactive game on the app. How does McDonald’s benefit? Players will flock to those branches and train their Pokémon all whilst tucking into a nutritionally balanced snack, meaning sales will soar and brand exposure is free.  

Yelp have also got in on the action, creating a brand new filter especially for Pokémon players. They say its primary intention is to help you ‘catch’em all’, but really it’s a scheme to entice more downloads of their local business browsing app, obviously. Their filter enables players to search for places around them that are secretly a PokéStop, meaning they can grab a sandwich whilst stocking up on necessary items such as PokéBalls, eggs and potions, putting you in good stead to be the all time master. Yelp are calling for user engagement on the back of this filter, encouraging users to check-in to the locations that are in the vicinity of a PokéStop and sharing this information with fellow Yelpers. 

 Even if you’re a B2B company, there’s a lot to be learned from Pokémon Go and the way marketers are taking advantage of this fad (let’s be honest, that’s all it’ll be) to acquire more business.

Augmented reality is technology that enables your customer to experience something in their current environment which isn’t there. B2B marketers can use augmented reality to showcase prototypes to prospective investors that haven’t yet been manufactured, or show clients the building that will be constructed, giving them a 360 degree vision.

Pokémon Go, love it or hate it, has been revolutionary and there’s no doubt it will inspire more brands to adopt new technologies to be more innovative in the ways they reach and

engage with their target audience.

If you’re struggling to increase sales, or don’t think your digital marketing is heading in the right direction, use our free digital grader tool to assess your current digital presence. It’s not augmented reality but it’s a close second.

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