In the world of all things crazy – Brexit and Portugal winning the Euros, Pokemon Go is the next big thing hitting the headlines. According to it’s creators Niantic, it’s the world’s first “real world gaming platform” now available on the App Store and Google Play. It allows users to use their phones to convert their surroundings into an augmented reality Pokemon game. Basically, you can roam your local area and collect Pokemon and even have battles anywhere. Imagine battling Groudon on London Bridge – how cool would that be?
On your marks, get set, Pokemon Go!
So we’re getting a bit geeky but the fact is that Pokemon Go has taken off like a rocket ship. Forget Tinder and Snapchat, Pokemon Go has surpassed those apps in terms of active user time, according to research conducted by SensorTower. Users in the U.S are spending more than 30 minutes a day on the app. That’s 10 minutes more a day than Facebook! Of course, this may be an inflated figure based on its recent launch but there’s no escaping the fact that it has huge potential for marketers. As the world becomes more mobile focussed, obsessed with augmented and virtual realities, now is the perfect time for marketing to get up to speed.
The freemium model for apps has always been attractive to developers. The approach has often been to get as many users as you can and worry about making money later. Tinder, for example, has acted as a loss leader for IAC but has only recently started bringing in revenue. For example they now offer Tinder Plus a premium swipe that allows users to swipe right as many times as they like. But these are old tactics and it’s often a frustrating model for users who often don’t see the benefit of spending more to get a little extra.
Pokemon Go also runs this model, allowing users to purchase additional poke balls for $1 each and to upgrade their Pokemon from $4.99 too. This model works but can be frustrating for users. So what about the advertising model?
There’s the temptation for marketers to place banner ads all over Pokemon Go and to feature branded products all over the place. But this approach can be off-putting for users. Remember way back, when Dell tried to create their own island on Second Life? It simply didn’t work. However, Second Life is a completely virtual world – Pokemon Go is set in the very real world. I don’t think the question is will we see banner ads but how will they be implemented strategically.
Here are some thoughts on what may happen in the marketing space on Go:
If you’re exploring the local vicinity, offers will be tailored to your location with a time limit and the option to collect exclusive Pokemon. For example, head the Starbucks on the map for 2 for 1 iced cappuccinos and a battle with Absol.
Battles and battle locations could be sponsored by brands like American halftime shows. You could be fighting in the Budweiser arena! In fact, there are already rumours going around that McDonald’s could be shaping up to partner with Pokemon to do just that or something similar. Read the full article from Gizmodo here.
In the same vein, we could also see sponsored characters – how about the Coke Zero Spiditron?
Let the battle commence
The battle to be the first commercial brand on Pokemon Go is going to be immense. The most important goal, of course, is not to enrage a large Pokemon community that’s continuing to grow. In my view it should be seen as an opportunity for advertising and the freemium elements should go from a user experience perspective. Watch this space…
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Author: Tom Bridge
Tom is a ball of energy. He runs, he cycles and loves his tech. When he gets a moment to sit down he loves content marketing, writing blogs and building brands online. Tom has experience in multiple sectors including automotive and finance as well as digital.