For a month or two starting in July, Pokémon Go took the world by storm, you couldn’t check your social pages or read a newspaper without reading how the game had millions playing. But then, as with most viral social phenomenon, the noise died down (think of the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge).
In this post we will look at the current state of the game, the overall impact and how you, as a small business owner can learn from the phenomenon. Let’s start at the beginning…
What is Pokemon Go?
According to Wikipedia, “Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based pervasive augmented reality game developed by Niantic for iOS, Android, and Apple Watch devices. It was initially released in selected countries in July 2016.”
The game allowed players to catch creatures or Pokémons in various places using their mobile’s GPS facilities.
Are people still playing?
The impact of the game is indisputable- with certain international universities even including it in their curriculum in order to give their students insights into leadership and team work and in some cases as part of their physical education credits. The game was recently dethroned after 74 days on top as top-grossing U.S. iPhone app and Twitter mentions have fallen as well (From 1.7 million on July 11 to 131,000, by Sept. 7). The game is seeking to recapture the interest of its 15 million lost users with the introduction of new features such as a buddy system and an Apple Watch app.
Building Your Marketing Strategy
There is no two ways about it, the game was a global marketing phenomenon. But no matter the scale, there are takeaways you can learn from and implement in your marketing strategy:
- It’s not the technology, it’s how you use it: While augmented reality experiences are on the rise, there have been other games to use the features found in Pokémon Go. The same goes for contextual advertising that has been around for years now. With smartphone proliferation, you can target your customers based on how close they are to one of your offline stores and entice them to make a purchase. When experimenting with new technology, take a step back and narrow down which type of technology will have the most impact, then conduct tests to decide which one you should invest in.
- Reinvent: While the game was only released in 2016, Pokémon as a brand has been around since 1996. The game was able to tap into the cartoon’s legion of loyal followers as well as reach new ones on the strength of the brand. The game also showed how content could be repurposed and updated to meet new audiences with the help of new technology. As the buzz dies down, it is also important that you realise the pitfalls of standing still. You need to repeatedly engage with customer and offer them something new each time to keep their interest.
- Integrate Social: With the introduction of the game, Nintendo’s shares grew 25%, or $7.5 billion, this was possible as users of the game, not only played it but also went on their social channels to share their experiences and catches with social media friends and followers. The social sharing feature enabled the game to go viral.
- Timing is Key: The Pokémon Go release that was targeted primarily at children and young adults was timed to release when kids in the United States especially went on their breaks from school and college. By timing the launch to coincide with the beginning of summer, the game was able to grow rapidly. The weather also played an important role as they were favourable to allow gamers to walk around in pleasant conditions. As of 11th July, a mere two days after the launch, the app was installed on 10.8% of all Android devices in the US according to data analytics company Similar Web.
The game has not just resulted in opening up a new form of gaming, industry experts have also said that it will have an influence on the way we consumer any type of media going forward.