By Erin Minty
Only a week after the popular app Pokémon GO was released in the United States, it has become a phenomenon. With more downloads than big name apps like Tinder and more usage on Android than both Snapchat and Instagram, it has swept the nation more than any other app before it. That’s due, in part, to the fact that Pokémon was a large part of millennial gamers’ childhoods, and we all know millennials love their nostalgia. However, it’s due even more to the fact that Pokémon GO is our first accessible step into the augmented reality world, and the following it has gathered shows just how interested people are in the technology.
It’s too soon to say whether Pokémon GO will be just another fad. What we do know is that it has real-world applications for social media marketers – whether their brands are related to Pokémon, gaming, augmented reality, or not. Here are a few reasons why marketers should take note of Pokémon GO.
1. Worldwide Trending Content
Real time content is a marketer’s favorite trick for bringing their brands to the forefront of the conversation. Since conversations both on social media and in the real world seem to be dominated by the new app, it’s a no-brainer to jump on the bandwagon with relevant brands.
It is rare that something like a smartphone game can take the lead in online news, but that’s what has happened with Pokémon GO. As of July 12th, just six days after the U.S. launch of the app, it attracted almost 21 million daily users, nationwide. Of all app usage on Android phones, Pokémon GO is being used on average for 43 minutes a day – for reference, Instagram is used for 25 minutes and Snapchat for 22 minutes. For now at least, it is clear that Pokémon GO is here to stay, overtaking the previously top-used apps and social media networks alike, so finding creative ways to weave your brand into the trend is key for social media marketers.
Like all RTC (and all engagement posts) encouraging fans to participate can somehow garner great results. When asking fans to comment with screenshots of the Pokémon they found at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels* locations, fans jumped at the opportunity. This is an example of a great way to get fans excited about engaging with your brand.
2. Opportunity to Increase Business
While Pokémon GO is still very new and all of its capabilities have not yet been realized, brands with Brick and Mortar locations can capitalize on the fact that this game asks users to move around in the real world by drawing customers to their stores
If your locations are lucky enough to be featured as a PokéStop (or, at the very least, near one), purchase a Lure Module to significantly increase the amount of people walking through your store or location. In the game, you can place a Lure Module at a PokéStop, which attracts Pokémon for 30 minutes. This concept leads to real-world applications for driving foot traffic as well.
Currently, it isn’t possible to create a new PokéStop, however, the game’s developers are discussing adding added advertising initiatives that will allow retailers to sponsor locations on the virtual map. In the meantime, brands can take advantage of the amount of people playing the game and looking for one is simple and cost effective. A Lure Module costs less than one dollar, but can bring many aspiring Pokémon Masters right to you.
3. Augmented Reality 101
If this app is any indication to where social media is headed, augmented reality is about to take over. The success of Pokémon GO shows that brands should be capitalizing on this trend. While technology is still catching up, there are opportunities to test out AR technology all around us on social.
The popularity of this app shows that people want a mix of virtual reality and real-life imagery in their mobile experience. Marketers can capture this fact on social media in a few ways. For example, 360 video and photos on Facebook allow friends from all over the world to experience things along with you. When posting a video or photo, the user is invited inside, to see what you see through your eyes. Snapchat lenses are another similar way AR technology has been integrated into our daily lives on social media. Face-swap technology and the ability to change our look with ease is one of Snapchat’s most loved features. As augmented reality becomes more and more popular, it’s likely that current inventions (like Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard) will become more common, while additional applications come out of the woodwork as well.
All in all, though Pokémon GO may seem like a simple app calling on millennial users to catch silly creatures in real time, it has a much deeper and more meaningful application on the future of marketing. From the next week to the near-distant future, it’s clear that Pokémon GO – and more importantly, the augmented reality technology behind it – will be around for a long time.
For more ways that you can integrate Pokémon GO into your marketing strategy, read our POV on using the app for your business:
*Auntie Anne’s Pretzels is a Likeable Media client.
How have you seen Pokémon GO being used in brand marketing? Share your thoughts with the Likeable Media team below!