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    AUG 2016

Pokémon Go: How Businesses Can Catch Customers

POSTED IN Digital Marketing, Trending BY

Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game that’s been sweeping many parts of the world, has finally been released in the Philippines last August 6, 2016.

While it has only been less than two weeks in the country, the game has taken the world by storm. Pokémon Go combines the beloved childhood game of many with today’s technology. Working with Google Maps, players walk around—in the real world—to catch pocket monsters using their mobile devices. Players get to find, lure, and catch Pokémon as they explore local neighborhoods, cities, and public spaces.

Understanding the Power that’s Inside

As much as it is a game, Pokémon Go is creating new types of experiences, connections, and interactions. This type of customer experience presents new opportunities for brands to market their products and services.

The game developed by Niantic has already surpassed dating app Tinder when it comes to number of downloads, and is on track to outpace Twitter in daily active users. In the latest statistics report, Pokémon Go has already attracted more users than Twitter, and sees more engagement than Facebook.

Part game, part-GPS-based experiential marketing channel, the app is an environment unto itself. It also goes to show how the mobile landscape is opening up previously unknown customer experiences and marketing opportunities.

As discussed in a previous blog, mobile marketing encompasses everything in digital—and that includes the world of Pokémon.
Extending Its Reach to the Stars Above

As of August 1, even before its release in the Philippines, the game has already been downloaded by more than 100 million users.

Posts over time

Between August 5 and August 15, 2016, mentions of the game online peaked on August 6, the day of its release in the Philippines. Public posts about #PokemonGo and #PokemonGoPH reached 934,203, according to data from Social Studio, a powerful social listening tool from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Posts over time PH only
In the Philippines, the same trend is reflected; the peak online conversation about the game happened on its local release day, with 3,168 public posts.

When it comes to post volume over the 10-day period, there were at least 9,500 public tweets about the game. That represents a 2000% increase for the period before August 5.

Other than the main Pokémon keywords, name of commercial establishments also kept popping up in the conversation, which goes to show how effective it is when it comes to marketing.

Uniting All Peoples Within the Digital Marketing Nation
With all these impressive numbers and data, there’s a wealth of opportunities for digital marketing companies to capitalize on. As it is becoming a cultural phenomenon, it highlights some important insights and concepts that could greatly improve marketing and sales playbooks.

1. Convergence of Social Local Mobile

The convergence of social, local, and mobile marketing has been a long time coming—but Pokémon Go is arguably the first to fully realize the potential of this idea.

The app makes the most of social media, mobile, and local marketing—small businesses and brands are seeing big gains in sales due to the increase in foot traffic in and around their premises. It also allows people to interact with companies/brands in the real world and in the social media world simultaneously.

For your sales strategy, make the most of the concept of combining real-life interaction with your social media marketing efforts. For brick-and-mortar stores, this could mean coming up with your own “lures” to boost foot traffic and encourage customer interactions both offline and online.
2. Tapping AR

Pokémon Go is the first augmented reality game of its kind to be such a huge hit. It could also be a new model for interacting with customers and creating communities online and offline.

Pokémon Go could be the spark needed by others to ignite the growth of AR. Depending on their niche, brands could develop their own AR game, partner with an AR game developer, start a sponsorship, or even offer in-app purchases in another company’s AR game.

Microsoft, for example, is taking Pokémon Go and applying it to their HoloLens, a high-definition hologram technology that serves as Microsoft’s entry to the augmented reality market.

Similar to how you can buy Facebook ad, maybe Niantic may soon allow companies to buy ads within the app, create sponsored/branded items, or some other way to effectively engage with audiences on the app.

Brands have to be ready to adapt to AR and other technology, as well as to the changing consumer behavior.

3. Blurring the Line between Virtual and Reality

Pokémon Go is not merely a smartphone game. It’s also not a “real life” game; it’s a mix of both.
The meteoric rise of the game can be seen as a chapter in the story of the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital sensors in our gadgets (such as the type that’s powering Pokémon Go) is likely to change the way we interact with mobile devices, real-life objects (stores, for example), and even physical spaces in ways we have yet to imagine.

Pokémon Go could be the first AR game of its kind, but it certainly won’t be the last. It could even pave the way for entirely new channels for communicating and interacting with consumers. Because of the endless applications of this sensor technology, disruptive products and platforms can easily come up in the coming months.


Taking a closer look at the Word Cloud about the topic, many brands and companies are cashing in on the Pokémon Go fever.

Ayala Malls, SM malls, and other establishments continue to host “Lure Parties” and offer other related promos to lure and catch customers. Conversation about the said brands can be seen in the marketing hashtags #GottaCatchEmAllAtSM and #SpottedAtSM, and in mentions of “Ayala Malls” in the online conversation.

Other brands, such as mobile ride-hailing app Grab, are joining the game’s wave of popularity by giving away Pokémon-related freebies and offering discounts.

Adapt Now or Prepare to Fight

Pokémon Go is just the beginning of the convergence of mobile and real life interaction. For digital marketers, understanding the game, the AR platform, and consumer behavior should be a priority if you want to make the most of this rapidly growing sector.

With the right processes and strategies, businesses and brands can expect one thing: growth—that’s right!




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