Social media news feeds have lit up recently with pictures and tales of people going Pokémon-hunting and sharing their new captures. It’s taking the world by storm, and it’s something we can learn some serious marketing lessons from.
— amber discko ♡ (@amberdiscko) July 10, 2016
Pokemon Go has done more to combat childhood obesity in a few days than Michelle Obama has done in the past 8 years
— benji (@mckinley_ben) July 12, 2016
— Team Instinct (@TeamInstinct_5T) July 14, 2016
Here are five lessons from PokémonGO
- If It Didn’t Work the First Time, Put a Trendy Spin on It
Ingress is a multiplayer augmented-reality game that was released back in 2011 and was used as the starting point for PokémonGO. Ingress is by all means a success, with seven million people downloading it back in 2014. But when you compare it to PokémonGO, it seems tame, considering it racked up that many downloads in less than a week. For Ingress, it took a whole year.
Sure, Ingress and its awesome augmented-reality gameplay has a solid following, but if you take that same concept and pair it with a brand that people already know and love, it gives them more incentive to want to go out and play it.
- Nostalgia Works Wonders
Seriously. Many people have memories of sneaking Pokémon gameplay on their GameBoys under the sheets after their parents told them to go to bed. The first Pokémon games hit the US in 1998, and they haven’t stopped releasing them since. The original Pokémon players are all grown up now, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped loving it. Now they can conveniently relive their Pokémon glory days on their smartphones. Best part is, this older generation of gamers now have buying power. As a marketer, I can’t wait to see how Pokémon integrates ads into their game. Perhaps we’ll see restaurants and stores buying up space in the digital world as a gym, maybe offering coupon codes to Pokémon players.
On the flip side,this craze spans generations. Younger kids have also grown up with the newer editions of Pokémon, leading to them begging their parents for smartphones so they can join the PokémonGO madness as well. (I’m sure cell phone companies are loving the amount of data this game takes to play.)
- Community Is Important in Getting Viral Attention
There are stories everywhere about unlikely friendships blossoming because of PokémonGO, and the app incorporates things called Pokéstops and Gyms. Pokéstops and gyms are often located at landmarks or public places where people can meet up and look for Pokémon. Stories of strangers becoming friends because of the app give it more and more publicity, making it even bigger.
There’s also a sense of community within the separate teams that PokémonGO allows you to join. This gives you solidarity with other players on the same team and the desire to band together in order to beat the other ones. Because the app allows you to interact with other (though limited now and most likely it will expand) people are encouraging those who wouldn’t normally download this type of app to come play with them (I have first-hand experience of this…)
Peer-pressure to join this community in order to feel like you belong or have common ground with another plays a big part in the game’s popularity.
- Augmented Reality Is the Future of Marketing
Augmented reality gives you the ability to combine both the physical and virtual world. It’s an immersive experience that takes consumers one step further than seeing a picture of a product on a screen or hearing an ad for something. It enhances the consumer’s experience.
Pokémon was already wildly popular as a screen game, but bringing it into the real world is what’s making people crazy for it. What’s cooler than catching Pokémon that seem to be sitting in your backyard or in your house? People love an immersive experience with the physical world. The feature could be used with many other apps and products to give consumers a totally different experience than what they’re used to. Not to mention that the geo-tracking aspect will dramatically change local marketing.
The fact that PokémonGO is about to surpass the daily users of Twitter shows that augmented reality is definitely something this generation craves. It’s something that people want to be a part of and experience.
- People Want an Escape
The world can be a pretty terrifying place today. Something as simple as an augmented reality video game can give people a little escape from the things that are happening, as well as normal daily activities. It gives them a chance to have fun, get in some exercise and maybe even make some new friends.
People often latch onto what’s simple. Catching Pokémon with an everyday smartphone is a pretty easy task, and it provides many other benefits as well. PokémonGO is probably only the beginning of the augmented reality craze. And it’s definitely something to consider if you want your product to be the next big thing.