Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of days, you’ll be well aware that the mobile gaming app, Pokemon GO, became unofficially available in the UK earlier this week – since then, the game has exploded and, for many of us taken over our lives… A walk in the park was probably last on my to-do list last week, yet this week I’ve walked over 20km in an effort to hatch my lovingly incubated eggs.
As a marketer, I am fascinated by the opportunities the craze for this augmented reality (AR) mobile app presents for businesses who are lucky enough to have been chosen as Pokestops (like a checkpoint for Pokemon GO players where they can stock up on essential gameplay items such as Pokeballs). You may well have seen examples of how local businesses are taking advantage already:
This clothes store advertising their status as a Pokestop.
Or CitySen offering a discount to members of Team Mystic.
And of course there are many businesses taking advantage of the Lure Module – an item that attracts Pokemon for all nearby players and is shown on their map, thus attracting more potential customers.
So it made me think – how could these efforts be enhanced digitally? Here are 5 ways to leverage Pokemon GO to enhance your digital marketing activities…
1. Use Facebook/Instagram Ads to Target Local Pokemon GO Players
Say you’re a bar in central Bristol and you’re lucky enough to be a Pokestop – using some relatively simple geographical, demographic and interest targeting, you can make sure people are aware they can chill with a nice cold beer whilst reaping the rewards of a Pokestop which resets every 5 minutes 😉
It’s a little too early for Facebook to include “Pokemon GO” as an interest in their targeting settings, but you have 2 options dependent on your budget:
- Target Everyone aged 18+ within a certain radius of your location, advertising that you welcome Pokemon GO users (this will of course have some wastage as not everyone will be interested, however if you advertise on a CPC basis and make it clear in your ad that it’s about Pokemon, you should be able to limit clicks).
- Target anyone 18+ who has “Pokemon” listed as an interest (this will be more precise, and in time you’ll be able to target people who specifically have “Pokemon GO” listed as an interest – it may not reach people who are playing the game but not talking about it on Facebook though).
To ensure you catch Instagram users’ attention, include a picture!
2. Hijack Google Search Results with Disruptive Advertising
If you needed any more evidence that the game has taken the world by storm (other than the 50% increase in Nintendo’s share price following the official US release and the claim that daily in-game revenues in the US alone are at $1.6m), check out this Google Trends graph which shows a steep increase in people searching for the phrases, “2km in miles”, “5km in miles” and “10km in miles” (all of which relate to the distance a player must walk in order to incubate an egg in the game):
By identifying relevant search terms such as these and perhaps making educated guesses as to what other searches players may be performing (“pokestops in Bristol” may be relevant for our central Bristol bar), you can hijack these search results with ad copy that speaks to Pokemon GO players.
3. Incentivise Customers to Check-In on Facebook
Once you’ve attracted your Pokemon-loving customers, why not offer them something in return for checking in on Facebook, thus increasing your organic reach – it could be a 10% discount, or the promise of a free lure for every 20 people that check in etc.
4. Use Sponsored Tweets Targeting Users Who Follow Relevant Accounts
There are various ways in which you can use Twitter’s ad targeting, but one simple method could be to piggyback off the following of relevant existing accounts – a quick search for “pokemon go” gives a fairly expansive list of these:
By targeting followers of these accounts within a particular radius of your location, you can further your online reach.
5. Advertise a Voucher for Pokemon Players on the Google Display Network
GDN tends to have a fairly low click-through rate when compared with search or other forms of online advertising – this may be a positive thing if you’re looking to spread the word about your status as a Pokestop as users may see your ads without clicking, thus making this free advertising! Alternatively, you could offer a money-off voucher or similar in your creative which may cost you more for clicks, however by getting someone to download this voucher they are more likely to come along and use it!
Again some fairly simple targeting using Google’s Display Planner can ensure you appear only on relevant websites.
Ride the PokéWave of Success!
Time will tell whether the popularity that Pokemon GO is currently enjoying continues in the fashion it has begun – the gamer has officially launched in the UK today so expect a flurry of new Pokemon trainers! If I were the owner of one of these Pokestop businesses, I would personally be jumping on all of the above as soon as possible in order to reap maximum rewards of this gift that Nintendo has inadvertently given! I’d also be checking in every 5 minutes and most likely ignoring customers whilst trying to bag a Mewtwo… Perhaps it’s for the best that I’m sat behind a desk.