By Kelly Wright
Unless you’ve been asleep under a rock for the last three weeks, you’ve probably noticed gangs of excited teenagers and 20-somethings traipsing the streets looking for Pokémon.
Pokémon Go is a massive cultural phenomenon – just see the madness caused by an elusive Pokémon in New York’s Central Park.
Despite the game only being available for a few weeks, it is already the biggest mobile game ever, peaking at 21 million daily active users in the US alone.
Its’ popularity amongst millennials is obvious, but could Pokémon Go have an impact on marketers? Smart business owners are already purchasing the in-game ‘Lure’ module to attract Pokémon – and the players – to the area at a cost of $2 an hour. This increased footfall benefits consumer facing businesses like shops, bars and restaurants, making the Lure a simple and cheap marketing strategy for small businesses. Spending approximately $10 on Lure modules for a day resulted in a 75 per cent rise in business sales, for example.
You don’t have to be a small business to take advantage of the increased footfall in your area. Enterprising kids in the US are setting up lures and profiting from snack stands near their houses. An animal shelter in Indiana has increased volunteering by encouraging Pokémon trainers to walk the shelter’s dogs while they search.
It could also have benefits for major brand retailers. The software developers behind the app have stated that sponsored locations will be introduced soon, creating a new source of revenue for the already hugely successful game. The first collaboration is thought to be with McDonald’s in Japan and will coincide with the release of the app there. For now though, this remains an unknown.
But will Pokémon Go have a lasting impact? Probably not. It’s a fad and like all fads before it, the audience will eventually fade and move on. Today’s Pokémon trainer won’t be playing next year, or maybe even next month. So now is certainly the time to look into a little Pokémarketing, if it fits your business model and target audience. Once Lures become more commonplace, they will lose their impact and as the audience switches off, ROI will slow. For now though, you gotta catch ‘em all.