“Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Pikachu, and many other Pokémon have been discovered on planet Earth! Now’s your chance to discover and capture the Pokémon all around you—so get your shoes on, step outside, and explore the world. You’ll join one of three teams and battle for the prestige and ownership of Gyms with your Pokémon at your side…”
And so begins the description of one of the hottest apps ever to hit the market, “eclipsing Twitter in its percentage of daily active users.” Pokémon has gone viral with unprecedented speed, but what makes the phenomenon so amazing is that it’s happening in the real world, with people getting out and moving around. You’ll know how major this tech news is when you walk along the streets of any city, town or hamlet in the U.S. and find people on the streets walking around hunting for Pokémon. Yes, walking! America is on the move, crushing their steps goals. 5 miles a day is nothing!
Military bases are warning service members against the dangers of wandering into unauthorized areas while chasing Pokémon. Police departments and safety agencies are issuing PokémonGo warnings to players about staying safe while they search. One police department issued an invitation on its Facebook page to fugitives to catch Pokémon in their booking area. YELP allows restaurant filtering based on their proximity to PokeStops!
Research firm Sensor Tower reports the game topped 7.5 million downloads since its launch and pulls in about $1.6 million a day in revenue in the U.S. alone. PokémonGo is currently the Number 1 free app on iOS and Google Play market places.
Time to get in the game. Do you sense a potential marketing coup here? You should! Think about what all those people on the move in your neighborhood can mean to your business. All that foot traffic hunting down Pokémon. All those hungry, thirsty people.
Restaurant and bar owners are jumping on the craze. Here are just a few comments from them in a Pokémon feed on Reddit.com:
My local brew house is a Pokémon Gym, and they are offering discounted drinks for members of the team that holds the gym. PokémonGo is awesome! As a manager for a store, PoGo is…amazing. SO. MUCH. FOOT TRAFFIC. Time to invest in some lures. If a business spends $100 for 14,500 PokeCoins, they can buy lures for $0.59/lure. $100 gets you 170 lures and 85 hours worth of increased traffic. If you’re a bar in a college town/city, this is the greatest investment you can make right now. I have eaten at three different restaurants I’ve never visited just because they’re PokeStops and Gyms. Here’s the thing: it works even if you’re not in a college town or city and even if you’re not a bar. It’s summer, and every town has outdoor events going on, bringing people to town. Lures will bring them right in your doors.
So what is PokémonGo? It is an augmented reality mobile exploration game from Nintendo’s Niantic (did we mention that Nintendo shares went up 10% since launch) that installs on an iPhone and uses the GPS and camera. Players (and there are a lot of them) explore the real world, seeking out unusual hiding places for Pokémon characters. They flock to PokeStops and Gyms for rewards and to battle other players.
The first step to get involved is to find out if there is a PokeStop or Gym location near you. Inc.com reports is there is not yet an official Niantic map that lists all the locations, but there is an online map of portals created over the last three years for the game “Ingress,” also developed by Niantic, that maps 1:1 with PokémonGo’s PokeStops and Gyms.
If there is a PokeStop or Gym nearby, buy Lures. For half an hour, a Lure increases the rate of Pokémon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed. For more information about this, visit the iTunes AppStore to read up.
Although the Lure brings people in (one pizzeria reported in Reddit that 30 people walked in within minutes of dropping the Lure), you can maximize your small investment through social media. Offer discounts or giveaways for winners in the Gyms. Keep a visible scoreboard, and ask patrons to update you on who holds the Gym. Reward users who find Pokémon at your business. Get people involved in taking in-game screenshots at your place, tagging you and posting them. Use your social media to show off the valuable or rare Pokémon that pop up in your area. Get a power strip and offer a charging station. Healthy foods at your place? Plan a fitness angle for your PokémonGo campaign.
So…while gamers are hitting the streets in record numbers to “catch them all,” get in the game! Download PokémonGo to your iPhone now (it doesn’t work on tablets), and get started. Have fun with all those new customers, and plan how you’re going to keep them coming.