Could Pokémon Go Be The App Marketers Have Been Waiting For?

Pokémon Go is a mobile app that has launched itself all the way to the number one spot in the app store in very little time. With over 70 million daily users already, this augmented reality game that allows players to walk around in real life and catch Pokémon characters has caught the attention of everybody, especially entrepreneurs and marketers. Although they didn’t intend to, Niantic may have created just the location-based app that businesses and marketers have needed in order to get more people into their stores.

Why have other location-based apps struggled?

Marketers have been trying to come up with a location based marketing strategy for a while now. In 2009, the mobile app Foursquare came up with “check in,” which allowed its users to “check in” to local businesses, earn “badges” and even become the “mayor” of locations

four square.jpg

This was great for marketing because it provided business owners a unique way to market their business to consumers by making the process of discovering new businesses and checking in fun.

Many businesses since then have used Foursquare to offer specials, discounts, and rewards to users for checking in as a way to help incentivize more people to get through the doors of more businesses. Despite the giveaways however, most brands and businesses still fail at successfully getting more people into their stores. This is because consumers just simply don’t care enough about going to a specific business location just so they can swipe their phone and get a 10% off discount.

Pokémon Go works because it changes player behavior

According to a recent study, Pokémon Go is outperforming every other social network such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat on the amount of time people spend daily on the app.

pokemon go.png

Source: SensorTower

A normal player on Pokémon Go is spending on average 33 minutes a day on the app. At any moment, you have millions of people walking around going wherever the game tells them to go. Depending where certain Pokémon, “gyms”, and “lure modules” are, people will swarm to these areas.


With that much control, innovative marketers and businesses are going to be investing in Pokémon Go in order to bring hundreds of these Pokémon Go players into their own stores.

Pokémon Go is already helping businesses

Many businesses have already seen the positive effects such as an increase in revenue as a result of being lucky enough to be located right next to key points in the Pokémon Go app. Others have quickly taken advantage of it by buying “lure modules” that attract virtual Pokémon characters to their store.

After spending just $10 on these lure modules, L’inizio Pizza Bar saw its sales jump 75 percent over the weekend.

“We had people come down, sit down, and get a couple beers and play the Pokémon game,” manager Sean Benedetti said.

By attracting virtual Pokémon characters to the store, it also brought in nearby Pokémon Go players who wanted to catch them.

Parting thoughts

Local businesses and national brands will most likely invest into the culture of Pokémon Go, but it’s too soon to tell the impact that Pokémon Go will have in the future. If more and more companies buy locations, though, “gyms” and “lure modules” may eventually simply become a google maps for advertised businesses. Knowing this, many players may be turned off from going out of their way just to walk to a McDonalds.

“Good marketing offers us a view of the world. Bad marketing offers us a product to buy” – Simon Sinek

What do you think about this? Is Pokémon Go a potential threat to companies like Foursquare, Groupon, and LivingSocial? Do you think sponsored locations on Pokémon Go will be effective for more expensive brands such as Apple or Best Buy? Comment below, I would love to hear your opinion.


16 thoughts on “Could Pokémon Go Be The App Marketers Have Been Waiting For?

    1. It really is a phenomenon. I’m in the US and many articles are saying that it’s reaching its peak here so we’ll have to see what happens. It just opened in Japan and they’re going crazy about it over there. where in the world are you? how did figuring it out go?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m also in the US – Michigan.
        So…I’m either really missing the big picture or it’s just not that interesting to me. We found and caught some creatures / bugs, we got more balls, and found a couple gyms (we’re not up to level 5 yet so we couldn’t go in the gym). Is that it? Don’t get me wrong, it was fun seeing the grass move and then once close enough catching the thing, but I feel like there must be more…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m in California:) So the reason Pokémon Go is doing so well is because it successfully combined technology with nostalgia. the people who are really connecting with the game and talking about it are those who grew up watching the show and playing the games. if you didn’t grow up like that, then you probably wont understand what the bid deal about it is. but that’s how people are with a lot of apps. The older generation doesn’t understand Snapchat. the younger generation doesn’t understand Facebook, and millennials and above don’t really understand Musically. all have big marketing applications though. I grew up watching Pokémon, but didn’t really enjoy playing the game myself. I still think it’s important to see what happens with it though.

        I don’t normally write articles like this so thank you for commenting on it:)) means a lot:)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Vincent, Yes I can imagine. I get why you divide your time between WP and linkedin. It totally makes sense. I like to keep myself open to all, cause it is important in business and in your personal life to be all rounders in all areas. One can’t be an expert everywhere. But, a general idea – doesnt hurt. Good day

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Very true. The sad side of this is that companies now are looking at people as toys, moving them wherever they want, making them buy stuff they don’t need because they managed to play their minds and make a link between playing and buying!!!.
    Ads bedore make faked links between joy and a specific product by showing people so happy while the product is presented, now the same game!.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been busy lately so haven’t been getting around to reading your posts, I’ll get to them eventually curious what the line you said about Pokemon go was:) Where are you in the world? U.S.? Are you a fan of it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s okay! I am from Canada! Haha. I was a child when Pokemon came out so it’s something I am familiar with. But I am not that crazy over it. Haha. I can’t only name 20 or so. (So sad).

        Liked by 1 person

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