If you don’t know it yet, Pokémon GO is freaking huge. According to SimilarWeb,
“Over 60% of those who have downloaded the app in the US are using it daily, meaning around 3% of the entire US Android population are users of the app.”
Average daily users have already surpassed Tinder and may soon pass Twitter’s app. Part of Pokémon GO’s appeal is it truly crosses age boundaries — people in their 20s and 30s remember Pokémon’s explosive popularity in the 90s and early 2000s, and kids now are beginning to see how awesome and fun playing in the “pocket monster” world can be. Because of the large demographic reach, there are so many potential uses for marketers.
Pokemon GO is just insane right now. This is in Central Park. It's basically been HQ for Pokemon GO. pic.twitter.com/3v2VfEHzNA
— Jonathan Perez (@IGIhosT) July 11, 2016
While the app doesn’t offer any sponsorship or partnership programs right now, the future is certainly full of possibilities. Here are some of the current and potential ways marketers can get involved in the Pokémon GO hype.
How Can You be Part of The Conversation?
While right now there aren’t sponsorships or advertising available in Pokémon GO– there are still ways for marketers to get involved. If your business happens to be the site of a Pokémon GO gym or PokéStop, you can take advantage.
For example, this Mexican restaurant in my town is a PokéStop, where users can come by to get freebies to help them in the game:
Jose Peppers could welcome these users who are driving around (and stopping into) their business by offering a special deal. Maybe free espinaca dip or dessert if customers show the server their Pokémon GO account or checks into their restaurant with a Facebook update, tweet, or Instagram post.
Also, just promoting that your location is near a gym or stop can get more visibility and foot traffic, if you have a good social media presence:
— Jimmy's Seafood (@JimmysSeafood) July 11, 2016
If you’re a publisher, you can still take advantage. BuzzFeed has been posting several round-ups and news stories about the game already. If there’s a way to tie in your own business to the game without reaching or coming across as cheesy, it could be a cool way to take advantage of the conversation.
Offer Discounts, Meetups, or Free Swag to Users
Another thing businesses can do right now with the Pokémon GO app is to host meetups. Right now, users can only battle one another at PokéGyms, so if your business is near one (these are chosen by the app and are usually landmarks, like churches or parks), take advantage. Offer discounts to hungry users who are driving by or have a giveaway tent with free food to grow visibility for local users.
If you aren’t a food-based business, you can still get involved. Give away free t-shirts, offer charging stations since Pokémon GO is such a battery drain, or even water bottles since a lot of the game is done on foot (and it was released during the summer, where temperatures can soar to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in many parts of the U.S.)
Once users feel comfortable with your restaurant or local business and know that you welcome Pokémon GO users, they may be more likely to visit again or recommend it to their friends.
Businesses can also buy lure modules and incense, which attract more Pokémon to the area. This could lead to increased foot traffic as well.
— Pokemon Go Memes (@PokemonGoMemes) July 11, 2016
Sponsored Gyms, Stops, or Swag?
Although this isn’t available yet as of press time, Nintendo would be remiss to not at least consider letting businesses sponsor Pokémon GO gyms, PokéStops, or swag (like candy or pokeballs). Because users are visiting businesses in real-time to battle, get bonuses, or collect Pokémon, this could be a lucrative opportunity for Nintendo to brand with businesses to get more users out and about.
Even making a chain of multiple locations (like all Chicago McDonald’s, for example) temporary PokéGyms or PokéStops could create urgency, leading to more foot traffic for the McDonald’s locations and more engagement for the app.
Want to learn more about marketing for multiple locations? Check out this Marketing Nerds podcast episode I did with Cynthia Johnson:
As Pokémon GO continues to grow into a cultural phenomenon, you need to be prepared to harness all the potential user engagement that fits in naturally with your target audience.
Are you using Pokémon GO or any other popular apps to reach your audience?
Original featured image via DepositPhotos. Text added via Canva. Screenshots taken July 2016.