A few weekends ago, approximately 4,000 users gathered on the Sea Point promenade over a four – five hour period as part of an event that was planned for and by a Pokémon Go user group that had popped up of its own accord on Facebook. More are planned across the country in the coming weeks. This is all before the game has even been made available in the South African app stores, so you can expect that we haven’t even started to peak locally yet.
Obviously demographics for the SA user base are not readily available, but here is a great infographic from Forbes.com that gives you an idea of the age breakdown from a study of users in the US as seen in the image above.
The event on the Sea Point promenade was a user community gathering where the attendees activated a number of lure packs to attract Pokémon to a specific location. What casual observers didn’t know is that even though the event wasn’t branded, it had been tactically supported by a few brands who were switched on enough to take advantage of the experiential opportunity – The Radisson drew participants to their location with the promise of coffee and snacks for trainers (players) based on their achieved level in the game, and incentivised them to share their experience at the hotel on social media by running a competition for a free night’s accommodation. Richarge, a mobile powerbank brand, was there to rent out their products to trainers whose batteries were running out.
Large user gathering at short term events are not the only change in behaviour that the game is creating, and is certainly not the only opportunity for brands to engage. Standard gameplay is creating changes in this audience’s location histories over the longer term and ultimately in greater numbers, and we are starting to discover data that can help us understand the where and when of it.
Being the connected, tech savvy consumers that they are, our local trainers have started recording and contributing information on where they have been catching Pokémon. They’ve even made an app called PokeTrack to make the job easier to complete in real time. All this data is then presented as a map, to help other trainers identify and target specific locations. This is what it looks like:
Bring consumers to your door
The really exciting opportunity that “Pokemon Go is arguably a more natural and interactive way to herd customers toward certain locations.”
Activity in the Pokémon Go world is centred around predetermined points of interest that live in the virtual world (Pokestops and Gyms). They are based on locations in the real world and players return to these locations regularly to drop lure packs and capture Pokémon or to take ‘ownership’ of the specific location.
Businesses and entrepreneurs have already started leveraging the opportunity that this presents for increasing footfall (and therefore business) by supporting the experience of consumers in their physical space.
Smaller businesses who have found themselves luckily assigned with Pokestops and Gyms have started paying for and activating lures in the game to make Pokémon available for visitors to their stores and attract more visitors. The New York Post reported that New York pizzeria L’inizio Pizza Bar enjoyed a 75% jump in sales after its manager spent $10 on the Lure Module.
Stores that are aligned with Gym locations have put up simple signage to signal which team currently occupies the virtual ownership of the location.
There doesn’t seem to be any word yet on whether similar deals will be available for brands in other countries, but watch this space…
What does the future look like?
Regardless of whether Pokémon Go is a fad, augmented reality (AR) mobile gaming has finally hit the mainstream and is here to stay over the long run. From an OOH point of view there are two key opportunities that we will be looking to capitalise on – data and OOH/mobile crossover.
Data: The more consumers interact with these location platforms, the more we get to know about their aggregated location affinities over time. What this increased insight lets us do is plan OOH campaigns that are more relevant to specific audience groups, and get more creative with how we use OOH media to add value to consumers lives (think exciting, relevant, contextually aware ads from clients, rather than the boring brand-and-brag clutter of today). Which brings us onto our second key opportunity;
OOH/mobile crossover: Consumers today operate between and across their digital and physical worlds seamlessly and continuously. They use their experiences in either ‘world’ to enrich their experiences across both – they share real life moments via online platforms like Facebook and use online platforms like Uber to engage with or control the real world around them. OOH advertisers and agencies should be looking to augment the experiences of consumers in both the physical and virtual worlds, by getting them to speak to each other in real time in the right location. As out of home inventory evolves from static to digital, expect to see more direct integration of the messaging on these physical structures with what is happening in the digital world.