Aldo Agostinelli

Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock for the past fortnight then you won’t have missed the latest craze sweeping Europe: Pokémon Go. The most popular mobile game in US history involves travelling to various locations to catch fictional Pokémon characters – a simple but fantastic use of augmented reality. With 15 million downloads, a net profit of £18 Billion and downloads in 26 countries, it’s easy to see why brands are excited at the prospect of getting involved with Pokémon Go.

Like most mobile gaming apps, Pokémon Go gathers a wealth of information about its users. However, it’s the geo-location data it has access to which sets it apart from not only other mobile games, but other mobile apps. This is because it offers digital marketers unprecedented access to opportunities to place their brand within certain areas it knows you will be in, and offers a way to draw people to places – be it a store, a restaurant or public space – that they may not have visited otherwise.

One such way is to make a certain building, which could be a company’s high-street shop, a PokéStop. Niantic (makers of Pokémon Go) CEO John Hanke suggested organisations could soon “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board—the premise being that is an inducement that drives foot traffic”. It’s simple but effective, and similar to Google’s pay per click scheme.

However, the most intriguing aspect available to digital marketers is the combination of tracking your movements whilst simultaneously having access to your previous web searches, thanks to Pokémon Go. Digital marketers can use the data gleaned by the app to establish a player’s interests and then target them with adverts whilst they are in certain areas.

This isn’t just data; it’s big geo-location data and a new and engaging way for brands to communicate quickly with a huge base of people with disposable income. An additional benefit to this form of digital marketing is the ability to make sure the advert doesn’t get lost, as players will be guided to an isolated advert through their attempts to capture Pokémon characters. With robust analytics for advertisers, Pokémon Go (and other mobile games that follow its lead) could be the ‘new’ social media advertising platform.

Are you playing Pokémon Go? How do you think adverts will affect the user experience? Feel free to reply in the comments or tweet me at @AgostinelliAldo with your thoughts.

Aldo Agostinelli