Pokemon Go as most of us know is the latest ‘App’ game craze, and is taking the world by storm and has netted approx. £105m. thus far according to Techcrunch, and is currently netting approx. £6m. per day.
So what is Pokemon Go and its underlying technology and how can that possibly leverage Digital Signage and vice versa. So for those that have been living ‘off the grid’ for the last 8 weeks I shall (for a 50+ year old) attempt to explain the game concept and the underlying tech.
The game concept is that your phone leverages both GPS (where you are) and your Camera (Your world view) and overlays computer graphics using a technology called ‘Augmented Reality’ (more on this later) to insert Pokemon characters over your world view. The object of the game (any Millenials reading please reading jump in on the comments and correct me please) is to wander around your local area, collecting Pokemon characters. You can then take your captured Pokemon Characters to GPS tagged areas to train your characters in order for them to gain strength and powers (PokeGyms ?). You then use your characters to do battle with your friends characters. Got it? Good
Augmented Reality has been around for a good few years, but what exactly is it?
Well according to Wikipedia Augmented Reality is this …
Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.
So is this technology new. Well no it has been around for a good few years, and in fact we have blogged about Augmented Reality previously over the years, namely back in March 2011, April 2011, May 2011, and more recently in March this year.
Dynamax, even way back in May 2011 were involved in possibly the first use of Augmented Reality in a UK outdoor advertising campaign, working with JCDecaux at London Victoria Train Station for Lynx Deodorant, which you can read about here and here.
So that is a little bit about the game concept and the back story to the technology, now lets turn our attention to the blog title, namely are these two technologies Symbiotic.
Well firstly let’s look at a few things Small retailers and venue owners can do to attract Pokemon Go fans. These are from the excellent article at inc.com
Find Out if Your Business Is a Gym or PokeStop
What makes Pokemon Go different from many other games is that it doesn’t keep people shut up in their rooms. The game runs off an augmented reality HUD, or heads-up display, of the real world. Players’ avatars explore with them as they catch Pokemon, collect rewards from PokeStops, battle other users at Gyms, and team up to defend their territory.
Figuring out whether your business is a PokeStop or Gym is the first thing you should do. PokeStops and Gyms attract foot traffic without any effort-players flock to them for rewards and to battle other players-and they can be leveraged for massive sales if you know how.
There is no official Niantic map that lists all the PokeStop and Gym locations yet. One workaround is to use the online map of portals created over the last three years for the game “Ingress,” also developed by Niantic, which maps virtually 1:1 with Pokemon Go’s PokeStops and Gyms.
Check out the map here after you install the Ingress app on your phone and sign in (you can use a Google account, and it only takes about a minute to set up).
Once you have it set up, you’ll be treated to a searchable world map of different “portals”-each one being either a PokeStop or a Gym in Pokemon Go.
Sit Back, Throw Down a Lure, and Enjoy the Show
Pokemon Go offers a range of in-app purchases. The one that is most important for your small business is Lures.
Lures increase the rate of Pokemon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed for one half hour. That may not sound that powerful, but Pokemon are scarcer than you think. Luring is an insanely powerful tool that you really have to see to believe.
Capitalize on Your Business Being Near a Pokemon Gym
Gyms are a separate kind of animal entirely from PokeStops. You can’t put down Lures, but you don’t have to either, because users are converging on Gyms day and night to face off with other users and “take control” of the gym for either team Mystic, Valor, or Instinct.
To see if your business is near a gym, you can check the Ingress map, or just open Pokemon Go on your phone and look for the tall structures with little Pokemon near the top. They’re not hard to spot-they’re the biggest structures on the in-game map.
Capitalizing on your proximity to a gym is more about creative marketing in real life than anything else. Here are some ideas for ways to engage with the droves of people standing near your business with their eyes glued to their phones:
- Giveaways: Order Pokemon Gym badges from a supplier that can customize them for your business. A quick Google search of the keywords “Pokemon Gym badge” and “custom” should get you what you need.
- Keep score: Put up a sandwich board announcing which team is currently in control of your Gym, and then offer a discount to members of that team! Don’t worry about staying updated on which team is winning-just ask those who are participating in the promotion to inform you when the gym has changed hands.
- Get social: Take in-game screenshots and post them on the social-media platforms where you’re active. Use hashtags like #pokemongo and #pokemon to get the message out to your potential new customers.
If you’re nowhere near either a PokeStop or a Gym, that just means you have to get a little more creative.
Go Where the Pokemon Roam
Once you know the basics of how Pokemon Go works, you don’t actually need to be near a PokeStop or a Gym to capitalize on the traffic they can create.
Take Your Business on the Road
One way to make your business a part of the Pokemon Go phenomenon is to get mobile and find a spot from which to orchestrate the Lure or Gym strategies. If you’re a fashion retailer, maybe this means loading up a van with some of your latest vintage finds. If you’re a restaurant, maybe this means going to the park and setting up a barbecue. It’s summertime, so get creative.
Since Pokemon are everywhere, you want to go where you have the best chance of finding success. Take advantage of places where you have clusters of PokeStops. If there are three PokeStops on the same block, as is happening fairly often in larger cities, then park yourself in the middle of them and lay down three Lures at the same time.
It’s the same effect as if you were laying down one-just multiplied by three. Before you know it, you’ll have a serious crowd on your hands.
Promote Your Local Pokemon on Social Media
Even if your business is nowhere near a PokeStop or a Gym, you’re still going to have Pokemon.
One way to get people excited about visiting your business is to get on social media and show off the valuable or rare Pokemon popping up in your area. To know what to look for, a Reddit user has created a handy rarity chart.
You could hire a member of your staff to sit on Pokemon Go all day, lay down Incense (an in-game purchase similar to a Lure, but which only gives effects to the person who triggered it), and take screenshots of the Pokemon they capture.
A better option, though, might be to incentivize play on the part of your customers.
Consider running it like a referral program:
- Tell users you’ll pay for their Incense in return for some screenshots of any rare Pokemon that pop up in the vicinity of your shop.
- Have them upload the picture and tag you on social media, so that their followers know about you too.
- Promote the fact that you’re rewarding users who find rare Pokemon at your business.
Do this right, and you could turn your store into a viral destination.
Advertise Your Pokemon on Facebook
If you don’t already have a decent-sized following on social media, or if you’re looking to drive an even greater amount of traffic, then Facebook advertising is your best bet.
By creating a Facebook ad targeted only inside the geographical radius of your choice, you could spread the word about your local Pokemon only to those people liable to actually stop into your store.
The vanilla Facebook advertising interface can be hard to use, so check out one of the Facebook ad managers out there if you want help. AdEspresso, one such tool, makes it easy to set whatever targeting criteria you want, whether that’s geographic (one mile around your business), demographic (ages 16 to 26), or interest-based (they “like” Pokemon Go on Facebook).
Pokemon Go and Start Marketing Your Local Business Right Now
The naysayers inside your organization will say the same things people say whenever there’s a big paradigm shift. “This is a fad,” they’ll say. And that could be true. People, of course, said the same thing about the original Pokemon game.
The more salient point here is that no marketing channel is evergreen, but businesses that want to win have to keep one eye open for these big shifts-and they have to capitalize on them when it’s time. With Pokemon Go, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with new customers, and for very little money.
Even if Pokemon Go isn’t as powerful a tool for driving sales six months or a year from now, the customers that you delight today are going to remember you tomorrow.
So that is a few examples of how Pokemon Go can drive traffic to your store or venue, but what about using Digital Signage to appeal to the users of the game?
Well there are already screen templates coming available to tie your digital signage screens to the Pokemon Go crowd. Here are a couple of examples that can be freely downloaded from Rise Vision ..
So that’s it. Of course Pokemon Go may be just a fad, but some fads last for a long time and generate £Bns in revenue.