Pokemon Go and Location-Based Advertising
If you have been in a public place recently, it is very likely that you have seen large groups of twenty-somethings walking around staring at their phones. While this may not sound like something out of the ordinary, this behavior may strike you as peculiar when you actually see it. So what has caused so many people to stay glued to their phones in such large numbers? This is due in part to a new app called Pokemon Go that is currently dominating the mobile download charts. While some people may just see this new game as a fad, its rampant popularity has been catching the attention of local businesses everywhere. With people playing this game in such astounding numbers, could Pokemon Go be the spark that starts a location-based advertising revolution?
Regardless of your age, you have most likely been exposed to Pokemon at some point in your life. Pokemon is the Gameboy game turned cartoon turned card game turned global phenomenon that debuted in 1996. The original game was developed by Nintendo and was all about collecting, training, battling and evolving cute little creatures called Pokemon. The original game became insanely popular and has retained that popularity to this day. Fast forward to July 6th, 2016 when Nintendo released a new mobile application called Pokemon Go. This new mobile game is a spinoff of the classic Pokemon games developed by the Pokemon Company and Niantic Labs (the developer of the popular located-based game, Ingress). This new Pokemon game combines augmented reality technology with GPS tracking to create an experience in which you must venture into the real world to catch Pokemon. Its popularity has exploded over the last week causing the app to make headlines. In fact, the app has already topped Twitter in daily users.
So sure, this game is insanely popular. But you’re probably wondering what this game has to do with marketing. Certain businesses have found that their location has been designated as a PokeStop (a local landmark where players can collect items in the game). While this may be seen as a nuisance to some, many business owners are finding creative ways to use the game to attract customers. Many businesses have used what’s called a Lure Module (an item made to lure Pokemon to a specific location) to bring customers to their business. There is even talk of a partnership with McDonalds which should spur sponsored locations. CNBC recently posted an article about how the app has caused an increase in business for many restaurants. While it is unsure if Pokemon Go will continue to be a success in the future, the app is influencing the way many small businesses have thought about local marketing. Could these technologies provide more opportunities for local advertising in the future?
While GPS-based advertising is nothing new, Pokemon Go is causing more and more businesses to take notice. Mobile GPS application Waze already is implementing location-based advertising by offering sponsored map markers and overlay ads. Snapchat, the popular photo/video sharing app has also introduced sponsored photo filters for businesses that only show up in predetermined locations. Facebook has even implemented location-based targeting features for ads and sponsored posts that target users traveling in specific locations. Your smartphone knows more about you than you may realize and marketers are likely to take advantage of this in the future. As GPS technology gets smarter and smartphones get more advanced, we are finding that companies are using location-based intelligence to target us by location. Mega media conglomerate Clear Channel has implemented digital billboards that use personal mobile data to display custom targeted ads based on a person’s GPS coordinates. Despite the creep factor, this may change the future of conventional advertising as we know it.
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