Pokemon Go! is huge- but how can brands get involved in the catch ‘em all craze? Josie Scotchmer, Marketing Manager at Mailjet looks at how the games’ predecessor Ingress has started using emails- and how this may be a valuable tool for brands as sponsored Pokestops roll out in the near future.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s impossible to have missed it. In the last month, Pokémon GO has erupted onto the app market forcing Nintendo’s stock price to rocket to its highest price in 6 years, before the games manufacturer had to admit its involvement with the app was much smaller than many had assumed.
In its wake, marketers across the world have been trying to ride the Pokémon GO wave, some with more success than others. But, what can you do if you don’t have the same resources that Amazon or Mall of America has?
Actually, quite a lot. One of the biggest assets of the augmented reality game is how it pairs the digital and real worlds in one immersive experience. Brands with physical outlets are likely to have landed close to a PokeStop or local ‘Gym’, offering an opportunity to convert players to customers by embracing the gaming trend. Physical tactics are as simple as clear signage and free charging stations, while online tactics include redeemable discounts and engaging playing customers via social media – and of course, investing in some lures that you’ll use during busy rush hours.
But you’re going to say that everybody does that. OK, so you want to go one step beyond? Rest assured. John Hanke, CEO of Niantic Labs, the company developing Pokemon GO, announced recently that retailers and brands will be able to sponsor some arenas and PokeStops. In this way, Niantic is reproducing a system that has been applied to its previous hit game: Ingress.
The case for email on Pokemon GO
Most sources agree that Niantic is going to apply something similar to Ingress to upsell Pokemon GO. Since Niantic split from Google in 2015, it can’t rely too heavily on funding so there is a focus on sponsored content and selling ad space. As we’ve seen before with Ingress, their apps are constantly updated to facilitate the user experience and allow companies to be showcased during special events.
Interestingly, note that among the most recent upgrades to Ingress has been the addition of email notifications. This body of evidence allows us to make this statement: emails will soon come to Pokémon GO.
That can only be good news for marketers.
1. The first clear reason is that the users of the app will have another way – besides checking the app itself – to be notified when a PokeStop pops up nearby or when an arena they’ve won has come under attack. A recent survey conducted by Mailjet revealed 84% of consumers now welcome real-time notifications as a means for brand interaction, indicating a huge opportunity for existing sponsorship options to organically extend into this system.
2. The second and potentially more interesting reason is that with the upcoming sponsorship of specific places by brands, we can imagine that there will be a retribution system set. Just like ZipCar did in the past with Ingress. Inevitably the brands that opt to sponsor the Pokémon GO app will offer deals and discounts to trainers passing by their locations. And, what would be the easiest way to retrieve said deals and discounts? You got it: email.
Partners in Pokémon and beyond
Email and Pokémon GO are an obvious choice. Certainly it is possible that the in-app notification system will still be a very popular option among users less accustomed to enabling email notifications, but any discounts or deals will undoubtedly serve the consumer better being delivered directly to the inbox where they’ll be safely stored for reference later on.
Whilst we can only speculate about this, it’s a direction that Niantic should examine carefully. Pokémon GO is far from the only app on the market to offer users a real-world location based experience – think Uber and Tinder. Apps looking to merge offline and online world have a huge opportunity with email to draw users back to their app and capitalise on sponsorship spend without demanding constant check-ins that could become barriers for less active users.
So, while we’re waiting for new marketing opportunities to arise, we can only do a few things: walk down the street to hatch those eggs, occupy all the rival arenas, and of course, catch ’em all!
By Josie Scotchmer