Monetizing Pokemon Go

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week and a half, or have been wondering why people are frantically power-walking while staring at their smart phones (even more than usual), let me enlighten you – it is Pokemon Go. While I’m not generally a fan of digital games, I was interested to see when and how different brands would jump on the bandwagon and how monetization would come into the picture. I didn’t have to wait long.

Just shy of two weeks since its launch, Pokemon Go has already eclipsed Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp in user numbers……. and marketing pros everywhere began salivating. After seeing some of my favorite local boutiques posting shots of characters hanging out with accessories or sitting atop racks of clothes, I was interested to see what bigger brands and companies would do.

Search Engine Watch featured some good and bad examples, some of which made sense and supported the brand and others that totally flopped. This was yet another example and a good reminder that while it may be tempting to figure out a way to incorporate your brand or product into something that’s the latest craze in order to generate a return in the form of dollars or simply awareness, it may not always be in line with marketing goals and that usually results in a failure. Like any other content strategy, marketers should consider their audience and product or service to gauge whether or not it’s worth their effort and budget expenditure, even if that is just in the form of time.

Once Pokemon Go launches ads in the near future as was announced last week, that will most likely create even more of a frenzy as retailers and other businesses jump to be “sponsored locations.” Fortune cited, “At least one business has already seen some success using the game, even though it hasn’t paid to be a sponsored location. A New York pizzeria paid for a $10 in-app purchase that attracted Pokemon to its store. The New York Post reported that business at the restaurant subsequently boomed 75%.”

That is insane.

I can’t wait to see other success stories like this roll in and will be interested to witness the lifespan of this game until the novelty wears off and the next big thing is revealed.


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