Although it seems that Pokemon Go popped up out of the blue, taking the world by storm, the app has been in beta since 2011.

The game was developed by U.S.-based company Niantic in conjunction with The Pokemon Company and Nintendo. At the helm of Niantic is CEO John Hanke. Hanke is a Google Earth and Google Maps veteran who spawned the idea for Pokemon Go in 2010, and launched a game called Ingress. The game lured millions of players in over 200 countries to explore the world around them through the app. The data collected from Ingress is what was used to create and launch Pokemon Go.

Drawing upon his years of experience working with Google Earth and Google Maps, Hanke created a pool of “portal” locations that include public artwork, historical sites, and local destinations by drawing from geo-tagged Google images. Ingress players were also asked to submit suggestions for where other portals should be located. Out of over 15 million suggestions, over 5 million portals have been created throughout the world. When Pokemon Go was launched, the most popular Ingress portals became Pokemon Gyms and the second most popular portals became Pokestops.

Pokemon Go has garnered international attention with a multiplayer game that prompts users to move through the real world in search of virtual Pokemon. The game is geographically based, thus your location in the real world will determine which Pokemon you’ll find. The Pokemon are generated randomly and certain species can be found in certain locations. For example, water Pokemon are more likely to be found at the beach than in the city.

Playing The Game

The goal of the game is to capture as many Pokemon as you can, and then to pit them against other Pokemon in friendly or rival battles that are held in “Gyms.”

When a you win a rival battle, you can claim that location for yourself and your team. There are three teams: Valor (red), Instinct (yellow), and Mystic (blue). Players can collect an array of items at Pokestops that will help them lure, capture, revive, and hatch Pokemon.

Pokemon Go

The Business Behind the Game

While Pokemon Go seems to be all fun and games, the game has become serious business for key players and will likely have an impact on the economy as a whole. The game has grossed over $44.8 million as of August 3, 2016, with $1.6 million spent each day on in-app purchases. These numbers are truly staggering, and if you weren’t paying attention until now, we can guarantee that we’ve caught your eye. And these are just current sales. The real potential has yet to be realized. With over 21 million active users each day, Pokemon Go has just uncovered a completely new way to captivate an audience of spenders. The potential, untapped ad revenue projections are in the billions. Specifically, $16,893,000,000. Just for the sake of comparison, the Superbowl pulls in $275 million in ad revenue, which is dwarfed by Pokemon Go’s projections. According to, Pokemon Go doesn’t play with the Angrybirds and CandyCrush crowd. They’re on the same level as CNN and Fox in terms of number of viewers. That’s major, and we are just starting to experience the implications of this new platform for advertising.

Just think. The world was blown away by online advertising’s ability to drive customers to a business’ website and track customer behavior with pixels. Now, Pokemon Go can lead a customer directly to your business. The app can actually bring a customer to your actual door. Let that sink in for a sec. I’m sure you’re salivating now, and you’re probably wondering how you can get in on the action. The ultimate goal would be to turn your business into a Pokestop, and this is something that Niantic does plan to roll out. Players will be incentivized to visit sponsored locations, and the location will pay via a Cost Per Visit model. Although not currently available, Niantic claims that this opportunity will be open to small businesses and big corporations alike.

Harnessing The Power of Pokemon

In the meantime, there are several tactics that you can utilize to capture the craze.

Set a Lure

If your location is a Pokestop, you can purchase a Lure and set it within your store. The Lure only lasts 30 minutes, so it’s best to use some strategy here and set it to drive traffic during a historically slow time of the day. If your location is not a Pokestop, find the closest one and set a Lure there. Place a sidewalk sign outside your store to capture potential customers who are scurrying by in search of Pokemon.

Be Social

Harness the power of social media. Offer a promotion or discount based on Pokemon levels, or deploy a social media campaign around asking followers to post screenshots of Pokemon captured in and around the store.

Get Creative

While you wait to hand over your hard-earned and often-scarce advertising dollars to Pokemon Go, get creative with your team and come up with a campaign that capitalizes on the obsession.

If you’re wondering where to start, contact Nice Branding Agency to help create a marketing plan that will get you the most bang for your buck.

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