The Marketing Potential in Pokemon Go

It shouldn’t come to any surprise that the long term plans of Pokemon Go involve a large amount of advertising, what with more than 7.5 million downloads and a presence on a more-than-respectable percentage of devices.

I remember long ago, the first time I ever heard of virtual reality, and especially augmented reality, my views towards it was quite pessimistic, to say the least. With the general direction of the Internet having gone in the “plaster ads on everything” route, naturally I was picturing incredible 3D worlds, devasted by ads like billboards up and down scenic coastal highway.

2016-07-13 16.39.07

Yet here we are, Pokemon Go is everywhere, augmented reality is the hot new thing, and Nintendo has us in our clutches. But rather than making up for non-paying users with in-app advertisements like most free-to-play mobile games, there are a lot more possibilities here that I think will be way less intrusive, and further more, will benefit the consumer and place the dollar burden on the businesses. And that all revolves around PokeStops and Gyms.

As it stands, PokeStops and Gyms are based on real-world locations and landmarks. This can further be extended to allowing local businesses to pay to turn their location into a giant ad, but in a way that people won’t simply ignore them.

For example, turning a local casual dining restaurant into a PokeStop could easily mean more foot traffic.

I live in a small suburban town, and the sheer number of kids and adults alike that I’ve seen wandering around playing Go is still amazing to me. But they’re there, and some of them are probably hungry. What better place to stop for a chicken sandwich and waffle fries than a place you’re guaranteed to get some hits?

Not only that, but what about the option of paying extra advertising money to bait your PokeStop?

When I’m walking around searching for Pokemon, I tend to wander, almost subconciously, to where I see baited PokeStops. For a business to do this intentionally (as opposed to pure chance that a regular player dropped some Incense on a PokeStop), would, quite literally, be luring people to pass by their business.

Businesses spend a lot of money trying to get attention – getting people to pay attention without even realizing it could be a company’s dream.

On to some more ideas. Right now there is an algorithm somewhere in the code of Pokemon Go that determines where rare and exclusive Pokemon will spawn. What if certain rares or legendaries were only available at related retail establishments initially? A water Pokemon in a store that specializes in water polo equipment. I’ve never seen a store like this, but we’ve also never seen something like this take off, so all ideas are valid!

2016-07-09 17.13.24
This bowling alley probably had no idea it was filled to the brim with Koffings. Maybe not the most ideal representative of your business? Are there any Pokemon that would be great at bowling? Maybe Machop?

I’d like to see Niantic focus their advertising on the “little guys,” those being the little restaurants and bars around town for example, moreso than “if you want a Zapdos, you need to go into the sporting goods section of your local Walmart.” But I think that both could co-exist peacefully.

To be honest, there are a ridiculously high number of Pokemon (although only the original  Generation I are currently available), and as Niantic rolls out more updates and features over the next few years, there are more than enough Pokemon, legendary and otherwise, to become in-store exclusives. I do fear locking exclusives behind some kind of pay wall (ex. spend more than $19.99 and get a free Moltres!), but that would be suicidal for Nintendo, and I think they’re a bit smarter than that.

On to my last little idea from my stream of consciousness, a business could pay a premium to Nintendo to turn their business into a Pokemon Gym. What if the gym leader got some kind of discount in the store? This slightly mirrors the “Mayor” feature of FourSquare, which had it’s own benefits to checking in, like one half price appetizer or a $3 draft. Maybe a free slice of pizza if you take out the current gym leader? The possibilities are endless!

Being such a new concept that has become this popular, there are tons of options for Nintendo to really turn this into a winner. Not like it isn’t already – Nintendo’s market value has jumped up to $7.5 billion in just two days. The app itself is worth billions and is pulling in an estimated $1.6 million per day.

The Pokemon series of video games has always sold exceptionally well, but I foresee larger numbers than ever, thanks to more brand-awareness, and especially a catering to older fans with that nostalgic connection, symbolized by lots of dollar signs. It’s very possible that Pokemon Sun and Moon will break all sorts of records.

I eagerly await Niantic’s first Pokemon Go app update, and can’t wait to see what other cool things they incorporate. One thing is for sure though – this is going to be an interesting year for Nintendo!

One comment

  1. Great post! I was talking about this today at lunch with some coworkers. So many businesses should just invest in a bunch of lures, and set them off at peak times to garner a lot of business! It’s pretty genius.

    I’m actually the Community Content Manager for, and I would be thrilled if you considered cross posting your stuff to our platform. If you don’t know much about us- we’re the sister site to, and push to give awesome writers (like yourself) the exposure they deserve. Feel free to email me!


Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.