What Brands Can Learn From the Success of Pokemon Go and Mobile Engagement

No, this isn’t time travel. The cartoon, video game, and trading card sensation from the mid 90’s has resurfaced here in 2016, and in a brand new way. Pokémon GO is the new mobile app from Nintendo and Niantic Labs that brings the unique creatures of years past to life through geolocation and augmented reality, re-engaging those who have participated in the past while garnering the attention of everyone else who walks down a city street or into a crowded park.

And all of this attention is nothing to shake a Pokéball at – according to TechCrunch, since the July 6th launch in select worldwide regions the Pokémon GO app is now the biggest ever mobile game in the US, has topped Twitter in terms of daily users, and users are spending more time engaging in the app than Facebook.

So what can we learn from this instant resurgence other than how many Pokémon may be lurking around the halls of your office? Let’s take a look at some key takeaways that brands can leverage towards current and potential users to ensure that they “Catch ‘em all”.

Offer personalized experiences and engagements

One of biggest draws to Pokémon GO is the ability to play the game within the user’s everyday world. When a player tries to catch a nearby Pokémon a visual is overlaid on top of whatever the phone’s camera is looking at.

Poke_Screenshot.jpgThis provides a unique experience that is personal to each individual user. The app is also rumored to have an update forthcoming that will enable push notifications, and if these happen to be as personalized as the in-game experience they will only add to the impressive engagement numbers. Although brands may not have Pokémon characters at their disposal, they can offer similar personalized experiences and mobile engagements that will generate and retain users. By understanding behaviors in real time and obtaining a single view of the customer across all potential platforms, brands can produce in-app content and outgoing engagements that make that customer feel valued on a 1-to-1 basis.

Utilize enhanced mobile features such as geolocation

Additional features like geolocation can serve two beneficial purposes for brands. Not only can it add to a brand’s growing appetite for customer behavior data, but it could also drive even further value added behaviors. Through driving traffic to a retail location or sending the customer an instant coupon when they are near a restaurant, favorable actions can be triggered and incentivized using location data. Pokémon GO uses this geolocation data a bit differently by crafting the gameplay experience based on a user’s location, but is able to leverage this feature to successfully acquire and ideally retain users.

Reward users for favorable behaviors

Pokémon GO rewards users with (and also sells) an in-game currency known as “Pokécoins”. This currency is desirable for both users and game creators alike as users must continue to engage with the app to uncover earning opportunities, while they are rewarded with the ability to redeem coins on supplies and upgrades. Brands can adopt a similar concept to incentivize many types of high value behaviors. By instituting a mobile points management program or adopting an existing loyalty program into their app, key milestones and behaviors can be defined for users that go far beyond simply making a purchase. Users could be rewarded for their frequency of usage or for exploring a specific new product or feature within the app. Loyalty programs also aid with analytics, providing additional data points about your customer’s actions, browsing activity, and potential purchase behavior.

While many of us thought Pokémon was in a time capsule with our CDs, VHS tapes and Tamagotchis, the Pokémon GO app proves it’s never too late to dust off your approach and revamp for your customers. Through the use of 1:1 omnichannel engagement and loyalty at scale, see how SessionM can help your brand create more personalized, relevant engagements for a mobile-first world.