Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Learnings From the Launch of Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go - Pokeballs

Jenny Force Jenny Force, VP of Marketing

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm and we have no doubt it was THE topic of conversation around your office Monday morning. Since our first blog post about the popular mobile-gaming app, global mentions increased to over 11.2 million yesterday evening. In fact, 5.16% of Androids in the US had the game installed by July 8th. With the enormous amount of attention and usage it’s receiving, we dug a bit deeper to see what the business impact of this cultural phenomenon could teach us.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of Pokémon Go mentions

Releasing a New Product? Monitor, Listen, Take Action, Repeat.

It’s not news that people turn to social media to voice their opinions and experiences, whether good or bad. However, the missed insight and opportunity from brands that have not setup monitoring is still, somehow, staggering. Last night, Pokémon Go had more than 83k Twitter mentions about app issues since its Australian release on July 5th. When using a monitoring and listening tool such as Heartbeat, proactively think about all aspects and possible situations your brand may come across. Gaming and app companies should add keywords about servers, downloading issues, heavy traffic, crashing, etc. to keep an eye on how the conversation spreads. Adding product features is also a monitoring must-have to help you get granular in these conversations. When pairing product issue and product feature keywords, we found 4k tweets about the app crashing when users were about to catch a Pokémon and losing game items, such as incense and pokéballs.

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph of Pokémon Go product features for developers to monitor

How could Nintendo react? The high usage is obviously affecting servers, but perhaps another issue arises when Pokémon appear. Have a product manager investigate. Secondly, when the issues are ironed out, they could give frustrated players complimentary game items to thank them for their patience.

Pay Attention to Real-time Moments and Trends

Nintendo has used augmented reality to turn Pokémon into modern-day geocaching, disrupting local businesses and public locations. We used MAP to see how many times players tweeted about playing Pokémon in places we visit every day.

Sysomos MAP - Share of voice of places people are going to play Pokémon Go

Brands may be hesitant to participate in cultural trends that fall outside their usual realm, but the right approach can help you stay relevant and give your content some panache. Some businesses quickly learned their location was a Pokémon hotspot from gamers turning up at their doors. Australian supermarket Woolworths jumped in on the action and created a fun post offering tips to finding Pokémon in their stores. However, for businesses or institutions not experiencing hoards of gamers, they could download the app themselves to see if there are any Pokémon and “gyms” at or near their location. Posting about this could help you relate to your audience and give you more foot traffic.

Researching Themes Can Lead to Unexpected Business Opportunities

One of the biggest surprises is that gamers are inadvertently exercising with Pokémon Go. Charity Miles quickly took advantage of this, urging the use of their app while catching the fictional creatures to raise money for charity.

But the biggest opportunity we saw is Nintendo’s potential ROI outside of app sales. With over 75k mentions about exercising with Pokémon Go, fitness apps such as Fitbit, Jawbone, MyFitnessPal, and Android Wear may jump at the chance to create a partnership. Businesses and events could want in-game locations. For instance, a South Carolinian gastropub who has a Pikachu on their bar is already asking for a “gym” so that users can play against each other with a beer in hand. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see companies pay to have rare Pokémon at their locations.

So far, the app has only been released in three countries and people around the globe anxiously wait to partake in the fun. Has your business checked to see if you have Pokémon in the bathroom? Happy catching!


(Header photo credit: Flickr user Lee McKusick)

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