The augmented reality superhit will soon offer advertisers the chance to sponsor Pokéstops.
Pokémon Go is taking over the world. The insanely popular augmented reality app has swept the nation since its release on July 6, mobilizing stampedes of users in search of “pokéstops” and Pokémon “gyms.” What sets this game apart is its GPS-dependency: with Pokémon strongholds plotted on a customized version of Google Maps, players must physically seek the creatures out in their real-world locations.
According to data from SimilarWeb, the game has already been installed on more Android smartphones in the U.S. than Tinder, the popular location-based dating app. As of July 8, just two days after its release, the game had been installed on 5.16% of all U.S. Android phones — whereas Tinder, the mega-popular dating app, has been installed on just over 2%.
Clearly, the enormous and fanatical Pokémon user base represents a significant opportunity for revenue. So how will Niantic — the company that created the app in partnership with Nintendo — monetize their success beyond virtual in-app purchases? Speaking with the Financial Times, Niantic chief executive John Hanke confirmed that the app would soon be expanding its revenue stream through the incorporation of “sponsored locations.” He explains that companies will “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board—the premise being that is an inducement that drives foot traffic.” Businesses will then be charged on a “cost per visit” basis.
Many brick-and-mortar businesses have already seen upticks in foot traffic as the result of serendipitously located Pokéstops and gyms — some have even posted signs designed to lure Poké players inside. According to the New York Post, one pizzeria in Queens saw business increase by 75% after purchasing an in-game lure that attracted Pokémon to its location. Yelp has even gone so far as to add a Pokéstop filter to its search functions alongside “wheelchair accessible” and “good for dessert,” as engadget explains. Now, you don’t have to wonder if your dining experience will include a rare Pokémon find; you’ll know.
David Gibson, an analyst at Macquarie Securities in Tokyo, told the Financial Times that “[Nintendo] knows not to upset players by putting too much commercial stuff in there too soon,” and will likely implement any changes to the app gradually. Until then, happy hunting!
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