Business Owner’s Simple Guide to Advertising with Pokemon Go

Since it’s launch in July 2016, Pokemon Go has captured the attention of millions of eyeballs, leaving marketers and business owners wondering “what is Pokemon Go and how can we use it to market our business?” We’re here to help.

What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go is a remake of the Pokemon video game series, a popular game in the 1990s where players tried to capture and train hundreds of Pokemon characters. The mobile app follows the same concept, but incorporates augmented reality into the experience and encourages players to explore physical locations in the real world to discover and capture their favorite Pokemon characters.

Pokemon Go incorporates Virtual Reality to Make Characters Seem Alive in the Real World Surroundings

Photo Courtesy of Greg Kumparak

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is a technology that enhances their gaming experience by bringing computer generated characters to life in the real world. How does it do this? Pokemon Go uses a combination of Google Maps and mobile cameras to generate characters that appear to be right in front of you. It also uses the player’s phone GPS to track where they are and show where Pokemon characters may be.

Who is Playing Pokemon Go?

Before you spend any money on marketing in Pokemon Go it’s important to identify the types of people who might be interested in what your business sells and see if they are the same type of people who play Pokemon Go. We call this process creating personas and it’s one of the first steps in building an effective Intent Marketing Strategy. Personas help improve the likelihood that your marketing campaigns will not just reach lots of people, but reach lots of people who are actually interested in buying what your business sells. So what type of people play Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go Players are Primarily Female around the Ages of 18-29

Photo Courtesy of Nick DeSantis of Forbes

When looking at the demographics of the game, Forbes via SurveyMonkey Intelligence found that the typical Pokemon Go player is a female between the ages of 18-29 that lives in an urban area. To get more specific, 63% of Pokemon Go players are female and 46% of players are in between the ages of 18-29. With this information in mind, we can now begin to see the type of person we can attract to our business with Pokemon Go.

What Businesses Might Benefit from Pokemon Go?

With a young and primarily female audience and the interactive nature of the game, advertising in Pokemon Go would make a lot of sense for businesses such as bars, restaurants, and retail stores. Why? Well these types of businesses rely heavily on foot traffic to generate sales and the longer a customer spends time in the store the more money they spend. Here are a number of easy-to-implement tactics that you can use to get started.

Retail and Grocery Stores – offer a buy one get one free or a catch one get 25% off for people who catch a Pokemon in your store.

Restaurants and Bars – offer a drink or appetizer deal to Pokemon Go players who catch a Pokemon in your store.


Pub 112 in Stillwater, Minnesota offered a flat discount.

Once you are generating more foot traffic start finding ways to keep the Pokemon Go players in your store for longer periods of time. One way to is to capitalize on the fact that playing Pokemon Go for 30 minutes will eat up roughly 20% of the battery on gamers’ phones and offer charging stations. Sure, some gamers will keep their heads burried in their phone, but they’ll still be seeing everything your store has to offer!

Coming Soon: In-App Advertising called Sponsored Locations

Previously, businesses could only hope their stores are located near PokeStops or PokeGyms where gamers flock to catch Pokemon. Soon, businesses will be able to ‘pay to play’ and have their location listed as a “Sponsored Location” in the app. Just how powerful can a Sponsored Location be? Well an article by Mashable describes how a struggling ice cream store in Washington nearly tripled in sales in almost two weeks, just because they were next to a PokeStop.

So what’s this going to cost? Well, Niantic Labs has yet to release much information on the advertising features of Pokemon Go but we do know listing your business as a sponsored location will be done on a cost-per-visit structure. Similar to a cost-per-click model from Google Adwords, businesses will pay for every time a player visits their physical location.

Business Owners Should Keep an Eye on Pokemon Go

With attention quickly shifting away from newspapers, billboards, and TV screens Pokemon Go is a great way to generate more foot traffic to your store. If your business could benefit from including Pokemon Go in your Intent Marketing Strategy but you just don’t have the time to do it, hire someone who does.