Breaking the mould – how Pokémon Go is bucking the trend in marketing mobile apps

Apps have become an integral part of our lifestyle. With the advent of smartphones, we have become more dependent on apps that help us do multiple things at the same time remotely. We can access personal and financial accounts, play games, find information, shop and book seats in advance and so much more. However, with so many apps being launched on a daily basis, it becomes harder for companies to attract a large audience that would download and install the app and use it.

To make apps popular, app developers and developing firms have to go through a marketing regime to reach out to the target audience and ensure that the app is a global hit and there are millions of downloads happening.

We’ve all heard of the augmented reality and have seen few samples of it at various conventions and shows, but never before augmented reality have been used in a game as in Pokémon Go. If you are connected with the world, by now you already know what Pokémon Go is, or you at least have heard of it and have read the news of how this augmented reality game has spread like wildfire. The virality of the game has been making news all over the globe as scores of users are downloading and playing the game in groups. The game is available for download on Android and iOS store and has been attracting news for good and bad reasons. Pokémon Go has also dominated the social media feeds as everyone has something to say about it.

In normal circumstances, app developers and marketers usually focus on certain aspects that can allow them to push their mobile game in the market.

    Advertise on Social Media – Social media sites are booming and many app developers and marketing firms believe that these social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is the best platform available. The word of mouth publicity can spread like a wildfire and make any app game an instant hit.
    Advertise on various platforms – Apart from the social media sites, there are many other sites where app developers and marketing firms can advertise their apps like Spotify. By capitalizing on word-of-mouth publicity Spotify can help app owners to stand out in the competition in a better way.
    Focus on the Niche Market – It is hard to target a larger audience, but initially app owners can target the niche audience that will be interested in playing games. Targeting certain fraternities and groups in the initial phase can later turn into a mass advertisement as people spread messages about the new app on WhatsApp and other group sites and social networking sites.
    Brand Ambassadors – Many app owners also focus on brand ambassadors that become the voice of their app and this also is a good strategy for promoting the app during its launch.

How Pokemon Go has disrupted the traditional mobile marketing regime?

While all this seems good, these are just standard marketing strategies that app owners, developers, and marketing firms go through. It is said that a heavy and big digital marketing is a must to ensure the success of any app in the Play Store or iOS Store. However, it is quite unique that Niantic Labs, the makers of the game, in partnership with Nintendo and Pokémon Company has done very little digital marketing to achieve this humongous breakthrough.

Pokémon Go has become a top-grossing app on iOS within a day of its U.S. release and it also achieved the same reputation on the Google Play Store as well. At the moment the makers have released the app in the United States, Australia and New Zealand only and the kind of response that the game is receiving is phenomenal. The biggest marketing lessons that we learn from Pokémon Go is that you don’t need a weighty ad campaign that you cram it down the throats of the users.

While Niantic Labs have not been aggressive about their marketing, it doesn’t mean that they won’t do it in the future. This augmented reality gaming app has become more popular than porn in recent times and is quickly gaining popularity in new countries as the game releases in different countries. Niantic Labs might not have gone ahead with aggressive marketing, but they have relied heavily on the convincing power of the social media and the word-of-mouth publicity.

Also, they launched the game at the right time during the summer season making it easier for the kids and adults to take some time out for a walk and enjoy the game. Since it involves outdoor activity the game would be a disaster if it had been launched in the cold wintry months. Niantic has already made an announcement that location sponsorship opportunities will be made available somewhere down the road which takes advantage of the mapping technology and augmented reality features in the game.

Is this a trend? Or an outlier?

Pokémon Go has already captured the attention of millions of gamers that have become loyal trainers in countries where it has been released officially. However, it has also shattered various marketing trends and has revived the dying augmented reality industry like never before. The gaming app has managed to capture the attention of the gamers with very little marketing and this indicates that any new games or apps don’t need ‘big digital marketing’ campaign, but instead a ‘right marketing’ campaign that can allow any game or app to achieve a cult status. At StratAgile, we combine business, data, technology and intelligence to create strategic frameworks and help in creating meaningful relationships between your brands, consumers, and partners. We also handle end-to-end offline and online marketing to allow you have an integrated digital experience.