A Snapshot of Pokémon Go’s Marketing Success

Look… it’s a Pikachu!

It’s been nearly three weeks now and the Pokémon Go phenomenon is still hot, but data is alluding that it may have reached its peak in the US. Despite all the bugs (calm down, there’s no Caterpies or Weedles in the area), Pokémon Go is still the talk of the town and continues to grow in other markets. How has an app with repeated server crashes, glitches and lag continue to be successful?

Here are the 3 things that were crucial to Pokémon Go’s marketing victories:

1. Country Roll-Outs

Pokémon Go was exclusive to a select few countries and this was vital in its initial release. Canadians and other countries had a full-case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it launched first in the US, Australia and New Zealand. They went through leaps and bounds to gain early access. This built-up anticipation when it officially rolled out to their countries — creating another surge of excitement (and server crashes) starting from the bottom up.

2. Crowd-Mentality Community Gaming

Individuals are more willing and compelled to stand around and catch Pokémon in a crowd, which removes the awkwardness of being in an AR universe. This has built pockets in normally quiet communities, creating a pseudo-nightlife. With a community-centric game, the server crashes were felt by everyone. Although frustrated, individuals took to Facebook and Twitter to voice those frustrations, which continued the indirect advertising cycle.

3. Nostalgia

Lastly, it’s all about nostalgia. Niantic already had similar location-based apps, such as Field Trip and the AR-driven Ingress that didn’t have the same virality as Pokémon Go. The key is they brought back what speaks to a huge Millennial population. You’ll find mostly 18 to 34 year-old adults hovering around PokéStops. Anyone outside this age group has missed the craze and even if they still play it, won’t have the same die-hard obsession. They’ll never understand why Butterfree is impossible to catch…

That moment when you had to let Butterfree go…

Final Thoughts: If your venue or retail outlet is a PokéStop, make sure that any marketing opportunities are still a part of your overall brand positioning and that you can pivot once the hype plateaus. For now, Pokémon Go is still trending and trainers are still on a mission where they Gotta Catch ’Em All.