Pokemon Go and Mobile Advertising by Adam KidanSince it launched last month, everybody has been talking about Pokemon Go.  Combining an addictive gameplay with a pop culture icon, it has shattered downloading and revenue records, overtaking all sorts of breakout mobile hits.  While the game has been prompting developers to further explore location-based gameplay, Pokemon Go could also affect how we buy and sell mobile ads.  

From a mobile marketer’s perspective, data and scale make Pokemon Go a unique piece of IP.  If you can take the tens of millions of players in the game, layer in their location data and then add the ability to drive them to real-world places, then you’ll have a gold mine.  Smaller businesses have already been capitalizing on the increased traffic from being near Pokestops, but an in-game mission to collect rare Pokemon at a bigger business could generate untold billions.  Across the ocean in Japan, brands have already been partnering with Nintendo.  While advertisers have had access to location-based products for a while now, Pokemon Go’s ability to get people outside with a specific purpose in mind creates a unique opportunity to drive traffic without additional infrastructure.  Mobile games and apps with location-based mechanics will most likely become far more attractive to retailers as potential partners in the near future.

Gameplay stats from Pokemon Go make it clear that people are spending huge amounts of time with the app.  Yet most mobile games get players to invest even higher levels of time and attention.  As players spend so much active, engaged time, mobile games are becoming a unique place for advertisers to create branded experiences to provide value to players, such as product placement opportunities and custom missions and rewards.  

The potential for real-world retail campaigns and custom brand integrations are examples of just two ways that Pokemon Go has made immersive mobile ad experiences more attractive.  Yet not all marketers have the budgets or resources to create such complex in-game integrations.  Mobile games get millions of players to invest significant amounts of time, creating unprecedented scale.  With just a 15- or 30-second spot, advertisers can access that scale.  Considering that programmatic options for in-app mobile video campaigns have continued to explode, Pokemon Go and similar games are quickly becoming scalable mediums for both brand and performance advertisers.  While mobile games have always had this scale and potential, it’s only now that people realize it.

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