We’ve been loving the Pokemon GO phenomenon here at Localytics. As Product Manager Yoni Samlan put it, “The bond between a man and his Charizard is sacred.” And it’s not (just) because we’ve always dreamed about being surrounded by adorable Japanese monsters.

We’re excited because it means the public’s ready for user-based location engagement on a really wide scale. Even the people who may have hesitated a little while ago are taking the leap, thanks to all-powerful FOMO. As an industry, we have the chance to realize the full potential of mobile: merging the digital and physical spaces to create as legendary an experience as finally catching Mewtwo.

The Background

Pokemon Go is an augmented reality app that has users tracking and finding Pokemon out in their own neighborhoods. Augmented reality apps merge your physical location with the in-app experience–in Pokemon Go, that’s hunting Pokemon. A few years back, plenty of people called the tracking needed to make this happen “creepy.” Now, mobile’s evolution has created a shift in perception that means users expect apps to tailor interactions to their whereabouts. (I.e., Uber, Facebook, and Snapchat.) And it’s it’s big part of why Nintendo’s market value went up over $7 billion overnight, and why Pokemon Go is already the #1 free app on both Android and iPhone.


What it Means for Marketers Like You

Your users–and the users you want to reach–are ready for a mobile experience that integrates with their digital and physical worlds. If it’s the right experience, that is.

1. Mobile’s capabilities are a wellspring of potential for your app
Pokemon Go is a perfect example of what happens when apps think outside the box and take advantage of everything mobile can do.

Ask yourself:

  • How can my app use cameras, GPS, fingerprint scanners, NFC, and Bluetooth?
  • Can I take advantage of the fact that users always have their mobile devices on them?
  • Am I personalizing my app and the way we engage users based on information like a user’s current location?

2. Community is key
Pokemon Go is an inherently social experience, and the proof is all over the internet. Sharing screenshots of the Pokemon they’re finding on social media helps users connect with each other, and reinforce that the game’s worth playing. The competitive piece–how many Pokemon you catch, points you earn, and battles you win–also connects players, and keeps them coming back.

Incorporating a sense of community in your app will not only lend nicely to organic promotion, but it will keep users engaged longer.


“You talk to your friends about what milestone you hit, what Pokemon you caught, etc. Even though the app itself isn’t that social, the overall experience is.”-Randy Dailey, Director, Product Strategy & Insights

3. A little nostalgia doesn’t hurt
It may not end up being a critical part of your mobile strategy, but the childhood nostalgia associated with Pokemon (and taking over the internet in general) has pushed user adoption, too. The first Pokemon fans are now adults with the interest and the resources to be active, engaged users.

“Pokemon Go’s magic comes from combining nostalgia with modern-day tech. I feel like I’m on the school bus in 6th grade all over again, watching kids obsessively trade Pokemon cards. But this time, it’s all over the streets of Boston.”-Justina Perro, Senior Content Marketing Manager

So Take Notes, Marketers

Just like Pokemon Go users love finding Pokemon out in their world, your users like targeted content from the brands they care about in theirs.

And everyone playing–have fun. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open. The Blastoise in the lake near your house isn’t worth any of the mishaps we’re hearing about out there.

Tell us: What kind of influence do you think Pokemon Go will have on app marketing? At the very least, what was your favorite catch?