How Pokémon GO Can Benefit Ag

by Katie Hayward
July 28, 2016

As Pokémon GO continues to grow into a cultural phenomenon, and other similar apps develop, you should be prepared to capitalize on potential user engagement that aligns with your target audience.

While the app was only released on July 6, 2016, the unprecedented response from smartphone owners of all demographics is undeniable. As the stats increase by the minute, SurveyMonkey has crowned it “the biggest mobile game in U.S. history.”

Do a quick Google search and you’ll see that, right now, Pokémon GO sees more engagement than Facebook and surpasses Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and (very soon, if not already) Google Maps in daily active users.

Great, it’s a big deal and it might apply to my business—even in ag—but…

What is Pokémon GO?

It’s an augmented reality exploration game. Got it?

Here is a 1:30 video on Yahoo Tech to explain it.

Essentially, it’s a game on your phone that makes you get up and go outside (to landmarks, parks, that cul-de-sac in your neighborhood, etc.) and catch Pokémon in the real world.

As you walk around, your smartphone vibrates to let you know you are near a Pokémon. Then you touch your screen and throw a Poké Ball to capture it. You can catch Pokémon anywhere, just walking around—yes, even in a cornfield!

You go to PokéStops (those landmarks I mentioned) to accumulate more Poké Balls and other important stuff, and you eventually level-up and are able to battle other Pokémon in Gyms (which are also landmarks, etc.).

Who is using it?

Twenty-one million users if you ask SurveyMonkey, but that number is inflating faster than a pony balloon at a princess party.

That includes (of course) kids—but also a lot of adults!

Vox.com reported that more than 40 percent of adults who have downloaded the app are 25 or older, and one in three adult users are women! Like…Hillary Clinton, for instance. (Vox also has a video to help explain the app, if you’re still lost.)

We don’t have any specific data on the ag sector just yet, and the data would be volatile at this point even if we did—but, we can say this is big. The current stats certainly support the idea that a large quantity of 4-H kids are playing this game right now and, apparently, even some of their parents.

Here’s a great article from Wallaces Farmer, written by Mindy Ward (a farmer). It’s titled: 5 reasons Pokémon GO is good for farmers.

Take some time to read her perspective; it’s refreshing! But here are her boiled-down top five reasons that this app is good news for ag:

  1. Consumers visit farm country
  2. Consumers interact with crops
  3. Consumers learn about raising animals
  4. Consumers may meet a farmer
  5. Consumers will see farmers are tech savvy

All good reasons to jump on board the Pokémon GO train, or at least understand it for our industry’s sake.

Can ag capitalize on Pokémon GO?

Given the app’s extremely broad target demographic, the location targeting aspect of the app and the social requirements—yes, everyone can!

This article from Dealers United outlines how to use Pokémon GO to Ramp Up Dealership Floor Traffic:

  1. Check your dealership’s proximity to PokéStops and Gyms
  2. Bring in even more shoppers with lure modules
  3. Take advantage of Gyms and the app’s team rivalries
  4. Talk the talk (Here they suggest using your owned media channels to get people in. For example, “Get $xx off if you’re Team Mystic! Or, we’re swarming with Pokémon!”—hey, if it works, it works—and Paulsen has a lot of great ideas!)

There are certainly opportunities to entice your target audience with special deals based on the game. Perhaps they get a certain percent off if they show you a picture of capturing a Pokémon on your property.

Perhaps you hold a Pokémon event to simply raise awareness about ag. Incorporate it into 4-H events you sponsor to appeal to your next generation of buyers.

Find PokéStops and Gyms near your business and place marketing materials at the site.

There is no shame in harnessing the power of an epic cultural phenomenon. And it might be good to start now, because as we all know, technology isn’t going backwards. This type of app will only grow and evolve.

Can you simply buy advertising space on the app now?

Not yet, but very soon.

According to the New York Times, John Hanke, Niantic’s chief executive, has confirmed that the company will be announcing details about sponsored locations inside Pokémon GO in the near future.

At Paulsen, we employ a team of digital and content innovation masters. If you’re interested in discussing how the most popular app in the history of the U.S. and your business objectives might line up, we’d love to have a discussion—let’s get “Going!”

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