On Pokémon Go For Fun And Profit
For the non-marketer, our obsession over ROI is baffling. The truth is, it’s rather confusing to us, as well. Most ROI calculations aren’t particularly complex. Measure the number of people who could take an action. Measure the number of people who did take that action. Measure the impact of their behavior. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
Of course this assumes that your business has a working understanding of each step of your sales cycle. The only way you can know the value of an action like a page like, is to understand what percentage of people who like your page move on to the next step of the process. Not all teams have invested the resources necessary to collect the data needed to have access to these insights. If you’re working on a team in that situation, you’re likely no stranger to basing your marketing decisions on statistical inference.
If you’re not a marketer, that probably all sounded like applesauce, but we hope you’re still with us, because this article is for you.
See, the truth is that the best companies with the savviest people have been working tirelessly to figure out how to convince the people they work with that real people are tired of scammy advertising. (Members of our team included!)
We know that people think marketers ruin everything. At S&T, we believe that bad marketers ruin everything — and it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. Good advertising is supposed to be fun. It’s a company’s chance to show off personality, and forgetting that has become all too common in our industry.
When we first learned of businesses using Pokemon lures to draw foot traffic, that’s what we saw. A way to share real fun with the people who support the teams we work to support.
So we aren’t going to start releasing our data by talking about the numbers or the conversion rates or any of the other things that marketers talk about amongst themselves. (Don’t get us wrong, we’re working to release real data, and you’re welcome to even help us out here.)
But we feel like we have an obligation to our team mates playing the game. That’s why we’re going to start by talking about an activity no business would ever support — gatherings in public places.
We conducted two experiments in popular gathering places in Denver.
On Saturday, June 9th at 3:50 we made our way to Denver’s scenic Cheesman Park. We dropped out first lure at 3:55.
In the first five minutes, players who were already in the park, began to congregate towards the site we had dropped out pin at. Four players found the lure immediately and made their way to the site.
A migration of any number of people across a park, is likely to attract attention, and by 4:15, we had 12 people gathered around the Cheesman Park Gazebo.
At 4:17, two other people happened on our scene. At 4:24 five more showed up. (That’s a total of 19.)
We were surprised by this as our lure ran out at 4:25. We left for our next site before we could see how many players hung around, but we had a great idea.
What if a higher density of lures was more likely to gather a crowd?
On his way back from the office last night, our Creative Director noticed that a few players had placed a lure at the footsteps of the Colorado Capitol. Our whole team has been fired up about this project for some time, and so recognizing the opportunity to test our Cheesman hypothesis, Karl set about mining the Capitol building. At 9:09 all 7 Pokestops on the grounds had a lure.
Because of the size of the turf, we weren’t able to collect data down to the five minute interval level, and instead were forced to continually canvas the site.
From 9:09 to 9:49, we counted 58 people on the grounds of the Capitol.
At 9:49 when our Lure spread ran out, we were amazed to discover that two other players had dropped lure chips of their own to replace the two that had expired in front of the Capitol building. By 9:53, three chips had been dropped to replace the chips that had expired at the back of the capitol building.
That’s what we advertisers call viral engagement. It’s usually a good sign. It means that people are actually interested in the thing we’re doing, and they’re sharing that enthusiasm with the people around them.
After that drop, we counted an additional 9 players that were drawn onto the scene. Lures were once again replaced by the community of players at 10:12, and at 10:31 we noticed 8 more players had joined the throng.
When the lures finally wore off at 10:55, we witnessed some 75 players make their way off the capitol grounds.
So, what’s the take away?
If you’re a player looking for people to play with, look for sites with a higher density of lures. If you’re looking to start a scene, you can easily do so with 1–7$ worth of lures, depending on where you’re playing.
If you drop a single lure in a site where people are already playing the game, you’ll likely concentrate those players in that area — like we found at Cheesman Park.
If you’re looking to get a gathering of a ton of people together, you’ll need to drop your lures in an area that people can easily get to. By creating a destination event, you’ll give people a reason to venture out and see what’s going on. Parts of town that have a high density of Pokéstops are a great candidate for this!
We think it’s important to remember that the point of a game is to be fun, and the point of a brand engaging with a game isn’t to sell the product. Get out there, and catch them all.
Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing more advertiser friendly selected findings from our experiments. We hope you’ll join us!