If you’ve been paying attention to the massive number of articles on the topic this week, you’ve likely seen Randy Nelson’s look at the average time spent in the app. Close associates will know that we’ve [lovingly] questioned the validity of Hugh Kimura (SensorTower) public data in the past, but that’s generally been under the context of clients and teams trying to make App Store Optimization decisions without thinking through the problem. We love this article, and we wanted to share our own bit of foot traffic analysis that we think drives this point home.
A few days ago, we stopped by Osaka Ramen just off 3rd Avenue in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood to continue our experiments with Pokémon Go. We found what we believed to be a triumphant explanation of what happens in that 33 minutes, 25 seconds.
If you’re not familiar with the in-game items in Pokémon Go, you’re probably baffled by the 33 minute number. If you are, you’ll know that popular items like Incense (an item that increases the spawn rate of random Pokémon) Lures (an item that increases the spawn rate of rare Pokémon for all players in an area) and Lucky Eggs all have a half-hour timer attached to them.
That suggests that an average play episode involves launching the app, using an item or walking around to a site where an item is being used, playing for the duration of that item and going on to something else.
We stopped by Osaka for lunch, and at 3:14 PM, we dropped a lure at the Bike Windmill Pokéstop off Denver’s 3rd Avenue.
At the time we dropped the lure, there were already three or four players in the area hanging around the intersections. Once we dropped a lure, these players made their way to the spot, engaged with the game for a few minutes and then moved on to another intersection.
As near as we were able to determine, this pattern of stopping by spots while canvassing an area seems to be a popular play style.
In the first five minutes, three men and three women joined the group already touring the area and walked past our Pokéstop before continuing on through the region.
Over the next 10 minutes, five more women and one man stopped for a few moments by our Pokéstop before continuing on their way into one of the shopping centers of restaurants in the area.
As we approached 3:30, we noticed that two families (mothers and early teenage children) also stopped through the general vicinity of the Pokéstop. No stop lasted longer than two or three minutes — about the time it takes to catch a wild Pokémon in the game.
At 3:35, we noticed a woman we had seen before. She was in exercise clothes and circling the block. Each time she passed the PokéStop, she’d pause for two or three minutes, and then carry on her way, phone in hand.
Excluding the players that were already clearly in the area, our Osaka lure attracted 15 people in the time it was active between 3:14 and 3:44.
What we learned was that when you are including a PokéStop in a high traffic area, you’ll likely want to include some element of a promotion that increases staying power. If you don’t give players a reason to stop, they likely won’t — and will instead carry on in their play session.