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6 Valuable Lessons that Every Business Can Learn from Pokémon Go

Allan Smith, @day2dayfinance
08.02.16
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Pokémon Go is the number 1 mobile app now and the craze around it is showing its huge potential. The game has been wildly popular in the U.S in a less than a day since its launch. According to Similar Web, website traffic statistic website, users are spending more than 10 minutes a day longer on Pokémon Go than on WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat. The app beat even Twitter on number of daily active users.

While your business may not be in the business of making cute little beasties for people to collect and fight, there's no doubt you'd love to be able to tap into some of the same virality and success this already iconic game has seen. So, here are some valuable lessons your business can take away from Pokémon Go.

Apps Bring in Unexpected New Audiences

Pokémon as a franchise has been around for 20 years, in the form of games for Nintendo consoles like the Game Boy and DS, a trading card game, a TV series and movies. However popular as the brand has been since its inception, it was never as widespread a phenomenon as it has become since Pokémon Go launched on Android and iOS. Because everyone has a phone and therefore can easily get the game for free. This is a whole new audience that would not have necessarily gotten interested in the Pokémon brand before. What you can take away from this is that an app can be seen as an efficient way to reach unexpected new audiences.

Social Doesn't Just Mean Social Media

One of the things people are talking about the most since the start of the Pokémon Go craze is how it brings people together. Because the game requires people to go to certain places in the real world, it means all kinds of different people have made new friends or at least had some fun conversations due to meeting other players out and about. The reason this is such a big talking point is that there has been so much focus on online social networking and making the most of the online connections of customers, that this now seems like a new idea – getting people to meet socially in the real world. What you can take away from this is that you can look at your 'social' strategy in a different way, including not only online and social media but also combining things that are social and extending them into the real world. Host a party, go to more trade shows, sponsor live events – whatever you choose, consider that things which bring people together in person and think how you can connect all the people offline and call to action, for example with the help of mobile app.

Cutting-Edge Technology Can Quickly Go Mainstream

Latest technologies are always very powerful in shaping the world. However, it is not easy for companies to be the early adopters in bringing disruptive technologies to the marketplace, but it pays off because the latest technologies usually create lots of buzz and hit big with the global audiences.

The game shows that AR can impact consumer behavior if companies use it correctly — in this case, through the innovative use of AI, geolocation, gamification, and entertainment. "Pokémon Go represents a perfect case when a cutting-edge technology emerges from a niche one to a significant tool that offers businesses a new way to improve customer experiences. Embedding AR into mobile applications is one tactic among many to improve mobile apps in 2016, as long as the experience drives the simplicity, and context that consumers need." says Alex Kharchyshyn, CEO of The App Solutions, US-based app development company.

AR should be treated as an opportunity to improve customer experience and offer new ways to view and buy products. In order to successfully leverage the full potential of AR in your app, the experts from The App Solutions recommend consider using AR in your mobile solution only if you can integrate it into the customer journey and it offers users real advantage. To define and accomplish a major problem of your target audience with the help of the latest technology like AI, ask yourself the following questions: What is the best possible way to show the content of your app to the user? How should the users interact with content and information through all the important touch points of the business and its offerings?

Free Apps Can Be Highly Lucrative

We already know that Pokémon Go has hit the top of the App Store's top-grossing charts. Despite being a free app it's already making more money than any other app there. The game has a freemium business model, which means that users can download and use the app for free but have to make in-app purchases for some premium features, content, or goods. But in order to get profits from a freemium, the app should be really popular, as Phil Libin, Evernote founder said: "The easiest way to get one million people paying is to get one billion people using." It's interesting that Miitomo, Nintendo's previous mobile app also had a freemium monetization model but it failed to be profitable. So, what if the right business conditions for a freemium model to drive revenue faster than any other paid-only model? The secret behind monetization of Pokémon Go is that your behaviour and a lot of the actions you have to do in the game, motivates you to make a payment in a plenty of ways. You are tempted to increase the capture sessions, pay for Incense to make more Pokémon appear outside of the usual spots, Lucky Eggs to boost your XP. Within Go you can pay even for your laziness if you are not willing to do any actions to search for a PokeStop. Engagement is the shortest path to app monetization and if you make the users enjoy an app, they are bound to invest in the paid features.

User Retention Can Be Reached Via Loyalty

An app like Pokémon Go can grab user's attention immediately and increase user involvement by sending timely alerts of nearby Pokémon using push notifications, which is a proven way to retain and engage users. "Integrating push notifications into your app is an efficient tool to easily boost users' loyalty simply by notifying about important updates or special rewards and bonuses awaiting for them", says Alex Kharchyshyn, CEO of The App Solutions. In addition, Pokemon Go app shows how to fulfill users' needs quickly and easily, which is a must for creating a loyalty. While lot of companies try to offer "exceptional" service or tools, according to the research from the authors of The Effortless Experience, the true driver of loyalty is the ease of getting a problem solved. If we look at Pokemon Go app, it focuses on consistently meeting expectations, making the experience smooth, avoiding unpleasant surprises in usage and rewarding the customers for investing money in making in-app purchases.

Success-ready mindset improves your business

Pokémon Go surprised everyone, including its own developers and backers, by growing so quickly and becoming such a massive success. Unfortunately, this meant that the people behind the game were not really prepared, and had to take action to actually limit its initial user base. This meant that people around the world were clamoring for a product they could only find in the US and Australia. Releases in the other parts of the world had to be delayed for several days and even weeks. Additionally, although players have been tolerating the problems, the game suffers from some serious issues due to the server overload. What you can learn from this is that you should have a strategy to cope with a sudden growth, even if you don't expect it. Whether it is making sure your website could cope with an escalation in demand by using cloud hosting or by considering what you will do if an event you plan sees huge demand for tickets, consider what you have to do if huge success actually does come knocking, so you never have to turn people away!

These are some lessons about the phenomenon of this summer, Pokémon Go, that can teach us something new about the business. The app proves that masses love cutting-edge interactive technology, which enhances the real world, has challenging but achievable goals and rewards them. It teaches us to think outside of the existing paradigm of building applications – and there's a lot more businesses can do to engage their customers and increase their loyalty. Silly or not, but Pokémon Go set some more new rules for businesses and they should follow suit.

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