As some may say, Pokémon Go motivated more American kids to get off the couch in one week than the last seven years of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. Even though these kids are glued to their phones, they are actually going outside and walking around! American kids exercising at their own free will – what is happening to the world?  The mobile application has taken over the nation as one of the most viral applications of all time. In fact, the number of active daily users on Pokémon Go has topped Twitter and sees more engagement than Facebook!

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So what is so special about Pokémon Go and how is it surpassing powerful social media tools? Well, the app uses location-based augmented reality to engage users into capturing, training and battling virtual Pokémon that appear in real-world settings. As a player travels throughout the real world, the player’s avatar moves along the game’s map to find Pokémon near the player’s location. Pokémon show up on the player’s screen in real settings where players can capture them with Pokéballs. Sounds fun right? Yes, but warning: it’s highly addictive to “Catch them all.”

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The images above show what the game looks like from the user’s perspective. The far left represents the real-life augmented reality and middle and right screens show the virtual maps.

Since the game uses augmented reality, it is engaging users with the technology of both the real and virtual world of the game in one place. Many establishments have seen a boost in business, especially in walking-accessible cities like NYC and Chicago. Niantic, the company that created the game, wants to offer businesses an even more powerful method of bringing new customers into businesses through Pokémon Go. Soon establishments will be able to become “sponsored” spots in the game that will drive sales and traffic even further. These businesses would pay the company to become locations within the virtual game board with the promise of more foot traffic.

The high engagement level of the game has advertisers interested as a perfect place to target their audience. When locations are sponsored on the game, advertisers could pay per visit, similar to the pay per click on Google’s search ads. The potential for paid advertising that encourage players to visit a business or store is a huge opportunity! More details will be coming soon from Niantic, so keep a look out for new advertising opportunities within the interactive app. Whoever would have thought that Pokémon would become a phenomenon twenty years after the first game on Gameboy was released!

P.S. Plus they show up in funny places too!

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