4 viral marketing lessons from the Pokemon Go craze


If by now you don’t know what Pokemon Go is, you are truly out of touch with digital reality. Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm.

In less than a month it has more daily users than Twitter, longer daily time usage than Facebook and more people flicking their fingers through phone screen than Tinder. The game is undoubtedly the most popular mobile phone activity at the moment.

But how did Niantic, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company do it? What can we learn about going viral from Pokemon Go? I have discovered four things that have been key to Pokemon Go’s viral success.

Build on what people love

Pokemon Go is built on the beloved series Pokemon, which was extremely successful and created in every viewing child a desire to catch ’em all.

Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm

Don’t ignore your past successes in future endeavours, the fact that people loved it before is a good indicator that it is the right direction. To go viral, keeping an ear on what users are saying and showing love for is crucial. That informs of where the heart of the customer lies and therefore becomes the starting point of a viral campaign.

Don’t ignore current trends

Forbes’ Adam Hartung provides a detailed view about how Nintendo won by taking advantage of trends.

Pokemon Go takes advantage of a number of trends; mobile gaming, virtual or augmented reality and social networking. Trends set customer expectations and delivering in line with trends is delivering in line with customer expectations. Therefore, your campaign should incorporate trends (political, economic, technological, etc.) this will amplify its voice and thus get greater responses from people.

Make social a default part of your product

By marketing definitions, viral marketing and word of mouth marketing are almost synonymous.

A key difference is that viral marketing is compounded information sharing. To go viral, it is pivotal that social is a default part of the campaign. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Pokemon Go’s marketing budget was thus far just spent on the trailer. The game has grown by word of mouth.

I found out about the game on Facebook when a friend shared that he was playing it. Whether, the social aspect is built into the product or is happening outside of the product, social is a must to going viral.

Be exciting and different

There is a global excitement about Pokemon Go. People are literally crazy about this game.

If people don’t feel emotions towards your product or campaign, then they won’t spend time on it, neither will they share it. Even if they do like it, it might trend for a short while on Twitter but, it likely won’t last long.

To go viral, being different is key. Borrow ideas from other industries. The Pokemon Go gaming approach and technology is not a new invention — every aspect of the game has existed for years, it was just re-packaged for Pokemon Go.

Give this lessons a try. Go head and trend.

For more Pokemon Go articles, including how to install, play and understand the game, head on over to Gearburn.

Feature image: Ricardo 清介 八木 via Flickr



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