Pokemon Go, Ads and the Future of Everything

Pokemon go would go down in histories: the history of mobile, the history of gaming, the history of AR and the history of advertising. It will go down in every history possible.

With an adoption rate that can only be described as meteoric, it is the killer app of AR mobile gaming, a case study in user engagement and acquisition.

Pokemon go’s popularity might fade, or reach an asymptote, then taken for granted as the new normal. Whatever the case, the changes to the ad industry, and many other industries, will be profound.

Mobile applications and game are getting increasingly more sophisticated, using a much broader range and more accurate data. On the cusp of this transformative moment, are a few lessons.


Go mobile or go home

In the big war between apps and mobile web, apps won. Going mobile mean going in-app, especially for ad networks.

A recent MIS report found that click-through on apps was between 1.3 times to twice as high as mobile web click-through.

Pokemon Go demonstrated the power of a well executed mobile app, and the power of mobile gaming and entertainment. This chart, taken from Mobile First Insights – Global – 2016 Q1 is a clear testimony of this trend. Advertising campaigns running in these top categories are seeing higher levels of engagement than any other, and in many cases, higher conversions as well. Ad networks should double down on apps.

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The traditional game monetization methods of subscription and in app purchases, are beginning to seem outdated with these recent developments. In the case of Pokemon Go It is still not entirely clear how it will Monetize. The company announced it will launch sponsored locations, which does not give ad networks much to work with. However, location-based ads are customary in apps such as Waze. The rise of mobile AR, will increase the prevalence of such offering and more.

Even if Pokemon Go will not add other types of in app advertising, other mobile game that will follow it footsteps probably will.  It might be time to shift some ad dollars. It is for sure the time to experiment with AR ad offerings.

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Bridging the online / offline gap

This has been the holy grail of consumer tech since the dawn of the iPhone. Brands coveted a continuous data stream connecting data consumer leave online to their offline lives.

As millennial matured in the world created by Steve Jobs, consumers coveted that as well. The disconnect between the personalization power of Amazon’s Algorithms and the user experience of shopping at Macy’s was too much to bear.

Pokemon Go’s wild success is partially attributed to the fact that the game was the first product to successfully bridge the online-offline world. Preceding Pokemon Go, were other games, such as Angry Birds, which was the first game to use the phone’s data, performing as the harbinger of AR and the potential of interactive mobile games.   Pokemon Go has taken thing one step farther combining the digital and real world experience in a holistic way, creating a seamless experience.   As the technology evolves game developers are using more functions; what started as just a few simple clicks has now evolved to accurate location based AR gaming experience.

Bridging the online/offline gap also means creating better omni channel advertising solutions, including better tracking of user across platform.

When the ad industry adapts itself to the post Pokemon Go world, it needs to keep in mind that offering relevant ads that convert users, means taking into account his offline life as well. This might mean developing new technologies, or better using existing ones, already in our phones.


User expectations call for relevance and personalization. The ad industry will need to up its game in order to increase ad relevance. Aggregation and statistics might not cut it in anymore.



  Dalia Mountwitten is VP client service at dmg

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