Pokemon Go’s stunning success is just the blockbuster hit augmented reality needed for the technology to gain widespread mainstream awareness. If you’re ignoring the buzz, here’s the official trailer for the game to get you up to speed:
According to Survey Monkey data, Pokemon Go has surpassed Google Maps in daily active users:
And app analytics firm SensorTower reports that people are spending more time playing Pokemon Go than they spend on Facebook, by a wide margin: 33 minutes for Pokemon Go compared to 22 minutes for Facebook.
But if you’ve been playing the game, you don’t need these stats to tell you it is popular. The company’s servers have been getting overloaded with the burden of the app’s success:
Despite the growing pains, developer Niantic and Nintendo have been raking in the cash from in-app purchases and expects that revenue to grow. Worldwide revenue for in-app purchases is expected to hit $58.2 billion this year and rocket to $76.5 billion in 2017, MarketWatch reports.
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Augmented Reality Advertising
Niantic won’t rely solely on in-app purchases for revenue. The company has an advertising model in place, Engadget reports:
Sponsorships make a lot of sense for Pokémon Go, because retailers are already paying to set Pokéstop “lures” to draw players. Also, Niantic is familiar with the concept thanks to its other AR game, Ingress. With that app, sponsors like Duane Reade pharmacies in the US and Vodafone in Germany pay to turn their locations into “portals,” drawing extra foot traffic. With Pokémon Go, advertisers would be charged for every customer visiting a store, as confirmed by the app.
Unlike most apps that skyrocket to success, Niantic has the monetization infrastructure already in place, not just for in-app purchases but for advertising as well. That should not surprise when you consider that the company was spun off from Google in the wake of its reorganization as Alphabet and has received funding from Alphabet.
The sponsorship revenue model will charge advertisers on a cost-per-visit basis, much like the Google AdWords cost-per-click model, so it is likely Niantic will give advertisers a self-serve tool through which to buy sponsorships. It appears McDonald’s is locked and loaded for a sponsorship rollout in the Japanese market, according to Forbes.
“From a marketing perspective, Pokemon Go could be a great tool for anyone who needs to draw people to their location,” said David Erickson, vice president of online marketing at the Minneapolis-based public relations agency Karwoski & Courage.
“In this respect, Pokemon Go is a much more engaging version of Foursquare,” the once-popular social app that encouraged its users to “check in” at physical locations, Erickson said.
But, for businesses looking to tap into Pokemon Go, “The trick will be whether (their) marketers are sophisticated enough,” he added. This, he said, partly involves “targeting the right audience with the right offer to convert them into customers” once they come in the door on creature hunts.
Augmented Reality Is Nothing New
While augmented reality may seem like new technology to the hordes of Pokemon Go players, programmers and marketers have been experimenting with the idea for years. The first time I remember encountering the idea was in the Terminator movies, which illustrated Terminator Vision, which augmented reality with data:
16 Augmented Reality Examples
Here are 16 examples of augmented reality to help marketers, advertisers and public relations professionals think about how the technology could be used.
1) WordLens/Google Translate App
A very cool and practical application of augmented reality is the WordLens app, which translated a foreign language in real time simply by pointing your camera phone at the language you wanted to translate. The app was subsequently bought by Google and incorporated into its own Google Translate app:
2) IKEA’s Furniture App
IKEA has an app that allows you to see what the company’s furniture will look like in your own home.
3) Rayban Virtual Sunglasses Webcam App
Rayban developed an app that uses your webcam to allow you to try on virtual sunglasses.
4) Boeing Pilots Google Glass
Remember Google Glass? Despite its rather public failure as a consumer device, Google Glass lives on as a tool for the enterprise. According to this report from CIO, Aerospace giant Boeing recently completed a successful Google Glass pilot, reducing production time of aircraft ‘wire harnesses’ and chopping related error rates in half. The company also says it is ‘very close’ to launching a live smartglass system.
5) Extend Print Article With Interactive Augmented Reality
Here’s an example that would work as either an interactive print ad or as an extension of an actual magazine article.
6) Augmented Reality Proposal
Similarly, augmented reality could be used to add some sizzle and literally another dimension to a proposal or presentation.
7) Augmented Reality Product Packaging
Attach an augmented reality experience to product packaging. This could include how-to information for complex products.
8) Industrial Applications Of Augmented Reality
This video shows how augmented reality can be used in industrial situations.
9) Augmented Reality Museum Tours
In this example, augmented reality is used to animate 100 year old dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History.
10) Augmented Reality Tourism App
This app developed for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust uses augmented reality to highlight places of interest in Shakespeare’s England.
11) Augmented Reality Cinema
This is kind of a cool idea: Using augmented reality to play scenes from movies when you point your camera at the landmark in the real world at which they were shot.
12) Augmented Reality Coloring Books
Disney is experimenting with an augmented reality app to bring children’s coloring books to life.
13) Augmented Reality Fitting Room
This kiosk at Topshop uses Microsoft’s Kinect to allow customer’s to virtually try on clothing to see how it would look on them without having to take the time to undress and dress in a fitting room.
14) Microsoft’s Augmented Reality Product: HoloLens
Microsoft is developing a consumer augmented reality product called HoloLens.
15) Amazon Dash Buttons
Augmented reality isn’t limited to overlaying data or imagery onto the real world with a camera. The idea is to augment reality, so anything that extends reality should qualify. In that sense, then, Amazon Dash buttons quality as augmented reality because they put purchase capabilities anywhere in physical space.
16) Augmented Reality For Hearing
Similarly, Doppler Labs is developing a product called Here One that augments hearing by allowing you to filter out certain frequencies to make it easier to follow conversations at loud parties or bars, for example.
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