While most prospective clients eagerly look forward to settling into their new homes. many find the process of house-buying a tedious chore. To overcome resistance to the house-buying process, savvy agents can “gamify” the process of home buying by incorporating Pokémon Go into the selling and showing process, using a popular game to draw potential buyers to open houses and model homes. With some 30 million daily users, Pokémon Go represents a large potential audience. Even more importantly, it is a place to start incorporating gamification, augmented reality, and virtual reality into your marketing strategies as these trends grow in importance.
What is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a recent fad with old roots. Pokémon started out the 1990s as a console game for the Nintendo GameBoy that went viral, spawning a vast franchise including cartoons, movies, and a trading card game. While retaining a devoted following, it remained a niche product in the new millennium until Niantic, a Google internal startup, paired up with Nintendo to release Pokémon Go in the summer of 2016, hitting a peak of some 50 million users in July 2016, and appearing to stabilize at some 30 million users as of October 2016.
Why Pokémon Go Can Drive Sales
What makes this game relevant to real estate marketing is that it pioneers what is sometimes termed “augmented reality”, in which game elements are located in actual places in the real world. To succeed in Pokémon Go, a player must travel to fixed geographical locations in order to play the game by catching creatures or engaging in virtual battles on their phones. You can either take advantage of existing game locations or by working with Niantic, you can create Pokémon Go game elements near properties you want to show, attracting more potential buyers to view your listings.
How to Boost Traffic with Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go won’t sell a house all on its own, but it may increase visitors to model homes or open houses. There are a few different strategies you can use to incorporate the game into your marketing strategy:
1. Maximize Existing Pokémon Go Locations: The Pokémon Go world contains two types of location: PokéStops and Pokémon gyms. These are predefined by the developer. If one of these locations already exists near a property you are listing, you can purchase inexpensive “lures” to attract more players to the area or host various sorts of tournaments or other game events at the locations. You can also reach out on social media to boost posts about properties mentioning nearby game locations to players in appropriate market segments.
2. Requesting Pokémon Go Locations: You can request that a new Pokémon Go location be placed near a property for free by using the Niantic request form: https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=319928.
3. Focus on Communities: The best way to use Pokémon Go is not for individual listings but for larger developments, where your aim is to build awareness of the development as a whole by drawing people to a general location.
Limitations and Caveats
Pokémon Go and other augmented reality strategies may be useful parts of a marketing campaign, but they should be used with caution. First, fads don’t always have staying power. Pokémon Go participation has already peaked and if numbers continue to decline, you should be watching for other, newer augmented reality opportunities. Next, more than 60 percent of players are under the age of thirty, and so, while it may reach younger buyers looking for starter homes, it may not be the best way to reach older buyers. Finally, you should consider whether having players wandering near a property would be a negative for some buyers; while it might appeal to families with children, older buyers might have concerns about noise or vandalism.
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