Technology

How location-based marketing led us to Pokémon Go for real estate

Learn how to use the popular mobile app for your business
  • Technology is changing the way marketing, communication and life occur on a daily basis.
  • Location-based marketing began in 1986 when QR codes were first used.
  • Many businesses provide discounts and promotions to Pokemon Go players, which provides an opportunity for cross promotion.
  • Agents can highlight Pokemon Gyms or Pokestops near their listings to drive virtual curb appeal.

Don't miss Hacker Connect SF
Take a deep real estate technology dive, Aug 7, 2017

Pokémon Go is the hottest mobile gaming app on the market, and it only came out in July in the United States. In addition to shattering records for users, downloads and participation, it heralds some major progress in the fields of technologies surrounding geolocation, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Which means it can teach valuable lessons for location-based marketing, especially in the real estate and multi-housing industries.

Location-based marketing is not a new concept. For as long as the internet has meant being found globally, it has also had marketers trying to focus on using the internet and technology to reach the immediate surroundings of the object they are marketing.

QR codes

It began as early as 1986 when QR codes were first used to connect a physical object to the internet. Fed-Ex was the first company to utilize QR codes in large quantities to track packages.

QR codes have served real estate agents in connecting the users from a physical location such as a brochure, yard sign or print listing to information housed online.

Social media

The continued sophistication of mobile devices and GPS location services allowed another huge step forward when social media platforms such as Foursquare and Yelp allowed users to interact with businesses at certain map coordinates through their mobile devices.

Foursquare was the first social media platform to allow business owners to engage directly with the users that had identified themselves to be in their business location and to reach others nearby their physical location with offers, specials, discounts and more. Real estate agents and homeowners are able to use the platform for the same purpose.

Augmented reality

In 2009, the company Layar introduced the first augmented reality-based browser. This pioneering company allowed you to walk through your world with your mobile device and see information overlaid on the screen based upon the “layars” you selected.

For example, if you had the Twitter Layar, after the baseball game, you could stand outside the stadium, open the app and look around to see where all your Twitter friends were grabbing a beverage. The user experience wasn’t always the best, which leads us to the breakthrough of Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go, created by Niantic, a spinoff of Google’s Alphabet Division, leverages GPS and overlays the augmented reality pieces in the form of a well-designed game featuring iconic characters that have a multi-generational appeal.

Top that off with an acclaimed user experience, and you have the perfect storm. It’s easy to see how this app has exploded onto the scene.

The game actually pushes people to interact in the physical world around them, unlike many video games that encourage sedentary behavior, it is the latest iteration of an Exergame from the Nintendo Company.

Nintendo has had a long-running relationship with creating games that promote exercise since they debuted the Power Pad exercising attachment for the Nintendo system in 1987.

It helps that the game utilizes many local parks, places of interest and highly trafficked areas as prime game locations, which also means it is highlighting many of the amenities that make neighborhoods and communities great.

This has piqued the interest of businesses and real estate agents all over. The opportunities to tie in a specific location to the popular game are limited only by your creativity.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

First is the powerful hashtag effect. Attaching the location, you are trying to promote to the Pokémon Go related hashtags will help you include your location in the discussion.

Because the game relies on real world locations, you can take a look at your location in the game and see what “virtual amenities” you can find to help drive your virtual curb appeal. Close to Pokestops or Pokémon Gyms? Call that out.

Want to attract people to visit? Virtual Lures to attract Pokémon can be purchased in the game for a minimal fee (less than a dollar in most rewards packages). The lure draws Pokémon in the game to that location, and that increases the chance more Pokemon hunters will head your way to capture them.

Many businesses and restaurants are offering discounts and special promotions to those playing the game. This provides an opportunity for cross promotion and highlighting local businesses that make your location an attractive one.

The fact that this game is entirely limited to mobile devices also allows for other location-based technology to come into play.

Beacons are Bluetooth broadcasting devices that can be placed in a location, and they broadcast to a small field, to the Bluetooth receptors on cellphones.

The information that can be sent and received from them is limitless. You can provide listing information, websites and so much more, as well as gather information on when the person was by the beacon.

Technology is changing the way marketing, communication and life occur on a daily basis. These technologies are extremely important to millennials, who will be the dominant buying force in the marketplace by as early as 2018.

You can embrace or ignore technology at your own risk, but as the location-based technology continues to evolve and expand, if you ignore it, you might lose your chance to capture attention, much less any Pokémon.

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis. You can follow him on Twitter.

Email Brandon Doyle.