What Was Old Is New Again: Pokémon Is Back!

I never played Pokémon when I was young and never really understood what the craze was about. And while I’m not among the millions in the United States who have downloaded the Pokémon Go app, I love what Pokémon Go represents for the brand and enthusiasts. What started as a simple game from Nintendo over 20 years ago and gained a lot of followers among kids and tweens worldwide has now revived the brand with a location-based, augmented reality app. And unless you live under a rock, you will have no doubt seen the news across nearly every media outlet. Pokémon Go has made national headlines across the world in the last week.

For those who aren’t familiar with Pokemon Go is, here’s a short overview:

Once a user downloads Pokémon Go to their smartphone, they are prompted to turn on location services. Once location services are on, users will see a location-aware map with other players in the real world where they can go out and look for Pokémon characters. Once they get to a specified place, players point their phone camera to “find” Pokémon in the real world in an augmented reality-playing environment. Players then shoot a ball to capture the Pokémon and collect awards.

Why all the fuss over a “kids” game that now has a smartphone app? For starters, the app, which just launched a week ago has over 11 million daily active users. In the app world, that is rocket ship growth that any app or media property would love to have in a year, let alone a week! To provide some context, according to data from SensorTower, Pokémon Go is already bigger than the dating app Tinder, as big as Snapchat and Google Maps and about to overtake Twitter. And Pokémon Go players are spending an average of 43 minutes per day using the app. That daily usage rate outpaces WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and FB Messenger! The cherry on the top is that it’s not just kids and tweens playing this game, it’s a lot of adults and new users to the Pokémon franchise.

As any marketer that has launched an app will tell you, two of the biggest success metrics for apps are downloads and daily active users (DAUs) or monthly active users (MAUs). Achieving download goals are hard enough. Many marketers spend millions of dollars just to drive downloads; it’s not uncommon for costs to hit $20 per download. The bigger challenge is getting users to actually keep using an app after download and that is where the vast majority of apps fail unless they have a high utility value (e.g., Tinder, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.). Pokémon Go daily users are spending 40+ minutes each day!

Again, to provide some perspective, below is a chart from SensorTower showing Daily Usage Time of Pokémon Go vs. Social Media Apps.

Pokémon Go news stories have been making the nightly news across all the network and cable news channels about the craze and how app users are having fun in droves as well as some questionable issues arising from playing an augmented reality game in public spaces. I was nearly shamed for not playing the game by a fellow UberPool rider earlier this week, while she was looking to snag another Pokémon in the Uber. And while I’m not playing (yet), I can think of myriad ways marketers can engage and follow the lead of the Pokémon Go augmented reality app.

On a basic level, brands with location-based presence can engage with promotions. Outdoor apparel brands could leverage the location-based aspect to engage with players in parks and resorts around the globe. QSR brands could offer a limited-time experience to help drive short-term traffic and sales goals. Marketers looking for more ideas need only to listen to what Pokémon Go players are saying on across social channels about how they are engaging with the game and what types of experiences they are creating. Smart marketers will listen and respond from the plethora of ideas being shared in the community.

While I have never been a Pokémon fan, this augmented reality app has been a great way to re-introduce adults and kids to a great brand franchise in a smart and meaningful way with a technology (augmented reality) that the average consumer has had little experience with until last week. Perhaps we’re at a tipping point for the “general release” of augmented reality for the masses.

A Perfect Trifecta For Live-Streaming: Video, Image, Messaging

My latest Marketing:Entertainment post from @Mediapost

In the past week, I’ve been talking with a lot of my marketer and ad-tech friends across Silicon Valley and Madison Ave. Much of the conversation starts with, “Did you see Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report?” “What do you think?” Of course, I’ve seen it! My hunch is that nearly everyone reading this post has seen it, at least in some part. Meeker’s annual report is akin to everyone waiting eagerly to see if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow every year. Of course, Meeker’s report has much more accurate prognostications than the weather predictions of a furry rodent.

I typically ask friends, “What about the report did you find most interesting?” Several conversations have focused on mobile, media and entertainment, specifically with regard to trends and topics I’ve discussed here over the past 18 months. Here are a couple of areas from the report that get me excited and why I’m so bullish on the convergence of mobile, video, entertainment and how brands have only begun to engage.

The report showed how smartphones are increasingly used to combine several powerful storytelling tools via camera + storytelling + creativity + messaging across a social platform with network effect. Meeker mentioned that she and her team believe Snapchat has a “perfect trifecta” for this, (especially given their daily video growth rate). Snapchat has come a long way pretty fast, since starting with personal stories, then personal plus professional, and now curated live stories with Discover, which brands can sponsor.

While Snapchat may have the perfect trifecta, the other services highlighted in the report such as Instagram, Periscope and Facebook-Live all represent a similar theme of incredibly high user growth (daily) and the chance for brands to find unique ways to help users engage with consumers. For example, “Love at First Bite” from KFC, and “World AIDS Day – Join the Fight” from (RED) had tremendous lift and engagement for those respective brands.

Of course, the report also highlighted Candace Payne in the Chewbacca mask and how that user-generated content demonstrated a new order of magnitude to viewing and sharing. I have long mentioned these tools as great ways to help consumers engage with each other as well as with brands. But we are still only at the tip of the iceberg.

Meeker went on to talk about the impact of a paradigm shift for live broadcasting. The advent of Periscope, Facebook-Live and Twitter’s integration of near real-time replays (now real-time as well) is changing how consumers can engage with each other for live events as well as share. Again, we’ve seen this coming as I have pointed out in a few posts. And as frequent readers of my column know, I have been very bullish on the opportunities for live events + streaming + sharing.

As Meeker pointed out, “Live sports viewing has always been social. In many ways it’s just getting started.” I couldn’t agree more. She highlighted how viewers are able to watch live events from the sidelines, live-stream and wrap it all with social media tools and share in real-time. As brands get behind this for the upcoming sports and other big live event season, we start to see just how big an impact it will have.

The big platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram) will be rolling out new features in the coming months for the Fall sports season. The NFL will be broadcasting Thursday night games live on Twitter and functionality will include (not confirmed) live analysis, replays and notifications. Remember when I wrote about Twitter’s acquisition of SnappyTV to build out their replay services? Bundle those replay services with live broadcasts and more sharing tools, and this season’s social sharing for big games and other live events should be through the roof.

These are just two areas of real-time video, messaging and sharing that marketers should be very excited about testing in the second half of this year and certainly well beyond. We are still early in this space and there is a lot to be built and designed. The more brands get in early and test, the better chances they have for helping guide platform partners like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and many others. There are going to be a lot more tools for brands and their agencies to come up with cool and compelling ways to engage with consumers.

I encourage you to review “The 2016 Internet Trends Report” as a way to start thinking how you will engage in a rapidly growing marketing and entertainment realm.

A manifesto for small teams doing important work

February 18, 2016 Leave a comment

We are always under tight deadlines, because time is our most valuable asset.

If you make a promise, set a date. No date, no promise.

If you set a date, meet it.

If you can’t make a date, tell us early and often. Plan B well prepared is a better strategy than hope.

Clean up your own mess.

Clean up other people’s messes.

Overcommunicate.

Question premises and strategy.

Don’t question goodwill, effort or intent.

“I’ll know it when I see it,” is not a professional thing to say. Describing and discussing in the abstract is what we do.

Big projects are not nearly as important as scary commitments.

If what you’re working on right now doesn’t matter to the mission, help someone else with their work.

Make mistakes, own them, fix them, share the learning.

Cheap, reliable, public software might be boring, but it’s usually better. Because it’s cheap and reliable.

Yesterday’s hierarchy is not nearly as important as today’s project structure.

Lock in the things that must be locked in, leave the implementation loose until you figure out how it can get done.

Mostly, we do things that haven’t been done before, so don’t be surprised when you’re surprised.

Care more.

If an outsider can do it faster and cheaper than we can, don’t hesitate.

Always be seeking outside resources. A better rolodex is better, even if we don’t have rolodexes any more.

Talk to everyone as if they were your boss, your customer, the founder, your employee. It’s all the same.

It works because it’s personal.

cribbed from @sethgodin because it’s great and this is how I operate, too!

Goooal! What We Can Learn From The Most-watched Soccer Match In U.S. History

My latest article from Mediapost – Marketing:Entertainment 

“Many people say I’m the best women’s soccer player in the world. I don’t think so. And because of that, someday I just might be.”

Mia Hamm, 1999 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team

I like that quote from Mia Hamm, one of the standout players from the 1999 U.S. Women’s World Cup champion team. Mia’s quote reflects a consistent theme of how the current U.S. women’s soccer team approaches playing — on and off the field. And just one of the many reason they are champions, in a sea of doubters.

Sunday’s Women’s World Cup championship’s stunning 5-2 win over Japan was a trill to watch. I was streaming in from my car en route from Seattle to San Francisco. It set records on and off the field. By the numbers, more than 26 million viewers tuned in to watch the match. Viewership peaked at 30.1 million from 8:30 to 8:45. Carli Lloyd’s impressive hat trick during the game was matched in the broadcast world with three amazing goals; the match bested the recent NBA Final viewership (13.9 million), the NHL Stanley Cup Final (7.6 million) and becoming the most-watched soccer event in the U.S. television history. The icing on the cake, for Fox Sports Go app, was a record-setting 232,000 concurrent streams. Very impressive numbers, to be sure.

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Given all the growth of U.S. youth soccer programs, especially girls leagues, women’s collegiate soccer, you would think the U.S. Women’s World Cup games would have been an attractive venue for marketers to reach their key audiences. Guess again.

Monday morning stats about the match should now silence the doubters about women’s sports being a big draw. Even the doubters should have seen this as an ideal entry point to test the waters with a minimal investment. So, I’m baffled that more marketers didn’t find ways to engage and reach what was certainly a key audience. Fox raked in an estimated $17 million on advertising revenue, a tiny number when you consider the $529 million ESPN made from advertising/sponsorship revenue from last year’s tournament in Brazil.

Granted, the men’s World Cup has been around longer. Fox aired 16 matches live (a new record for Women’s World Cup Soccer in the U.S.) and I counted ads from at least 15 brands, from QSR, auto, insurance, CPG and alcohol beverage companies. While there were more advertisers and revenue than in previous years, it was still a missed opportunity. Also puzzling was the noticeably absent traditional sports apparel brands that are typically sponsors. All day I dreamt about seeing them show up in the match somewhere. Hats off to non-traditional brands like Clorox and Tampax for stepping up. I think they will do well from their investment.

A lot of marketers rely on reports and historical data to help determine where to put their sponsorship dollars. Perhaps the brands that didn’t show up relied on these reports too much vs. considering market conditions, and the hyper growth of women’s soccer (even girls youth leagues). I’m guessing the reports suggested sticking with proven sports franchises for proven returns. Data is a great tool but it’s not the only one in the toolbox.

There have always been a lot of doubters about women’s sports, including the high-performance world of Women’s World Cup. And nearly every time, the women have something to prove and they do. Hopefully, this year was a wake-up call for brands that have been on the sidelines. As marketers, our goal is to connect with audiences in meaningful ways. The highly passionate women’s sports fans offer a great opportunity for many marketers to connect and tell their story in a meaningful way. How will you find a way to engage with this audience? I would love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment on this article or find me @dougchavez on Twitter.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Whale vs. The Snail (and an ice cream cone)

March 12, 2014 9 comments

Earlier this week, Twitter went down for for some folks, including me. I couldn’t help notice that their design team updated the familiar “fail whale” with a new cartoon featuring a snail and ice cream cone. (there’s a making for a bad joke). Personally, I like the fail whale better, because, well, I’m used to it and like many I don’t always like change.

IMHO from a messaging perspective, the snail and ice cream cone do much better job conveying that Twitter is down or has a glitch vs. a while being suspended by struggling birds (read: we’re struggling over here).

Here’s to hoping we don’t see much of the snail and ice cream cone in 2014

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iOS 7.1 Tips and tricks

March 11, 2014 1 comment

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I upgraded to iOS 7.1 this week I have to say I really like the new features and UX upgrades. Many of the updates that you will notice are UX related and the iOS team has done a good job. There are many other feature updates that you may notice for a while since they are future focused and nuanced and hard to find. For example unless you already are using services such as accessibility, you won’t notice or find the feature updates.

Here are some links to the best update reviews I’ve seen

Brad Reed’s iOS blog – he always does solid reviews and has great videos that get to the heart of the matter. Here’s his review of the iOS 7.1 updates, including a video overview

Cult of Mac – these guys usually have pretty succinct reviews and they hit all the main points for the iOS 7.1 update. Here is their review.

Pocket-Lint – always like reading review from these guys – solid and usually have several good screen shots. This iOS 7.1 review is another great one from Pocket-Lint

Enjoy!

Great shot from Mobile Media Summit in San Francisco

February 2, 2014 1 comment

Somebody in the audience captured a good shot of the panel I was on at the Mobile Media Summit in San Francisco

Doug Chavez at Mobile Media Summit, San Francisco

Doug Chavez at Mobile Media Summit, San Francisco

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