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Data Collection: All Fun and Games?

Anthony Doornbos

Pokemon Go, heralding in a new era of mobile games and data collection.

By this point we have all learnt to read the signs, and identify those of us undertaking the mission to “catch them all”. From frantic screen swiping, to herds of players walking the streets with their eyes firmly fixed on the screens in front of them. Pokemon Go has become a cultural phenomenon that has swept through our country, hijacking lives and social media.

This is not an uncommon thing unto itself, with games, videos, songs and memes regularly attaining the coveted title of “viral”, on an almost weekly basis. Where Pokemon Go really starts to set itself apart from the pack is through the numbers being generated, which quite honestly are nothing short of astounding. Quickly becoming the most popular mobile game in US history, gaining more users in 3 days than twitter has in the last decade. The game has more daily user engagement than Facebook, with more time spent in app than both Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Due to the sheer number of users attracted to the game, time spent within the game and the fact that location services are an integral part of the gameplay. Pokemon Go is proving itself to be a gold mine of incredibly useful data for marketers. The use of location services to collect data on client habits is far from a new concept, creating insight into how, when, where and why we move through the physical world. But this is the first time that a data collection vehicle has been packaged in such a consumer friendly way, over an extended period.

Previously this data has been collected using check-in based functions on apps like facebook, which provide snap shots of a person’s routine. When we compare this to the data collected by Pokemon Go, with many in-game features requiring that the game and location services be activated for extended periods of time. We start seeing not only where peoples’ destinations are, but when and where they go, and how they interact with people and objects along the way. Creating in immeasurably powerful data set for marketers and advertisers.

Armed with this new data set and data capturing tool business is able to create more meaningful and personalised customer experiences. Identifying through geo-location, where market segments congregate to increase efficiency in advertising, and in more general terms, creating more complete pictures of market habits.

With this game lighting the way and showing us that data collection can be packaged in a way that consumers can’t get enough of. I foresee a slew of similar products arriving in the marketplace in the near future, taking on and pushing this model to the next level.