Since its launch in 2016, the mobile game Pokémon GO has encouraged people to set off on real-world adventures as a Pokémon Trainer and explore the places around them while discovering Pokémon along the way!
A part of this journey is walking past and interacting with PokéStops, notable real-world locations highlighted in Pokémon GO that provide in-game items when “spun.” In 2021, we introduced an ability to collect the in-game image connected to these locations and send them to friends as digital “Postcards.” In 2022, we revealed that collecting Postcards can lead to encounters with Scatterbug, a Pokémon new to Pokémon GO. Scatterbug can evolve into a Pokémon called Vivillon, which currently has 18 different patterns in our game. As they say in the world of Pokémon, you have to catch them all—Pokémon GO Trainers who want to collect Vivillon with all 18 patterns have to pin Postcards from locations all around the world! Trainers can pin either Postcards that they collect from PokéStops on their travels or Postcards they receive from friends.
But how do you help Trainers who are interested in collecting every Vivillon pattern connect with Trainers around the world? That’s where our Pokémon GO social media campaign stepped in!
While a Trainer can travel the world and collect Postcards on their own, the easiest way to catch all the different patterns of Vivillon is to collaborate with Trainers from different regions. Knowing this, we made forming global connections a central theme to our social media campaign.
Vivillon Launch Video
Because our new Vivillon feature encouraged global collaboration to collect all the patterns, we wanted to introduce this feature with a video that’s representative of multiple countries around the world.
To emphasize that this is a feature tailored to global play, we showcased players sending digital Postcards from locations from all around the world! From the snowy streets of New York to the sunny beaches in Australia, the launch video put the spotlight on a diverse set of locations like Finland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States.
We repurposed our legacy hashtag #PokemonGOFriend, previously used to promote our friendship-based features, as a tool for our community. Players can use the tag to identify and form friendships with Trainers who live in different Vivillon habitats. To anchor and socialize the use of this hashtag, we included it in our social media posts highlighting Vivillon habitats. The Pokémon GO community caught on and used it on their own posts to identify the Vivillon pattern from their region and the patterns they were looking for. Trainers could browse posts with this hashtag, trade friend codes in the replies, and form connections with people around the world.
Cross amplification across global and regional Pokémon GO social media accounts
We have 17 regional accounts catering to different languages and countries to support our diverse playerbase! Following the announcement of this feature, we activated all of them to highlight the different Vivillon patterns found in those regions and explicitly encouraged Trainers to send Postcards to friends in other regions or find other Trainers using #PokemonGOFriend. . Since Vivillon habitats are found in specific parts of the world, we determined which Vivillon patterns each channel should highlight based on the primary location of their followers. Each post’s comment section filled with Trainers identifying the Vivillon pattern from their region. We used our other social accounts to amplify these posts so that our global community could connect.
For example, because Postcards sent from regions in South America can lead to encounters with Scatterbug that evolve into Vivillon with the Jungle pattern, our Latin American Pokémon GO account highlighted the Jungle Vivillon pattern. Afterward, our Japanese account retweeted it to their audience, resulting in a number of Japanese Trainers commenting on and retweeting the Latin American post to make new friends in the region.
Global Pokémon GO influencers coordination
We further boosted this campaign by working with 29 micro- and nano-influencers from nine different countries across North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. They amplified posts from our accounts highlighting the Vivillon pattern from their region. They also promised to become friends with 3-5 Trainers seeking Vivillon from their region over the next three months.
The campaign far exceeded our expectations. Not only were we able to spread awareness of the new global feature, but we also saw a rise in players returning to their Pokémon GO adventures. Overall sentiment about the feature was positive on social media as Trainers around the world shared friend codes and called out the Vivillon patterns they were looking for. Some players even navigated language barriers by using flag emoji to connect with Trainers from different regions around the world.
In the first week following the launch, we saw a 17% lift in new Pokémon GO player activity and a 22% increase in returning players!
Organically, our campaign generated 21,000,000 impressions and 761,000 engagements on our social media channels. As a result, we were able to encourage our community to use #PokemonGOFriend 26,000 times, generating an additional 138,000,000 in reach!
Ultimately, our three-week marketing campaign generated 345,000,000 impressions across platforms, encouraged players to catch millions of Scatterbug, and helped people around the world form countless friendships along the way.