Pokémon Go developer Niantic explores rewarded AR ads for new revenue streams

Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, is venturing into rewarded augmented reality (AR) ads to explore new revenue opportunities. Earlier this year, Niantic introduced the concept of rewarded AR ads, which are powered by the company’s 8th Wall platform. Now, Niantic has launched one of the initial campaigns using this method in collaboration with the snack brand Lunchables. The campaign integrates “immersive branded content” that rewards players for engaging with it.

Niantic has introduced rewarded AR ads, an advertising format that leverages AR technology to engage players and provide rewards for their interactions. Niantic’s partnership with Lunchables marks one of the first campaigns utilizing the rewarded AR ad format. Players who interact with immersive branded content will receive rewards as part of the campaign.

The move towards rewarded AR ads may be driven by concerns about declining engagement in Pokémon Go. While the game continues to generate substantial revenue, recent changes to features like raids and remote play have not been well-received by players.

“Rewarded AR Ads are immersive, fun, and an easy way to reach an audience that we know is looking for more ways to engage with the brands they love,” Erica Kovalkoski stated, Niantic Head of Brand Marketing Partnerships. “Around 80% of our players love the idea of AR ads in games like Pokémon GO. It’s an enjoyable experience for the player and an opportunity for innovative brands like LUNCHABLES® to deliver a brand experience their customers haven’t seen before.”

“We’re constantly seeking new, innovative ways to grow our brand and when it comes to reaching our parents and kids, we see huge potential in AR advertising,” Christina Brown added, Kraft Heinz Associate Brand Manager, Brand Communications. “It’s exciting to be the first brand partnering with Niantic on a Rewarded AR Ads campaign allowing us to engage with our target audience in a unique and unexpected way to help us grow brand awareness and affinity while encouraging rewards program participation.”

Around 80% of Pokémon Go players have shown interest in AR ads within games, suggesting a willingness to engage with this advertising format.

The success of AR advertising in a game like Pokémon Go remains uncertain. It’s unclear whether this approach will resonate positively with players and enhance brand engagement or potentially disrupt the immersive gameplay experience.

Niantic’s foray into rewarded AR ads represents an attempt to diversify revenue streams and address challenges related to player engagement in Pokémon Go. The success and reception of this new advertising format will be closely monitored to determine its feasibility and impact on the gaming experience.

This is not Niantic’s first collaboration with a company about AR. In April 2022, Niantic announced that it acquired NZX, a New Zealand-based creative AR studio. Just two weeks later, the company announced a new real-world AR mobile game called Peridot

Written by Gizem Yılmaz


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