3 Ways Brands Can Harness the Power of Mobile Micro-Moments

The aver­age con­sumer looks at his or her mobile device as many as 150 times a day, which means mar­keters have just as many dai­ly micro-moments to con­nect with them.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Con­sumers are con­stant­ly seek­ing infor­ma­tion with their mobile devices, which pro­vides ample oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands. But they, in turn, must be selec­tive and choose the right moments to cap­i­tal­ize upon. And, experts say, deliv­er­ing on those con­sumer needs at the right time is what will win in this new mobile world.

Get­ting the right mes­sage in front of the right con­sumer at the right time has long been vital in mar­ket­ing, but it’s even more impor­tant in the mobile world, which has frag­ment­ed the con­sumer jour­ney.

In fact, at ad:tech San Fran­cis­co, Srid­har Ramaswamy, senior vice pres­i­dent of ads and com­merce at Google, said con­sumers look at their phones upwards of 150 times per day, or more than ten times an hour. But mar­keters shouldn’t be there every sin­gle time.

A lot of these [moments] are mun­dane tasks, like post­ing a pic­ture, check­ing texts or turn­ing off an alarm,” Ramaswamy says. “And in many of these moments, it’s impor­tant for brands not to be there and it might do more harm than good.”

At the same time, there are some moments that mat­ter quite a lot for brands.

These are the moments when con­sumers are look­ing for answers and try­ing to dis­cov­er some­thing new or make a deci­sion,” Ramaswamy says. “They want to know, do or buy. We call them micro-moments.”

Life is lived in these moments, which Ramaswamy says are rich with intent and con­sti­tute what he calls the “bat­tle­ground for the hearts and minds of con­sumers.”

Digital Moments Mean Marketers Must Rethink Engagement

Fur­ther, he adds, “We believe our suc­cess as an indus­try lies in a deep under­stand­ing of these moments and con­sumers.”

These moments include small deci­sions like where to have din­ner, as well as big­ger ones like what car to buy or where to go on vaca­tion.

In addi­tion to in-store prod­uct research, mobile devices also enable con­sumers to break huge tasks like buy­ing a new home into bite-size chunks – such as research­ing inter­est rates, neigh­bor­hood price his­to­ry and school dis­tricts – dur­ing down time through­out the day.

These micro-moments are full of intent where deci­sions are being made and pref­er­ences are being shaped and they are clear­ly crit­i­cal to con­sumers,” Ramaswamy adds. “But they are also huge­ly impor­tant for brands.”

Consumers and In-the-Moment Behavior

Fur­ther, mobile has dri­ven an explo­sion in loca­tion-ori­ent­ed inter­est – includ­ing a 34x increase in “near me” search­es – as well as a mas­sive change in video con­sump­tion, Ramaswamy says.

Con­sumers are not only turn­ing to how-to videos and/or prod­uct reviews on YouTube to learn how to per­form new tasks like tying a tie or fix­ing a dead bat­tery, but younger con­sumers in par­tic­u­lar see YouTube as a place to “explore inter­ests and catch up on the lat­est trends and con­sume con­tent from their favorite cre­ators.”

In fact, Ramaswamy says mobile YouTube has more view­ers 18 to 35 than any cable chan­nel and a poll of top celebri­ties among these con­sumers revealed YouTu­bers like KSI and PewDiePie are among their biggest stars.

The Implications of Micro-Moments

So what does this mean for mar­keters?

Accord­ing to Ramaswamy, “Those com­pa­nies that under­stand the intent behind micro-moments and meet the needs of con­sumers at the moments that mat­ter – they will win in the new world we live in.”

In addi­tion, he says “under­stand­ing intent is what has made Google Google,” and points to the exam­ple of buy­ing a car for his wife and the rea­sons he is lean­ing toward a com­pact SUV, sig­nal­ing his intent, as “more valu­able [infor­ma­tion to car brands] than [his] age or edu­ca­tion.”

Fur­ther, Chia Chen, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing direc­tor at Dig­i­tas, says 85 per­cent of the day, smart­phones are with­in con­sumers’ reach, which means mobile lit­er­al­ly makes life address­able.

You’re get­ting sig­nals every sin­gle moment you’re awake and you’re also tak­ing these actions and being influ­enced by con­tent,” Chen adds.

And that means mar­keters have access to moments in con­sumers’ lives like they’ve nev­er had before.

You can [not only] detect a sig­nal, you can do some­thing about it,” Chen adds.

And that means fig­ur­ing out where con­sumers are locat­ed and tar­get­ing them with appro­pri­ate length con­tent, for exam­ple.

Fur­ther, Chen even sees a shift toward what he calls a moments-based view of tar­get­ing in which adver­tis­ers actu­al­ly buy moments pro­gram­mat­i­cal­ly based on loca­tion and intent sig­nals.

The oth­er thing that is inter­est­ing to us is how do we use these sig­nals by devices as way to seg­ment the audi­ence,” Chen adds.

He uses the exam­ple of an air­line look­ing to tar­get con­sumers who fly fre­quent­ly, but are not fly­ing exclu­sive­ly with any giv­en air­line. So, he asks, how can a brand or agency use loca­tion to deter­mine that pas­sen­ger is at one brand’s ter­mi­nals, as well as oth­er brands’ ter­mi­nals and then retar­get them?

At the end of the day, Ramaswamy says there is a three-part recipe for brand suc­cess with micro-moments in the mobile world:

  1. Iden­ti­fy the moments to win.

In order to do so, he sug­gests talk­ing to con­sumers via pan­els, sur­veys or watch­ing them inter­act with the prod­uct, as well as mak­ing sure dif­fer­ent depart­ments with­in the com­pa­ny talk to each oth­er to gain insight about a giv­en product’s pros and cons.

  1. Fig­ure out how to deliv­er on the needs in the moment.

Per Ramaswamy, that can mean many dif­fer­ent things, some of which is search adver­tis­ing.

But he also uses the exam­ple of an argu­ment he had with his sons about the dif­fer­ence between deodor­ant and antiper­spi­rant. As a result, he sought infor­ma­tion with his mobile device. And, he says, some of these brands have an FAQ page where they are not try­ing to make a sale, but they are “sim­ply will­ing to be there and deliv­er the right infor­ma­tion for the con­sumer, which dri­ves brand loy­al­ty and estab­lish­es them as a trust­wor­thy source of infor­ma­tion.”

Ramaswamy adds, “You have to con­sid­er the entire spec­trum of needs in order to deliv­er on those needs.”

  1. Mea­sure every moment that mat­ters.

Gone are the days when bud­gets were siloed,” Ramaswamy says. “It’s real­ly impor­tant that you assem­ble a holis­tic pic­ture of where your spend is and the return you’re get­ting and the indus­try has to build a new gen­er­a­tion of tools for mar­keters to be able to track and mea­sure the val­ue of the spend we are putting in day after day.”

In oth­er words: Under­stand­ing the intent between count­less micro-moments and deliv­er­ing to needs of con­sumers at that time is what will real­ly win in this new world, Ramaswamy adds.

How do you think mobile mar­keters can bet­ter tar­get con­sumers in the moment?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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