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:
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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?