Capitalizing on micro-moments

Published October 9, 2017 by Scott LoSasso

Categories: Audience insights, Content marketing, Digital media strategy, Social media

It’s amazing to consider the smartphone revolution began just a decade ago, when, in July 2007, Apple debuted its original, transformative iPhone. Of course, in the interim these mobile devices — iOS and Android alike — have become ubiquitous throughout the world and, for many of us, an indispensible companion. Could you imagine a day, let alone an hour, without access to your smartphone?

Assuming you can’t, you’re not alone. The average U.S. consumer spends five hours per day — almost a third of one’s waking hours — on mobile devices.

As marketers, we view that screen time as opportunity, a way to tantalize the captive masses with products and services. But there’s a fine line here — your average consumer doesn’t want to be bothered when they’re texting, emailing or sharing. Thus, it’s all about timing, about identifying and exploiting those moments when we, as marketers, have an (implied) invitation to engage. Google’s content marketing division, Think with Google, calls them “micro-moments,” which are defined as “…when [consumers] turn to a device — often a smartphone — to take action on whatever [they] need or want right now…moments loaded with intent, context, and immediacy.”

How can marketers take advantage of these moments? Consider these three strategies:

Be There

The old Woody Allen line, “just showing up is half the battle” couldn’t be more relevant in the micro-moment timeframe. Why? Because 90% of consumers aren’t certain which specific brand to purchase when they begin an online search. Yet, by the time they’re ready to pull the trigger, 2/3 will have the decision locked down. What’s more, during their online session, 33% end up being swayed to another company or brand because of information they glean in the (micro) moment.

“By being there,” notes Google, “your brand has the chance to address consumer needs in the moment, help move someone along their decision journey and deepen their loyalty.”

However, “being there” doesn’t just refer to the moment of purchase. Rather, it involves all four stages of the consumer’s journey, which are:

  1. I-Want-to-Know Moments (consumer isn’t ready to purchase yet, only exploring/researching)
  2. I-Want-to-Go Moments (consumer is looking for a connection to the physical world)
  3. I-Want-to-Do Moments (consumer wants help getting things done/trying something new, a “how to” moment)
  4. I-Want-to-Buy Moments (consumer is ready to buy but may need help deciding what/how to buy).

As a marketer, are you confident your messaging is sufficiently present across all four? If not, consider a series of category-relevant searches on your mobile device to give you a feel for where you stand. More often than not you’ll discover improvements are necessary to ensure your messaging gets its “share of intent.”

Be Useful

While it’s one thing to “Be There,” it’s quite another to actually meet consumers’ needs. And those who can’t? Be prepared for significant damage — only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs. What’s worse, 40% will be less likely to come back to the mobile site or app and 28% will be less likely to purchase products from the company in the future. On the other hand, 73% of consumers say that regularly getting useful information from an advertiser is the most important attribute when selecting a brand.

Just like the “Be There” strategy, a marketer needs to be useful across all four stages of the consumer’s journey. For an “I-Want-to-Know Moment,” consider snackable, educational content rather than hard sell. For an “I-Want-to-Go Moment,” use mobile location services to point them toward locations, inventory specifics and driving instructions. As for an “I-Want-to-Do Moment,” consider video content with step-by-step instructions. And finally, for the all-important “I-Want-to-Buy Moment,” make sure to empower consumers with convenient purchasing options, be they in-store, mobile, call center, etc. In other words, make the process seamless and easy.

Be Quick

Think with Google notes that 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if what they’re looking at doesn’t satisfy their needs. Of those, 70% do so because it takes too long to load and 67% because it takes too many steps to purchase or get desired information.

The key, then, is streamlining. How? Well, among other things, you can eliminate unnecessary steps via one-click functionality, auto form fills, click-to-call. Anticipating consumer needs also plays an important role — make sure to feature prominent calls-to-action for your top mobile content and searches. And, finally, ensure your site loads within three seconds. Why three? Because research shows this is the maximum threshold for 40% of consumers before they abandon a site for another.

As micro-moments demonstrate, the world’s only getting faster. As such, marketers need to solidify their marketing strategies to become moments-ready. We have to dig deep to find the greatest alignment between our product and service solutions and the various (and disparate) mindsets of our target. And while this may seem like a relatively simple task in theory, it’s quite the opposite in practice. But practice we must, or we risk getting left behind.

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