News & Views

Opinion / The Search for Micro-Moments

by Contagious Contributor
Brands have less time than ever to engage with consumers as they dip in and out of their mobiles. Jon Hook, VP, advertising strategy at mobile app developers, Phunware, explains how the move to micro-moments is transforming brands’ relationships with consumers

In the beginning was the internet. People spent hours researching the things they wanted online. They sat at their desks as part of an intense process.

Mobile has changed all that. We research on the go, a query between meetings, a search whilst waiting for the train, a quick price check in-store or, for a small minority of consumers, in the bath. We have entered the age of micro-moments.

Research from Google shows that mobile sessions on millions of websites around the world have risen by 20% in the last year, but at the same time the amount of time we spend on each visit has fallen by 18%.

Concurrently, the rise of messaging apps such as Line and WhatsApp highlights the increasingly fleeting nature of our engagements with the digital world. With such little time to make a consumer connection, brands must create content, communications and tools based on deep audience understanding.

When they do it right, they create micro-moments of engagement, and that audience understanding gets a chance to shine. These micro-moments are the future of brand communication.

A micro-moment could be anything: discovering a new eatery for the first time, the convenience of making a mobile payment, receiving an unexpected gift or a random act of kindness.

Regardless of how you define them, however, micro-moments inevitably change how brands plan and build consumer experiences in four clear ways:

Make it easy / Brands must make it easier for consumers to engage with them in the first place. If your goal is to encourage app downloads, you need to make that process as easy as possible. For example, don’t ask for multiple unnecessary and intrusive permissions as part of the install process.

Google has tried to make this easier with the new Android M software update, reducing the number of permissions required and changing when and how they’re requested. But brands should aim to reduce friction at every point in the transaction and customer journey. Consumers who only have a micro-moment will quickly drop out of an unsatisfactory site or process.

Understand your customers / With much shorter consumer engagement, brands have to leverage the data trail that consumers leave behind to identify the best way to both identify and influence consumers in those micro-moments.

Apps, for example, collect a huge amount of information about users, from their device ID to their habits and content preferences. They combine this with insight into user location and movement patterns. A marketer can use this information to understand how frequently a user shops at a specific brick-and-mortar store, how long he or she stays, and even where in the store he or she lingers longest.

Such data provides deep, real-world insights into shopping habits, travel patterns and much more, enabling brands to make every interaction more engaging.

Create content that fits with micro-moments / That goes much further than removing TV commercials from web and mobile platforms. The precise nature of micro-moment content needs to reflect the new consumer journey, which is longer than ever but also can also involve split-second decision-making.

The scale of the micro-moment will be different for different sectors and brands, but content needs to be designed for intent-rich moments and influence consumers to make better decisions.

The key is to ensure that you know what you want to achieve. Brands often go wrong by trying to be everything to everyone. Your audience may just want to shop. Or they might just need help finding what they are looking for. From the outset, know what you’re trying to do, for whom, and why.

Measure the moments that matter / When do they occur? How can the brand create more content that encourages conversion? And what is correct metric?

Measurement will enable brands to understand the full consumer journey and how the rise of the micro-moment changes the way consumers discover and choose brands.

The brands that win with micro-moments will have clearly identified how they can provide assistance when consumers turn to their mobiles seeking information. They will understand when consumers are most likely to reach out to their brand and why.

They will have identified and invested in the technology required to deliver contextually relevant micro-moments to consumers. If you aren’t truly in the moment with the consumer, then you are an irrelevant interruption.