How to Use Micro-Moments to Win the Shift to Mobile

The Three Pillars of Micro-Moments: Intent, Context and Immediacy

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It's reported that connected consumers look at their phones on average 1,500 times each week and that they spend 177 minutes on their phone each day. This is, as you can appreciate, changing the paradigm for digital advertising. Targeted or programmatic ad buys are no longer sufficient. Now, advertisers and media buyers have to learn, quickly, the implications of a rising mobile landscape and its effect on behavior and expectations to capture attention when and where it's focused.

The ever-evolving mobile ecosystem and how consumer behavior shapes it are changing the dynamic for how brands reach and connect with people. The game is no longer about buying reach and volume through creative campaigns. The new world of engagement is measured by the ability to reach people in the moment, with the right content or message, in ways that are native and intuitive for the device in hand. The future of marketing is about discoverability and relevance where, when and how customers explore possibilities -- and to connect people to desired outcomes.

Real-time, mobile-centered moments of discovery are quickly becoming the new battleground for advertising and what Google refers to as, "micro-moments," which I discussed in an earlier column. To help marketers understand these new moments and how to win in this new mobile brandscape, Google just released a thoughtful, and timely, playbook, "Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile."

Micro-moments are incredibly productive, weaving together the simultaneous activities and scenarios that that help connected consumers multi-task and make decisions on the fly -- their way. These moments are not only the new battleground for brands, they require a new model for creative design, investment and engagement to lead the next generation of meaningful customer journeys.

As Google shares in its playbook, micro-moments are comprised of three critical pillars: intent, context and immediacy. Once the process of discovery is underway, the consumer chooses who can address his or her need (intent) in this situation (context) and in the moment. (immediacy). If a brand doesn't deliver on expectations in the right way at the right time, it misses a key opportunity for relevance and immediacy. As customers are more loyal to their need in that specific moment than to any particular brand, they are wide open for engagement. This is a risk and an opportunity for advertisers and their brands.

The key is to:

1. Be there. Understand how, when, what, why and where consumers search and be there. Just being there can drive results and build a competitive edge among existing and new customers.

2. Be useful. Understand your consumer's intent and context. You have to know what the customer is trying to do, what questions they are asking and what challenges or opportunities they're facing. This context provides critical insights into consumer behavior and helps you become truly relevant in moments of need.

3. Be quick. More than one-third of your customers are usually in a hurry searching for a local business on their smartphone; 40% are in a hurry while looking for instructions; and 28% are in a hurry while buying something. That's why consumers expect your mobile site and app to indulge their need for speed by being quick and easy. If it takes too long to load, if there are too many steps to purchase or get desired information or if it's difficult to find something, people switch to your competitor.

Without planning for a mobile-first or even mobile-only micro-moments and experiences, the ability to spark relationships with connected consumers is greatly compromised. This opens the door to competitors who will inevitably step in to capture these new, lucrative moments.

In the playbook, Google goes into great detail about how to win hearts, minds and dollars along the new micro-journey. But everything starts with understanding these moments and then designing for discoverability and engagement. It then takes creativity, relevance and persistence to connect the dots that deliver beneficial micro-experiences in every moment of truth.

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