Welcome to the ‘micro moment’ – How the smartphone has changed the way you market forever

The biggest revolution in marketing has taken place. It’s not multichannel, it’s not augmented reality or apps – it’s the micro moment.

On average we check our phones 150 times a day. Whether we like it or not, most of us are addicted to our devices – constantly seeking distraction and reassurance in their little glowing screen.

The micro moment is just simply one of those moments when you pick up your phone to check or do something. These tiny snippets of time – 1 minute 10 seconds on average – are radically changing what people expect from brands. And if you don’t embrace the micro-moment, you’re likely to be left by the wayside.

So what does this mean for your brand? How can you capture an audience with such a short attention span? We’ve taken a look at the research from Google, putting together this post to embracing the micro-moment and getting the most out of every second of your consumer’s attention.

Be fast

The fact that most of us have unlimited access to the internet 24/7 has changed our browsing behaviour. Unsurprisingly with the advent of the smartphone, Google have seen mobile searches increase by 20% a year but the time spent browsing has reduced by 18%. This all suggests we’re turning to the internet more but for shorter amounts of time.

If you want to be noticed then you need to be there, and quickly. Smartphones are used on the go – people are distracted and impatient. They don’t have time to wait for your site or images to load, scroll through pages of search results or read lots of information. People need you to get to the point fast and if you don’t do this, they’ll simply browse away and find someone else who does.

This impacts how you communicate. For retailers this means developing a one-click checkout, for email this means being short, snappy and concise, and for search it’s constantly staying on top of what people are really looking for.

Be useful

The trick is to anticipate the micro moment. Think of what people need, what they’re searching for in these tiny snippets of time and half your job is done. An excellent example of this is from a hotel company who thought about the thousands of people a day who get stranded in the US due to flight cancellations. They focused their paid search activity around people searching for the ‘help-i-need-a-hotel-now’ type phrases, reinforcing their ad copy with ‘Flight cancelled?’ This drove bookings for non-branded search terms by 60%.

Providing your customers with useful information that can be quickly referenced is a great way to get people visiting your site. An estimated 91% of us refer to our phones for inspiration when we’re half way through a task. Take a look at what the most popular content and tools on your site are and make them the most visible on your homepage. For retailers this often means that store location tools are the most popular resources on their mobile site as people are searching for directions on the go. Look at how your customers are using their phones in the real world and make sure your channels work together. According to Google, 82% of people consult their phones in-store – your mobile site, not your sales assistants, may be the most useful source of product information in your store.

We used to phone a friend or our mum for silly questions – now we ask Google. Searches that include the phrase ‘How to…’ on YouTube increase 70% year-on-year meaning people are looking for instructions. Investing in video product demonstrations on social media or creating a ‘questions and answers’ section on your website is a great way of being useful, informative and found. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and think of what they need, answer common questions – however silly or obvious you think the answer may be!

Be there

More searches are made on mobiles than on desktops so you need to invest in your mobile marketing strategy. And when people pick up their phones they want to learn, do or find something right now. Make sure you’re coming up in mobile search results, that your site is mobile enabled and your emails render quickly across all devices.

But it’s not just being there – mobile offers you a distinct advantage when it comes to attracting your competitors’ customers. According to research 90% of smartphone users aren’t sure of which brand they want to buy from when they begin their search. This means it can be a case of ‘right place, right time’ when it comes to acquiring new customers. More than 51% of smartphone users said they discovered a new brand or product through carrying out a search on their phone.

So if you’re in the market for new customers investing in your mobile search might be the smart place to put your money.

These three principles of ‘be fast, be useful and be there’ will take you a long way when it comes to capturing the micro-moment. But you also need to make sure you invest in them throughout your customer’s journey. Whether they’re showing their first signs of interest, doing some research or ready to buy, make sure you’re present at every phase of the path-to-purchase. And never forget to put yourself in the shoes of your customer – ultimately it’s their behaviour and needs that should provide the focus for every marketing decision you make.

All statistics and case studies taken from Google’s paper on micro moments – Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile, 2015.

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