We all know, if only based on our own experience, that the growth of mobile technology is fundamentally changing the way that we consume information. I recently attended a session presented by Google to hear about the changes happening in how consumers interact with mobile. Better understanding how consumers use mobile in their daily lives lets marketers better address consumers’ needs – needs that are happening in what Google calls a “micro-moment.”
It won’t surprise many readers to know that people are using their phones to search more often. What is surprising is that within each search session, consumers are spending less time on their mobile device. This means that although marketers might have an increased opportunity to reach customers while they continue to search for more things, brands have only moments to satisfy a user’s need.
Broadly speaking, consumers are using mobile in 4 critical situations:
- I-want-to-know moments: Have you ever been chatting with a friend or colleague when they mention a fabulous new restaurant? How long did it take for you to whip out your phone and look up the menu or read the restaurant’s reviews? I-want-to-know moments happen when consumers need to figure something out. A Google Consumer Survey indicates that 64% of Canadians report searching for something on their phone that they’ve heard in conversation.
- I-want-to-go moments: Mobile phones effectively act as personalized concierges, letting consumers know what’s close to them that will serve their needs. An increasing number of searches contain the phrase “near me” or “close by” and more than 80% of smartphone users report using a search engine to find a local business.
- I-want-to-do moments: A whopping 41% of Google searches are goal-oriented. Figuring out how to make a homemade pie crust, change the oil in your car, or build a treehouse no longer require a friend or family member who can guide you step-by-step. These micro-moments are some of the most important for marketers to capitalize on: 75% of conversions (for example – store visits, purchases, downloads, etc.) happen within an hour of goal-directed search.
- I-want-to-buy moments: The days of trusting only the sales clerk to deliver accurate product information, or simply reading the product packaging, are giving way to mobile product research. Here consumers can compare and contrast product features or prices with a competitor, all from the comfort of one’s smartphone. Indeed, 70% of Canadian smartphone users refer to their phones while they’re in a store.
What does all of this mean for marketers? For one, marketers must think about how they can help customers in these micro-moments. Successful businesses will have a mobile strategy to make sure they appear on consumers’ phones when they want to buy, do, know, or go somewhere. Relatedly, it might not be the case that your brand will be able to help customers with each micro-moment. Choose the micro-moment that best aligns with your marketing and business objectives and invest there. For example, if your marketing activities are aimed at driving awareness, thinking about consumers’ I-need-to-know moments might make the most sense to focus on. Finally, this research highlights that consumers want value quickly. It’s important, then, to think about how fast information can be absorbed when it’s being consumed on a mobile device. Can a consumer whip out her phone and find exactly what she’s looking for? If not, what needs to change to address her needs, all in a micro-moment?
David R. Kille, PhD, is a Researcher & Strategist at Ariad Communications.
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