Almost two in three Kiwis use a smartphone. We reach for them constantly: the average person checks their phone 150 times per day. It’s fair to say that we don’t go online anymore, we live online. This is a fundamental change from even five years ago, and has big implications for business.
Instead of people spending their time on the Internet in long, uninterrupted chunks of time, we now connect to the web in hundreds of micro-moments: spontaneous bursts of digital activity that happen throughout the day.
We look for products online while we’re standing in line for a sandwich, or waiting at a supermarket check-out. We use our phones to hunt down a flat white in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, or find out if there is a bus stop nearby. These are moments when we act on a need. They are ‘I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do and I-want-to-buy’ moments.
Businesses need to be present in these ‘micro-moments’ if they want to be helpful and relevant to their customers.
Research we’ve carried out shows nine out of ten people today turn to their smartphone for information or ideas while they’re doing a given task – like cooking, doing their make-up or having a go at repairs around the house. These are the moments in which decisions are being made and preferences shaped.
Brands that are present in that moment – whether through a mobile ad, a how-to video on YouTube or an app that really adds value, are the ones that will benefit. It’s a simple as being helpful when people need help – and more and more, the place people turn for help is their mobile phone.
A great example of this was a recent campaign by petfood maker Pedigree to help locate lost dogs. We worked with Pedigree and Colenso BBDO to create an app that allowed people to report a lost dog immediately via their phone. Mobile ads featuring the lost dog were then served in place of ordinary ads straight away to people in the vicinity. It was a great way for Pedigree to be there for people in their moment of need – and most importantly, for more dogs to be reunited with their owners.
But you don’t need an elaborate campaign to make this work. Think about three basic steps:
- Firstly, understand how your customers might use their phone. For instance, US beauty retailer Sephora realised that many of their customers couldn’t remember what colour makeup they had previously bought – so Sephora helped out by letting people find that information (based on their loyalty program) on its app.
- Secondly, deliver on their need in the moment with a relevant experience – whether it’s some helpful ‘how-to’ hints, or an easy way to buy. IKEA does a great job of providing ‘how-to-assemble’ videos people can hold in the palm of their hand as they put the finishing touches to their new purchase.
- Finally, measure your customers’ response, and use that insight to give people more of what they like. Isuzu Australia used Google Analytics to reassess their marketing strategy, optimised their creative for mobile, and saw a 60 percent year on year increase in conversions.
It goes without saying that your website should be mobile-friendly. There’s nothing worse than trying to read tiny font, or having to scroll to infinity. In 2015, there’s no excuse for a website that infuriates rather than helps.
Our mobile lives have hundreds of micro-moments. That means businesses have the opportunity to be more relevant, and more helpful, than ever before.
Tony Keusgen is head of Google New Zealand.
July 30, 2015