The device in your pocket or sitting next to you on the desk: how would you describe its role in your life?
For most of us, it’s not only a necessity, but a lifeline. That little device is transforming our lives, whether we actively notice it or not. It enables and offers new ways of doing and learning things, helps us discover new ideas, manages our to-dos, tackles our problems, and inspires our plans.
Mobile search behavior is a good reflection of our growing dependency: across the globe, including the United States, more searches take place on mobile devices than on desktops. Mobile has become our go-to. When we want or need something, we tune in through urgent and self-initiated bursts of digital activity. Take the often quoted statistic that we check our phones 150 times a day. Couple that with another that says we spend 177 minutes on our phones per day, and you get a pretty fascinating reality: mobile sessions average a mere 1 minute and 10 seconds long, dozens and dozens of times per day.
Behind these mobile bursts are tons of interactions, like texting a spouse with dinner plans, shooting off a quick work email while waiting in line at the bank, or posting a picture on Facebook of your super cool Airbnb in Italy. These moments are a common part of life, but they’re not moments when we’re necessarily looking to engage with brands. And if a brand tries to butt in with a distracting or irrelevant message? Swipe. But in other moments, we’re very open to the influence of brands. These are the moments when we want help informing our choices or making decisions. For marketers, these moments are an open invitation to engage. And they’re the moments you have to be ready for. For these moments, Google coined the term “micro-moment.”
As defined by Google, a “micro-moment occurs when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.”
Being in the Micro-Moment
As a brand, being present at all phases of the consumer journey, not just when someone is ready to buy, is where the biggest opportunities exist. To accomplish this, Google has defined four micro-moments that represent the full range of user needs.
In the I-Want-to-Know Moments, the consumer is exploring and researching, but not yet in purchase mindset. They’re looking for useful information, educational resources, an inspiration. In this phase, curiosity can be triggered by anything, as well as satisfied at any time. 65% of online consumers look up more information online now versus a year ago, and 66% of smartphone users turn to their phones to look something they saw offline.
In the I-Want-to-Go Moment, we’re searching for local businesses or considering buying a product at a store near our location. In this phase, “being there” means getting your physical business in the consumer’s consideration set at that very moment. In the last year, “near me” searches have doubled, and 82% of smartphone users go to a search engine when looking for a local business.This is a true testament to how our digital lives connect us to the physical world.
I-Want-to-Do Moments may come before or after the purchase. These are essentially “how-to” moments where people are searching for help with getting something done or trying out something new. In this moment, being there with the right content is key, as we seek instruction for just about everything. “How-to” searches are growing by a rate of 70% year-over-year on YouTube, and 91% of smartphone users turn to their phones for ideas or advice while doing a task.
The I-Want-to-Buy Moment is that period of time where the consumer is ready to make a purchase, but may need help deciding what to buy and/or how to buy it. We cannot assume that they’ll seek you out – we must be there at the precise time with the accurate information to seal the deal.
In order to win the heart and dollars of consumers in these micro-moments, we’ll need to do a whole lot more than just show up. Being useful and meeting consumer needs in these moments is critical – it means connecting people to what they’re looking for in real time and providing relevant information when they need it. With mobile, doing so is both more important and more achievable than ever. How so? Well, with mobile we’re able to add a rich understanding of context to consumers’ underlying intent. That context provides critical insights into consumer behavior—and therefore powerful clues for how you can be most relevant and useful for people in their moments of need.
1. Google Consumer Surveys, August 2015, Smartphone Users, n=729. 2. Google Consumer Surveys, August 2015, Smartphone Users, n=1,666. 3. Mitek and Zogby Analytics, September 2014. 4. Google internal data for 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan, April 2015. 5. Kleiner Perkins Caufeld & Byers, 2013 Internet Trends Report. 6. Flurry Analytics, Comscore, Q4 2014.