A new breed of consumers have arrived. Empowered by mobile, today’s consumers can get exactly what they want, instantly and effortlessly. As a result, they are more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever before. For marketers, this means these consumers are also tougher to reach and tougher to please. A brand’s ability to leverage data to anticipate their needs will define its ability to grow. – Think with Google
People are empowered by mobile every single day. In fact, it’s become a productivity-boosting tool, writes Google’s head of ads research and insights, Sara Kleinberg.
Customer experience with mobile disruption
Remember those times when commuting for long hours in local transports meant nothing but intermittently looking at your watch? With nothing else to do, you would either stare out of the window or anxiously wait to reach your destination. Well, the transport system may have improved over time, but there are many of you who still spend considerable time travelling on a daily basis. The world is turning smarter and so has our mobile devices. The intermittent glances towards watches have been replaced with mobile phones. In fact, when you look around at any group of people waiting for anything you will know what I am talking about.
A significant percentage of people can be found looking into their smartphones. Trust me not all of them are playing games. So is the impact of smartphones in the lives of modern day customers.
Immense is the word.
The smartphone has become irreplaceable in many cases in getting things done. Google’s latest research found that:
75% of people say their smartphones help them to be more productive. But it’s more than that. Productivity has an emotional impact as well. 54% of people say their phones reduce stress and/or anxiety in their lives. As one person told us, “It provides me with immediate gratification. I am able to do all of this without being in front of a laptop.”
Those are good emotions for brands to be connected with.
A typical customer today, may have several hundreds of digital touchpoints (Google calls them micro-moments) before say, they book a hotel and other details of their trip. In some of the studies that Google and their partner have shared, there were between 40 to 1000 digital moments involved in travel planning and booking by customers. The increase in mobile devices means, that customers can now take action to address their needs instantly and spontaneously. Google defines these instances as micro-moments when a customer reflexively turns to a (generally mobile) device to meet an immediate need.
With mobile, brands must have the content in place to reach to their customers when they are in their online customer experience. Brands need to know: what are potential customers doing online? What will motivate them to convert during these micro-moments? This is where marketers come in. The mobile ecosystem is making marketers responsible for helping brands identify customer intention using search data. By that we mean, addressing these micro-moments with useful content optimised for mobile. Hence micro-moments primarily deal with improving the digital touchpoints on mobile in the customer journey.
A study of smartphone usage
To thoroughly understand smartphone usage, Google’s researchers have studied people’s behaviour during their day to learn what prompts them to look into their smartphones. You can think of them as different mental states of a person. Understanding them is a good way forward for marketers to capitalise on these micro-moments and improve customer experience.
A trigger: An urge to know
The usage of smartphones have become so usual and is embedded in our systems, that sometimes we hardly recognise what provokes us to see our phones. When I read about the research findings from Google, I realised that I had done them more often than not. A sudden trigger in my head on seeing something or just a thought that occurs to me often makes me turn to the device available at my arm’s length. My phone.
When I remembered hearing about a book from somebody, I immediately reached out to my phone to check if it’s available online.
I see a building on the road which interests me, I look into my phone to check out what it is.
Need: Finding go to places
Anybody with a smartphone will be familiar with this. If you are in search of anything you want around your vicinity or in any other area, you invariably turn to your phone. Lost direction? Again you have your solution in your palms.
82% of smartphone users rely on a search engine when looking for a local business, and 73% lose trust in business when its online information is not updated. This has created the need for geolocation and beacon technology, where brands can engage customers with relevant messaging when they are near a store location. Through appropriate visual content, brands can exhibit their inventory and product benefits at a moment when a customer is looking for it.
Online customers look up for more information online than ever before. What does it mean for marketers looking to engage during such micro-moments? Content needs to be informational, not sales-driven. Customers are more capable of handling their own inquiry and want brands to be aiding that process, not trying to control it.
Information: At the click of a button
The unparallel ease of fetching information has had an interesting consequence. Customers now actively seek new ideas of what to do, and how to do it. Today, 91% of smartphone users turn to their phones for ideas while doing a task, and more than 100 million hours of “how-to” content have been watched on YouTube last year. For marketers looking to capitalise on the “I-want-to-do” moments, again, adding benefits to the customers’ lives is essential.
The call-to-action on content must be exact and logical. In these micro-moments, customers want practical information they can actually use. Shoppers use their phones to look for better prices, look for coupons, read reviews, and look for supervision. Insert your product or service organically into the conversation, and let the customers figure out the rest.
The industry has seen a 29% increase in mobile conversion rates in the past year. In-store, a majority of smartphone users check on their phones while deciding what to buy. In these moments, brands are ready to sell to their customers. However, it’s difficult to tell when, or where, these moments will occur. People decide to buy at home or on the go on their mobile devices. By setting up a sophisticated program in the moments leading up to “I-want-to-buy,” brands can derive from behavioural signs to initiate conversion-based messaging once a customer is ready to receive it.
Utilising every moment is what Google describes as micro-moment productivity, also helping people to plan ahead of time. Rightly so. If you are, again, commuting or stuck in traffic or waiting for a token call, why not make your list of to do things? In your next interval of waiting why not accomplish a possible task if it can happen online. Brands have to be on the alert. Stay updated online to make sure people do not miss out on any updates from their store. Details as tiny as an abrupt shop closure if notified online can save customers the trouble of turning up at the store to find it closed.
As a result of mobile disruption, the customer journey has been split into hundreds of smaller decision-making moments across all stages. People have computers in their hands now which makes judgement call more dynamic. Staying relentlessly in the moment, with the most recent information updated online is what brands can do best to provide a seamless experience for their customers.
Also published on Medium.