In the past, mobile marketing was largely seen as an extension of interruption-based broadcast marketing mediums such as television, radio and print. You create a piece of advertising content and you then interrupt people who consume content on television, radio, print and mobile with the advertising. Sixteen years ago, back when I started my career in digital by founding Mobext Philippines, mobile marketing was all about blasting SMS messages and SMS promotions to a database of mobile users.
Today, however, in an age where mobile is the primary communications platform of choice for majority of people, such interruption-based, broadcast marketing approaches will simply not work anymore. Brands need a new framework for succeeding in this mobile-first and sometimes even mobile-only generation where people treat mobile as a deeply personal and private device.
Mobile moments as the new framework
People now “snack” on various types of mobile content and services all throughout the day in short time bursts. Google calls these short bursts of content snacking on mobile “micromoments”, coining the term in a landmark research study that they shared globally back in 2015. According to Google, there are four key “micromoments” that brands need to understand and leverage in order to succeed in the age of mobile. These four moments are: I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy.
I-want-to-know moments are those moments when people turn to the internet to research for more information about a product, brand or category. For Google, these I-want-to-know moments start with a Google search, and therefore it is imperative for brands to be found on search engines for queries that people make about their category or product.
I-want-to-go moments are those moments where consumers turn to local search for more information about products and services. Think of those moments where you turn to search to find the nearest Italian restaurant, or the location of the nearest branch of your favorite barber shop.
I-want-to-do moments are those times when people turn to Google or Youtube to get help in performing certain tasks. I remember a time when I got a flat tire in the middle of the highway, with no one to help me. I had never changed a tire back then. What did I do? Turn to Youtube, watch a short clip on how to change tires.
I-want-to-buy moments are those times when people consult Google to search for a product that they would like to buy.
Google isn’t the internet
While the micromoments framework of Google are a great starting point, it simply is not enough as a framework that brands can use to approach mobile marketing in its entirety. The four moments are largely built around the behaviour consumers have around Google’s various properties. But what about the rest of the internet? What about gaming, social, publishers, etc?
We need a more expansive mobile moments framework to be able to properly understand the mobile world and help brands create meaningful customer engagements on mobile. The first step we need to do is to reframe our understanding of Google’s four micromoments, and expand this to include the rest of the internet.
I-want-to-know moments are those times when people use their mobile devices to find more information and research. Aside from search, people consult a plethora of other online properties and services in their research. They consult trusted authority websites—think Tasty for food and recipe content, for example. They listen to the advice of trusted social influencers on Instagram. They consult a whole suite of industry-specific comparison websites and apps to research and compare various products and services.
They also consult with Facebook Groups—a massive, new engagement platform that Mark Zuckerberg is pushing aggressively. Across many product categories, we see people turning to other people for advice and information—and they do so, to a large extent, by being part of a Facebook group, and asking other people for advice within these groups.
Brands need to ask themselves: what kind of content or information are my customers, or prospective customers, looking for? How can I help them discover this content more easily? What digital platforms can I use to make this information more easily accessible to my customers?
I-want-to-go moments are those times when people are looking for a local business. Aside from Google, there are many industry-specific local search platforms that people consult. In the restaurant industry, for example, people consult apps such as Looloo and Zomato. Brands, therefore, need to ask themselves: What digital tools and platforms can I use to help my customers find my business more easily?
I-want-to-do moments are those times when people want help in completing a task or function. This is where all of the various utility-based apps in the market come into play. One thing in common among all the apps that succeed in the market is this: they have genuine utility (they are incredibly useful!), and they help people perform specific tasks quicker, and easier. Food delivery apps help people order food quickly. Travel apps help people travel cheaper and easier. Banking apps help people make financial transactions more easily. Brands, therefore, need to ask themselves: what tasks do our customers require help with? What digital tools can we create in order to help our customers perform these tasks easier?
I-want-to-buy moments are those times when people whip out their phones, ready to buy a product or service. Google is not the only platform they consult when it comes to mobile commerce. Sometimes, they go straight to online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Lazada, Zalora, and many others. They may also go to their favorite Instagram sellers and buy directly from Instagram. Many people, addicted to Facebook, never leave Facebook at all, and choose to buy from other Facebook users via the new Facebook Marketplace. Or, if a brand is powerful and well-funded enough to have its own e-commerce app, people buy directly from the brand’s digital store. The key thing that brands need to consider in this moment is the need to have an e-commerce strategy that incorporates multiple distribution selling platforms, and not to be just reliant on one channel for e-commerce distribution.
Three additional moments are needed
However, Google’s four moments are still not enough to describe the entire range of “content snacking” behaviour that characterises mobile users nowadays. Three additional moments are needed: I-want-to-enjoy, I-want-to-connect, and I-want-to-share. Add these three moments to Google’s four original micromemnts, and you have the Mobext 7 mobile moments framework:
I-want-to-enjoy moments are those times when mobile users snack on mobile content all throughout the day to unwind, de-stress, and relax. These are the moments when people listen to their favorite playlist on Spotify, watch a couple of funny videos posted by their friends on Facebook, or play their favorite mobile game. For brands to succeed in these moments, they need to ask themselves this question: What kind of content or service can I create to help my customers relax and enjoy? One social “engagement hack” that has worked so well for one of our pharmaceutical clients is to create simple, mini-games on Facebook, such as an online trivia game.
I-want-to-connect moments are those times when people want to connect with other people, or with businesses/brands, using digital tools. These are the moments when people connect with their favorite influencers, chat with their friends on Messenger, inquire from a particular business using their website or other platforms such as chat and messaging.
The key thing that brands need to ask themselves in this moment is this: How can I help my customers connect with their fellow customers who may have similar needs and aspirations like them (eg, mothers with babies, owners of specific types of cars, etc)? What digital tools can we use to help customers connect with my brand more quickly and easily?
I-want-to-share moments are those times when people find content so compelling, so riveting, that they simply need to share this to their friends. The ultimate compliment that a person can give to a brand is to recommend their brand—or their brand’s content—to their friends, particularly on social media. Sometimes, creating these “shareable moments” are quite simple and inexpensive. One of our clients, for example, had a nice catchy jingle that was quite popular offline. To increase its reach online, what we did was to create a simple online competition which invited people to record themselves performing the brand’s jingle (through song, dance or both), in order to get a chance to win some prizes. We got close to 80 original renditions of the brand’s song in the process, resulting in millions of free organic views—at a very, very low cost.
Winning with mobile moments
The key to winning in mobile is not to win through interruptive advertising—that era is long gone. To create meaningful engagements with customers on mobile, brands need to start thinking in terms of moments. Mobile marketing needs to be planned around moments of delight for customers, not moments of interruption. The 7 mobile moments framework will help brands succeed in this mobile-first and mobile-only marketing era.
Arthur Policarpio is the chief executive officer of Mobext Philippines.