Although Google seems to have coined the phrase, micro-moments are not a Google invention. You and I invented them by how we behave. And now it’s influencing marketing. Big time. How’s that possible for a word that still doesn’t exist in Wikipedia but gives over 43 million results when I seek it on Google?
So what are micro-moments really?
In the fragments of the lives we live today, they are best summed up as the stolen media moments in-between. Examples? The quick look at todays news while you’re on the bus on your way to work. The link you came across and clicked while you were really only checking a message on Facebook while waiting for a friend in a restaurant. The search you did in that same restaurant to figure out an item on the menu in French. And the reviews you checked on the way there to just to be sure. And then there’s that YouTube video you searched up at work to find out how the new microwave worked when the manual had already been lost. The list is endless for just one single day. Try it for yourself for a day – you might be surprised.
Some buzzword seekers try to limit it to a mobile phenomena. Which it is. But not just. Through the eyes of Google it may seem like a search thing. Which it is. but not just. It’s about how we behave, largely because of two things:
- Vast amounts of information available at our fingertips 24/7
- The fragmentation of our media consumption time into very small, specific pieces, largely as a result of availability
We jump in and out of media on one subject at a time, many times a day. Yes, we may sit down and read page by page or surf around once in a while, but at the end of the day, the majority of our media consumption is spent in many very small increments.
So what does this mean for pull marketing?
It means that pull marketing, aka. inbound marketing, is the only way to stay relevant to the consumer in these very short media moments. Now more than ever you need to match your marketing to where that consumers head is at that moment, as relevant as possible. Demographics and old fashioned targeting is much less important than what they wan’t at that moment. If my micro moment is playing a game while I wait for the bus, I wan’t to be entertained. It’s hardly the time to sell me insurance. But you can sell me other entertainment alongside that game. And if I’m seeking a restaurant in a given area, you might be able to hijack me to another. Or to a bar near by first. But probably not to an appliance store in another town.
Programatic will be key to micro-moment marketing
Obviously, It’s impossible to follow these micro-moments with marketing manually. This is one of the reasons why it’s such a Google thing – search is and has always been rigged for this. Search engine marketing has always been triggered by what you seek in any given moment. But that doesn’t mean other forms of marketing can’t maximise on the same benefits. Programatic offers vast new possibilities to target your advertising to consumers by what they are doing right now. A set of conditions can easily dictate what creative is served. But it requires a different way of thinking about developing good campaigns.
The need to let go
What will stop many marketers is the thought of making all the different creative formats. Already 13 banner formats for Google Display Ads seem daunting. Multiply that by various messages to be in the right place at the right time with just the right message and it can become overwhelming. There are simple programatic solutions that change content in ads depending on context, but that means less control of the look of the ad. Most likely we’ll have to sacrifice some visual control of the marketing to win contextuality. Will it mean less need for creatives? I don’t think so. We’ll just ´need a different kind of creative work. We’ll need those that thrive in imagining every possible customer journey and finding the right answer to the likely customers’ every possible request. Many of the best creators, as well as their clients, will probably have to let go of some visual control of the end result, to get rewarded with more complex, exciting conceptual work instead.
We want this because, when you think about it, the programatic marketing solutions available are only as great as the creative work we put into them. And with so little time, we want every micro-moment to be great, right?