On average, consumers turn to their phones as many as 150 times a day, making the ‘mobile-first’ phenomenon a reality that impacts all aspects of life, and of business. In addition to reasons of utility and connectivity, mobile serves many more purposes. Google has put a lens on these in the newest edition of its global study Consumer Barometer.
Google has narrowed the conversation down to moments that brands can relevantly integrate themselves in, terming these as micro-moments. Factoring in consumer behaviour, Google has broken these micro-moments into four categories: ‘I want-to-know’, ‘I want-to-go’ and ‘I want-to-do’, and ‘I want-to-buy’. “These reflect the intent to do something,” said Simon Kahn, Chief Marketing Officer, Google Asia Pacific, in a conversation with DMA, adding, “These are times when consumers need to learn, discover, watch, find, or buy something and they reflexively turn to the closest device, usually a smartphone, to act on that need.”
The growth of smartphones, specifically so in Asia Pacific, has been a key factor in the trends that Google has identified in formulating marketing strategies for the region.
Asia’s embrace of the smartphone has made micro-moments more important to marketers here, more than in any other region. Asia is a global leader in mobile. Five out of the top 10 smartphone adoption markets, including Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, are in Asia.
Mobile is Asia’s primary computing platform. Around 11 out of the 21 markets in the world where smartphone adoption is higher than PC adoption come from Asia — including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Mobile is Japan’s primary search platform.
In Japan, Google search queries on mobile have exceeded desktop search queries.
The smartphone creates its own expectations and loyalties.
The percentage of smartphone owners who use their phones for searching, shopping, and maps is higher in Asia than in Western countries:
#1. 88 per cent of Korean smartphone owners search on their phones at least weekly
#2. 31 per cent of Thai smartphone owners shop on their phones
#3. 41 per cent of Singaporean smartphone owners use maps on their phones
The I-want-to-do-moments are rooted in intent to achieve something, wherein most cases a brand or service is relevant to the consumer. Mr Kahn elaborated, “I-want-to-do moments are those moments when a consumer wants to know something specific such as I want to know to how to curl my hair, fix a bike, or bake a cake. These moments can be incredibly valuable for brands and there are more of these moments in Asia than in the West.”
Videos play an important role here. In the Philippines, 55 per cent of smartphone users and in India 53 per cent smartphone users watch online videos to learn something new, compared to just 22 per cent in the US. Unilever India recognised this when they created their ‘Be Beautiful’ YouTube channel — a hub for beauty tips and tutorials — and Nestle also tapped into this behavioural shift by featuring cooking videos on their channel .
I-want-to-buy moments describe those times when consumers pull out a smartphone to compare prices or look up reviews — even when shoppers want to buy offline.
Looking at the data behind this, it’s easy to see why:
In Malaysia, 91 per cent of mobile searches lead to further action – whether it’s looking for more information, or purchasing a product or service
In Singapore the figure is 84 per cent
In South Korea, 51 per cent of online consumers compared products on a smartphone prior to a purchase (compared to 36 per cent in the US)
In Thailand, 69 per cent of smartphone users research online and purchase offline, compared to 31 per cent in the US
Mobile isn’t just about ecommerce. Consumers turn to their phones for local information to find anything from gyms to restaurants, and when they do this in Asia they want answers fast:
41 per cent of Indonesian smartphone owners turn to mobile when they have an immediate need to find a local business (compared to 28 per cent in the UK)
In Malaysia, 76 per cent of purchase related conversions happen within five hours and 33 per cent within an hour of a mobile search.
Citibank saw that the I-want-to-go moment was crucial in the world of banking and started using a location-aware app as a key part of their online marketing strategy.
“These data points are only reminders of how mobile has transformed consumer behaviour and how that is in turn interesting and transformative for marketers. Consumers are expecting immediacy and relevance,” observed Mr Kahn.
Mr Kahn explained that brands can be present in a consumer’s life in interesting ways in the course of the various I-want-to moments. “There are two important things here. First, brands need to understand that intent matters more than identifying the consumer, and conversion matters like awareness. Second, there is a need for the right mobile assets in addition to right advertising assets,” he said.
His advice to marketers is to fully adopt the best practices so that brands can relevantly be present in a consumer’s life, and add value, creating a meaningful place for themselves.
“Consumers are expecting intelligence from devices. In the past, consumers would get a direct answer back. Today, with voice search, access to data that consumers are willing to provide, various environments are created that need to intuitively understand what a consumer wants. We are also seeing great results from non-intuitive queries. The consumer is putting faith in the device to guide in situation such as traffic routes or general queries, and that is the opportunity for businesses,” summed up Mr Kahn.