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Why brands should tap into micro-moments

Marketers need to change their playbooks to more effectively reach hyper-connected Asian customers and get them to transact, Simon Kahn, CMO at Google Asia Pacific, said in an interview with Marketing.

Asian countries continue to dominate the rankings for the highest smartphone penetration.  Globally,  Singapore claims the second spot with 88% penetration rate while other Asian countries dominating the rankings are: Hong Kong at 79%, Taiwan at 78%, South Korea at 83% (see charts below), Google’s latest consumer barometer insights revealed.

When it comes to m-commerce, Thailand tops the chart with 31% of its online shoppers using their smartphones to purchase new products.  Malaysia ranks fifth at 20% with Singapore closely following behind at the sixth spot with 18% of online shoppers buying new swag on their smartphones(see charts below).

From a shopper marketing perspective, Asians tend to do more with their phone, reflecting a major behavioural shift that marketers need to be attuned to. Even search on mobile has become a primary platform for Asian users; for example, in Japan mobile search surpasses desktop queries.

The high usage of phones also means that consumers have the expectation of finding information that is both useful and easily available for them.

Touting them as “micro-moments”, Google highlights the key moments that should matter most: the I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-do, and I want-to-buy moments.

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. Asia’s embrace of the smartphone has made micro-moments more important to marketers here, more than in any other region, according to Google.

I-want-to-do moments

I-want-to-do moments are those moments when you want know to how to curl your 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.

In the Philippines, 55% of smartphone users and in India 53% smartphone users watch online videos to learn something new, compared to just 22% in the US.

Kahn cited an example from Unilever India’s “Be Beautiful” YouTube channel — a hub for beauty tips and tutorials, and Nestl, which also tapped into this behavioural shift by featuring cooking videos on their YouTube channel.

I-want-to-buy moments

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.

Capitalising on this trend, A didas started using location information in their online ads to direct shoppers to their stores. This trend is evident in Malaysia, where 91% of mobile searches lead to further action – whether 3 it’s looking for more information, or purchasing a product or service. In Singapore the figure is 84%.

I-want-to-go moments

Consumers also turn to their phones for local information and immediate answers. 41% of Indonesian smartphone owners turn to mobile when they have an immediate need to find a local business, while in Malaysia, 76% of purchase related conversions happen within 5 hours and 33% within an hour of a mobile search.

Citibank is one of the brands that acted on this I-want-to-go moment and started using a location-aware app as a key part of its online marketing strategy, Kahn explained.

Brands can leverage Asia’s micro-moments by firstly identifying the micro-moments that are relevant to your business across the entire consumer journey at various points in time. Brands should deliver on consumers’ needs at the right moment. Context should define your content across channels and devices to build seamless experiences for the moment.Lastly, brands should make sure their websites are optimised for mobile to ensure the consumer’s best mobile experience.

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