Mobilize Your Mobile Team

In this technological day and age ruled by the mobile phone, it is estimated that the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. In fact, 91% of people turn to their phones for help when met with a challenge (Grimshaw, 2017). In addition, 75% of internet usage is predicted to be mobile by the end of 2017 (Gibbs, 2017). 

(As a matter of fact, I am currently editing this blog post on my smartphone using the WordPress app!)

Time Magazine cover showing baby in stroller with smartphones in hands off to the side.
The above Time magazine cover attempts to comment on the ubiquity of the smartphone in the life of the millennial parent and perhaps warn us of the downsides of this modern obsession.

Out of those 150 daily interactions we have with our phones, most of them last for mere seconds, or occasionally a few minutes (Grimshaw, 2017). Back in 2015, Googled named this phenomenon the “micro-moment” (Lewis, 2017). Micro-moments can include checking your email while drinking your morning coffee, replying to an instant message while waiting in line at the supermarket, or scrolling through Instagram during the morning commute. In these highly personal moments, businesses try to discreetly compete for the user’s attention. Any blatant interruptions would be intrusive, however it’s also important to note that these are the very moments (the 91% figure, as listed above) where users are seeking help (Grimshaw, 2017). If brands are quick, relevant, and can successfully help the user find the best deal, research a product, or provide the restaurant reviews, then they will have successfully engaged with the user. 

Google’s Matt Bush illustrates this concept with one of Red Roof Inn’s marketing campaigns. When a series of flight cancellations in the United States caused tens of thousands of passengers to be stranded at the airport, Red Roof Inn’s marketing team tracked these cancellations. Then, they quickly released smartphone advertisements for mobile searches of “hotels” near the airports. The campaign was a success! There was a 60% increase in bookings across non-branded search activity (Grimshaw, 2017). Red Roof Inn expertly grasped the thousands of micro-moments of the stranded passengers – they were quick and firm, and their efforts paid off. 

Evidently, the proliferation of these micro-moments entails that companies (especially mobile companies) should modify their marketing approach, in order to continue influencing consumers across all stages of the purchasing cycle. As an illustration, consider these two comparisons:

  1. The Research. Consumers are constantly and actively researching purchases on their mobile devices. In fact, research conducted in 2016 reveals that across nineteen markets surveyed, nearly “half of all mobile consumers have looked for a better price for a product on their phone” (Gibbs, 2017). Moreover, 43% have researched additional product information, and more than 50% have looked up product reviews (Gibbs, 2017). In this micro-moment, metrics such as brand awareness and recall are relevant, and effective marketing strategies for this are rich creative formats such as video and interstitial or banner creatives (Gibbs, 2017). To build a strong brand, the campaign should grab the audience’s attention and be immersive, while simultaneously providing product information and influencing product awareness. 
  2. The Purchase. Consumers are comfortable with making purchases on their mobile devices. With more and more consumers using the mobile wallet (18% in 2017), as well as simplified online payment platforms, there’s a greater propensity for mobile shopping (Lewis, 2017). To further illustrate, 75% of mobile users have made an mobile purchase in the past six months (Gibbs, 2017). Compared to brand-building, for which highly visual creative formats are most effective, purchase intent warrants simpler and subtler approaches. Specifically, if companies are able to identify the micro-moment when consumers are considering making a purchase (this can be identified with behavioral analytics and search data), they can then sway the decision with interstitial ads and banners (Gibbs, 2017). 

For the average smartphone user, it is standard to scroll around 150 million times per week (Lewis, 2017). That’s 150 million flashes of information passing before our eyes. This also affects mobile attention span. Advertisers have 100% of viewer attention at the beginning of a video advertisement. This number falls to around 25-30% by the fifth second (Lewis, 2017). As a result, in a way, the advertiser has to earn their spot in the feed of information. They must produce appropriately engaging content at the right time and place. By adapting themselves to the platform and the moment, they are then able to position their brand effectively and drive purchases. In terms of specifically capturing the micro-moment, it is a skillful combination of art and science, requiring both the creative and the analytic. 

I will leave you with a series of YouTube advertisements released by American insurance company Geico in 2015, which directly plays with YouTube’s skip feature for video ads (YouTube allows viewers to skip ads after 5 seconds). These advertisements are merely a glimpse at the creative possibilities of mobile advertising. 


Grimshaw, Colin. (February 2017). Mobile marketing: Be in the micro-moment. Admap Magazine. Retrieved from

Gibbs, Ian. (February 2017). How marketers can engage consumers effectively in micro-moments. Admap Magazine. Retrieved from

Lewis, Digby. (February 2017). The 5 strategies for communicating in micro-moments. Admap Magazine. Retrieved from