If life is a series of moments, the advertising industry has spent a lifetime trying to create opportune moments – times when consumers are paying attention and receptive to advertising messages. Effective advertising, especially video-based advertising, often emulates a ‘moment in time’, depicting people who resemble us, doing things we enjoy or aspire to do more of – such as eating chocolate, drinking coffee, having a home loan approved or driving a shiny new car. The use of visual and verbal hooks produces the ‘aha moment’ when we realise that whatever is being advertised has sufficient appeal to make us want to open our wallets.
The concept of the Moment has become part of the lingua franca of Marketing, with the realisation that digital channels offer far more opportunities for brands to generate and share individual moments with their customers. More than a year ago, The Drum reported that ‘Meaningful Moments’ were all the rage in Silicon Valley, as social platforms explored ways to make brands relevant to people at times when they are metaphorically ‘tuned in’.
Google realised years ago that search created ‘Moments of Truth’, where people searching for information about a brand would very quickly form an impression from the first content they saw in search results. The search engine giant continues to evolve its thinking – and to shape that of Marketers – about these online moments which provide unique and highly personal chances to influence opinions and purchase behaviour. In these moments, preferences are determined and often decisions are made. Marketing has to be clever at getting the right content in front of the right person at the right time. Mobile has made this task more challenging, as the number of moments available for interaction has snowballed because consumers are online constantly, wherever they are.
Which leads us on to Micro Moments – defined as the ‘I want to buy’, ‘I want to go’, ‘I want to do’ and ‘I want to know’ times that occur every day and which lead us to search for whatever fulfils the specific requirement we have in mind. In fact, search behaviour means that Google can pretty much read the minds of those who use its search capabilities to mediate between their latest wish and those individuals or organisations who can fulfil it.
So far, so good. It gets complicated, however, when a whole host of brands want to seize the same moment. This is why paid search and SEO have carved out a generous slice of Marketing budget, designed to drive consumers to Owned sites where they can learn and buy, book and do in response to each Micro Moment as the urge takes them.
However, SEO may not be the most efficient way to seize the moment, as it’s rather like pushing water uphill by persuading the search engine to promote results. Rather than relying on SEO to create links and drive Owned content up the search rankings, it’s far easier to focus content marketing placements on those media which will be there already. For any given search term there will be sites which Google perceives as valuable and these sites get promoted automatically – all the brand has to do is produce the right content. It seems the ‘right place’ part of the equation is just as important as ‘right time’. For many things, the high-profile national media remain important, but there are other media which are less difficult to get into, but have equally strong status with Google. When these sites publish content, the chances of it being seen by a consumer ‘having a moment’ are much improved.