How micro-moments keep your social media mobile ads underperforming and 3 easy fixes to raise conversion between 7–14%

What you need to know:

1. Mobile Has Changed the Rules of User Interaction

Our relationship with our mobile phone is the polar opposite of the one we have with our laptop or desktop computer. While the former resembles more of speed-dating, we could better describe the later as a long-lasting relationship. Of course I am referring to how our mobile and computer sessions look like.

According to data from Google, while the average person spends 177 minutes on his phone each day, these mobile sessions average a mere 1 minute and 10 seconds long. This is the complete opposite of computer sessions, that are fewer in number and much longer in duration. In fact, the difference between computer and mobile sessions is so vast, that we needed to employ a new term to describe them, that of micro-moments.

Quoting google:

Micro-moments are critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.

Simply put, the consumer journey in mobile platforms consists from countless micro-moments, moments when we turn to our device to take action on whatever we need. It’s within those moments that we search the web, communicate, purchase products, get the latest information from the social media and of course interact with brands through strategically placed promoted content.

2. The Consumer Journey in Mobile Is Goal Oriented

We can categorize the user interaction into four main groups: I want to know, I want to go, I want to do and I want to buy moments. All these micro-moments, fundamentally are moments of decision making. In each one of these short-time sessions, the user is actively filtering the information provided by the internet and makes his opinion for all shorts of things, such as his next travel destination, next purchase or your brand.

And more importantly this approach extends in-app. User sessions on Twitter or Facebook, tend to be extremely goal oriented.

When a user starts a session on Facebook, he wants to compose a status update, see his friends’ updates, read the latest news from the pages he follows, comment and like the posts on his wall; if he’s on twitter, then he wants to tweet, retweet, favourite and follow. In both cases, following links to external content such as landing pages, sign-up forms or the App Store, will inevitably lead to the termination of his current session in the social media. This goes against his initial “I want to know/go/do” decision and thus promoted content is being habitually skipped.

An interesting metaphor is to describe this behaviour as the law of inertia in the social media: “It is the tendency of a user to resist a change in his goal-oriented micro-moments”

Micro-moments are merely touchpoints within a single flow of events. They do not extend to secondary flows, created by the user interaction with promoted material.

3. Understanding the User Psychology

The basic drives behind the mobile experience, are the desire to continue seeing contextual content (such as the tweets of your followers) and the impulse to jump into any kind of eye-catching, relevant and stimulating promoted material (such as registering for a discount coupon or getting a new app download).

Consequently, the decision depends on how much interesting the social feed looks like at a given moment, how relevant the promoted content is and various external factors.

On the other hand, computer users tend to engage more often with promoted content in the social media, through the implementation of multiple secondary flows into their internet sessions. Simply put, their customer journey is not structured into micro-moments, all their goals and impulses co-exist within a continuous multiverse of flows.

Users that engage through an ad in their computer are more likely to click and open multiple links in separate tabs, then view them after they finish their social media session, or in between while switching back and forth.

This multi-flow costumer journey in desktop computing vs the single-flow micro-moments oriented costumer journey in mobile, has a significant impact in the way a digital marketeer should strategise his campaigns.

How to Tackle This Problem:

1. Go Native

The most obvious step is to implement as much native promoted content as possible. Use a signup form inside a tweet to subscribe users, try to directly engage in conversation with prospective clients, use medium instead of the traditional website blog. Try to engage within the community instead of taking your users outside the platform.

There is only one exception in that rule: Mobile apps

Although getting the app means for the users to briefly connect to the App Store or Google Play and consequently terminate their previous session, users are actually willing to do that, …which actually makes sense. Downloading and installing apps is the only internet activity, exclusively reserved for your time on mobile and trying new apps remains one of the core satisfactions while using a smartphone.

2. Do Not Distribute Your Funds Evenly

In case your target group is computer users (you could be making software or developing services that are most likely to be accessed from desktops,ex. coding courses), do not distribute your advertising funds evenly between desktop and mobile users. Even when most of your traffic comes from mobile devices, data suggest that mobile users will not prioritise signing up for desktop services while being on mobile. As a result your conversion rates will appear to be lower and your PPC higher.

3. Focus on Conversion Instead of PPC

Be prepared that PPC in mobile will be possibly higher (unless you’re promoting mobile apps) and conversion rates lower, because micro-moments are extremely goal oriented. Generally speaking, PPC is prone to influence by factors unknown, maybe unknowable (so it’s not a safe indicator). Black Friday, Cyber Monday, your target industry, demographics, can all drive your PPC way up and it’s literally out of your influence. It’s important to focus on clicks or interactions per impressions ratio, as a quality indicator, than on metrics that can lead you to the wrong direction.