Mountain View, CA – We are always on the lookout for interesting clues and ideas that reinforce or expand upon the trends that we track (in case you missed it, our most recent trend report – 2016 Digital Trends – can be found here). Recently, we came across a great concept that Google has been promoting – something that really ties into one of our 2016 digital trends, “Naked Without It”, which is all about the major role that smartphones play in our daily lives. If it’s coming from Google, we must be on the right track!

The concept that Google has been pushing is the idea of “micro-moments” – times when people are turning to their smartphones to take action on things that they need or want right at that moment, and are looking for information to help inform choices and decisions. These are moments that people are very open to the influence of brands, and new digital technologies are creating opportunities for connecting with them in a meaningful way at these individual points in time. While a lot of the language and focus is on making a consumer product or retail ‘sale’, there are a lot of things that can be applied to the world of healthcare marketing. Here are a few highlights:

Stop thinking in sessions and start thinking in spurts –

We spend 177 minutes on our phones per day—mobile sessions that average a mere 1 minute and 10 seconds long, dozens and dozens of times per day. It’s like we’re speed dating with our phones.

The days of sitting down to a long internet session in front of a desktop computer are long gone. We can now act upon any impulse or question at any time by pulling out our favorite mobile device. In the past year, websites have seen a 20% increase in mobile’s share of the visits, and an 18% decrease in the time spent per visit. The interesting thing is that this quick in/quick out behavior isn’t just for on-the-spot research like “restaurants near me” or “movie showtimes”. People are also using this technique to chip away at bigger decisions and goals.

Consider both intent and context – Google suggests that in order to “be there” and be relevant for your customers in these micro-moments, you need understand the top things in your category that they want to know or do and ask yourself if you are supporting those inquiries. Understanding trending searches and top question-phrased searches is key. Also critical is context–where and when are people having these moments, and should you have a different presence based on that. Bringing it back to healthcare… When a physician is using her mobile phone to quickly research something during ‘office hours’ (lets say between 9AM and 6PM), her intent and needs are probably much different than when she is using it at 8PM (and possibly on a different device). How can you tailor your presence to support the difference?

Be useful – Once you better understand what your audience wants to knowand do, you need to connect them to easy to process, relevant information in those moments. When it comes to wanting to know, snackable educational content is king versus a hard sell. Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (for example, to find information or navigate quickly).

Show “how-to” – When someone is looking to do, there is no better way to support than showing them how. This is where video content can play a huge role. It allows users to go at their own pace and can even support someone that shows up mid-task and needs to find their way.

Be quick – Mobile helped to create, and now enables an “I want it NOW!” mentality. It goes without saying that optimizing the brand experience for mobile is key. Among other things, Google suggests trying to eliminate steps in tasks such as registration forms, and to also anticipate needs. Knowing what your users are looking for and doing on mobile will allow you to prioritize calls-to-action for the primary activities on your site and place them in a prominent spot on your homepage. Secondary actions can take a back seat and even be tucked away behind menus.

Micro-moments are all about providing real-time relevance and value. The better our digital tools get at supporting healthcare professional and patients in these moments, the closer our brand experiences will get to matching their new expectations for mobile and beyond. Expectations that are being set every time they: pull out their phone to look for product reviews while browsing in a store, try to book a nearby hotel after having a flight cancelled, or even watch a mobile video on how to retile a bathroom floor.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Giermek