30 Billion Mobile Moments a Day Are Up for Grabs

Vibes’s digital wallet campaign for Pep Boys

Forrester Research calculates that each day in the United States people take part in 30 billion interactions on their smartphones. These “mobile moments” need not be lengthy—merely glances to see who just called or what’s on sale at Macy’s; “micro moments” that comprise up to 75% of the interactions consumers have with mobile.

In a new report, Forrester analysts Jennifer Wise and Julie Ask say speed and relevancy are crucial for marketers who aim to seize these moments, and they’ve signaled the emergence of a new class of mobile engagement automation vendors ready to help them do it. “With mobile in play, consumers move from discovering a brand to doing research, making a purchase, and using a product within seconds if not minutes,” they write. “To deliver, mobile demands a new engagement model.”

Mobile engagement automation vendors the likes of Appboy, Localytics, Swrve, Urban Airship, and Vibes should strive to follow the IDEA framework of real-time engagement, the analysts assert. In brief, this mnemonic translates to identifying the right contact moments, designing relevant content, engineering the path to the proper channel, and analyzing performance. For now, mobile automation vendors continue to rely on rules-based programs, though some use low-level machine intelligence capabilities. Their methods for identifying mobile moments fall into three categories:

Deterministic: Using explicit, predefined rules for segment composition, event triggers, and what content is to be used in which channels.

Heuristic: Employing artificial intelligence and self-learning to operate with minimal human intervention. Heuristic automation injects analysis into rules creation.

Mixed: Relying on deterministic automation, while applying algorithms to make decisions. For example, marketers could auto-sort users into machine-identified lifecycle segments.

The analysts caution that marketers shopping for such vendors will find it hard to make apples-to-apples comparisons. The 20 that fit Forrester’s definition of mobile engagement automation vendors position themselves under several other rubrics, among them mobile communication management and mobile engagement.

What’s clear, Wise and Ask say, is that these mobile services will be in demand. “Forty-four percent of marketers today still fall within the ‘shrink and squeeze’ stage of mobile maturity, tweaking existing strategies to fit the mobile screen,” they contend. “This doesn’t work. The batch approach to mobile engagement doesn’t account for real-time data to deliver on moments, nor does it help with customer identification when a user walks into a store or when a coupon is about to expire.”

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