Micro-Moments are Changing the Rules in India

Chandrika Maheshwari, Uttara Gupta / March 2016

More people are online in India than ever before. The number of people who have access to the internet (300M+) matches roughly the populations of Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong combined. Moreover, the number of people who own a smartphone (150M) nears the number of smartphone users in the U.S. This unprecedented access is fundamentally changing consumer behavior. With information at the tap of their fingers, Indians don’t go online in long sessions anymore, they live online in shorter, more frequent moments. Some of these moments, such as texting a spouse or checking the time, are less important for brands; but, the intent-rich moments where people turn to their smartphones to get things done give brands countless new opportunities to connect with their consumers. We call them micro-moments and they’re the new battleground for brands.

While watching a movie, Anand (29) saw one of the characters using a sleek eBook reader with a stylus. Intrigued, he pulled out his smartphone to see if he could find the brand and model of the device, while keeping the movie playing in the background.

Rohit (26) loves driving and currently plays the role of the family chauffeur. After years of driving his family car, he’s ready to buy a car he can call his own. In his spare minutes of free time, Rohit turns to Search to help him find the perfect set of wheels.

Kripa (26) is a huge wrestling fan. None of her friends share her passion, so when she found out a WWE match was coming to Delhi, she knew she was on her own to figure out the logistics and make a plan for attending. So she stated her research on her mobile while on the bus home.

These real-life examples can provide marketers insights into Indians’ hundreds of daily micro-moments. With third-party research agencies Nielsen and Third Eye, we analyzed Anand, Rohit and Kripa, and others’ digital behavior over the course of a month. The behaviors we saw were fascinating—and hold the key for how brands can engage Indian consumers effectively and in the moments that matter the most.

Implications for marketers

As compared to last year, mobile internet users in India are spending 20% less time online per visit, but the number of times they use their device to go online has increased by 28%.1 Throughout the day, Indians pick up their phones in intent-rich I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy, and I-want-to-know moments.

This game-changing behavior happening across India has some clear implications for marketers:

Immediacy of action

Just a short time ago, we wouldn’t dream of making a purchase while watching a movie. But smartphones have changed all that. Instead of waiting until the end of the movie, Anand found the eBook reader he spotted in the movie, read the reviews, and decided which e-commerce platform to purchase from right then. This unplanned, but immediate, purchase experience is a good example of how consumers expect to get things done right in the moment.

High expectations

Rohit didn’t want to buy any old car. He wanted to find just the right one. And for that, he turned to search. Throughout his buying process, he searched Google for pictures of car interiors, car prices, detailed specs, videos of cars in action, and reviews. Auto buyers like Rohit have high expectations for a frictionless experience and expect to get relevant information at the tap of a button.

Intent trumps demographics

Not long ago, marketers primarily targeted their message to particular demographics, based on who we thought would be most interested in our products. Today, what matters most isn’t just who our consumers are, but also what they’re looking for in any given moment. Kripa, for example, might have been overlooked by WWE advertisers as she went about buying tickets and looking for event information. But in our micro-moments world, a consumer’s intent in that exact moment is more important than what demographic they fit.

"Mobile internet users spend 20% less time per visit online YoY, but the number of times they use their device to go online has increased by 28%."

Takeaways for marketers

As internet access and smartphone ownership continues to skyrocket in India, the number of people looking for information and inspiration right in the moment will also continue to grow.

Here are the key things your brand can do to meet Indian consumers as they seamlessly move across web, search, videos, and apps in their micro-moments.

Be There:

Anticipate the micro-moments users will have along their journeys and commit to being there in those moments. Ultimately, showing up gets your brand in the game to be chosen, not just seen.

Be Useful:

Be relevant to consumers’ needs in the moment they need it. That means connecting people to what they’re looking for in real time and providing relevant information when they need it.

Be Quick:

They’re called micro-moments for a reason. Mobile users want to know, go, and buy swiftly. If speed thrills, friction kills. Your mobile experience has to be fast and frictionless.

Nielsen and Third Eye recruited of a diverse set of users including a mix of smartphone and desktop users, users from metro cities (Delhi and Mumbai) and non-metro cities (Indore and Vishakhapatnam), and a representative mix of men and women. Panelists opt-ined and installed an app that tracked usage of their devices. Every day the panelist shared key intent-driven moments and weekly they provided a deep dive of their digital highlights. Each panelist was tracked for four weeks. At the end of four weeks, panelists and researchers had a face-to-face sync in which they revisited and identified key digital moments. All names in this article have been changed.

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