Micro engagement? In your dreams

I recently wrote a blog post on micro engagement after scanning a QR Code while I was out and about in London. For those that are too busy or can’t be bothered reading it, micro engagement is the provision of bite-sized snippets of content geared to engage mobile users during the day’s procrastination pit stops and escape-induced intervals. Those moments spent checking phones for emails, text, social notifications and the like, could provide opportunities for brands to target prospects, providing their content catering is relevant, consistent and of a high quality. Anyway, the post lead me to an afterthought…

Micro engagement isn’t actually something that marketers are pushing onto consumers like in the ‘you get what you’re given’ era of TV; it’s a behavioural trend that smartphone owners share. And it’s growing.

How many times a day do you whip out your phone for two minutes to check Facebook, Twitter, emails and texts? I’d wager at least once an hour. At least. That’s a minimum of 12 extra opportunities per day for brands to exorcise micro engagement through the provision of easy to access, easily consumable content that’s worth sharing.

Update: it turns out that econsultancy reckons we check our phone 150 times a day!

12? Is that it?

That’s more than enough to offer a decent return because the effect of content can be immensely amplified on mobile, not just in terms of reach because we’re more connected these days, but also in terms of how it’s processed in our brains. I was exposed to the above Box Park example for just a few minutes and the content was more memorable than most of the traditional channel-utilising campaigns I’ve experienced. We have a deeper relationship with our phones. We spend more time with them than we do with our family and friends. We guard it and protect it because we value it and trust it so much. How many of you have mates that won’t let you anywhere near their phone? Some people would rather hand you a naked photo of a parent than let you handle their precious.

This lays the foundations for us to trust the things that we do on our mobiles, including the brands we’re exposed to and the content we consume. This one-to-one, personal relationship we have with our phone allows content to hit home harder, providing our attention is held and interest sustained. So, if us marketers can slip into these brief moments in the day and provide small snippets of relevant and engaging content for when our potential customers are virtually killing time, we could turn micro engagement into an earner.

The Future of Micro Engagement

Surely though, with the average person being exposed to over 3,000 marketing messages per day, these mini moments in people’s lives, when they’re procrastinating or seeking relief, are probably a breath of fresh air at the moment. It’s just about the only time we’re not bombarding them with marketing messages. If we force ourselves further into these top pockets of time with this micro engagement lark, will we be thanked or thwarted?

That depends on content quality, relevance and consistency. If we can make ourselves useful to mobile users through providing micro engagement opportunities that entertain or inform, then we’ll soon be targeting every spare second these people have left. Before you know it, we’ll be dreaming of Apple, Google, Coca Cola, and whichever other brands can afford the implants.