It’s one of the biggest cliches around: Marketers should aim to reach the right consumer at the right place at the right time. But part of what makes it so prevalent is that, well, it’s true. Marketers absolutely should aim for that. However, the proliferation of mobile devices makes it easier said than done. Though the right place is essentially everywhere, determining the right time is trickier.

The smartest brands know that it’s not about reaching people; it’s about connecting with them. According to Harvard Business Review research, connecting with customers on an emotional level can increase the number of active customers by 15%, while boosting their advocacy by 6%.

A new study from mobile advertising network Kiip found that the key to those connections are centered on mobile moments, the combined result of an event and context.

“Ideally, advertisers should think less about impressions on a page and pixels of real estate, and instead think about the user experience,” says Stephanie Klimaszewski, Head of Marketing at Kiip. “What is significant to a user on their mobile device? As marketers, we can address these little moments in a much more efficient, relevant way.”

Breaking down the moments

Kiip’s agency partner, Assembly Media, created a grid designed to earmark and quantify people’s emotions during different moments within their mobile experience. The result of a survey of 125,000 consumers, those emotions include seeking enjoyment, stability and reassurance; and wanting to lead, participate, fit in, stand out and explore.

Understanding the context of different moments gives marketers a better understanding of the right messages to deploy. Different moments are prevalent throughout the day. The desire for stability peaks early in the morning, while people are generally looking to stand out throughout the day.

emotional moments throughout the day

One of the most interesting takeaways for Klimaszewski is the dichotomy between enjoyment on two different graphs measuring scale and engagement. For scale, enjoyment is through the roof; for engagement, it’s dead last.

enjoyment - scale
enjoyment - engagement

“Our takeaway is simply that as humans, we all want to ideally have an element of enjoyment and pleasure at all times,” says Klimaszewski. “Our theory is that on the path to enjoyment, people know what they like and how to find it. A brand advertiser message there might be intrusive, especially if it doesn’t fuel your love of whatever it may be. But during the need to fit in or be reassured, people feel more much vulnerable. A brand offering a particular lifestyle or sense of community might be more welcome.”

Putting it into practice

Social listening seems like one easy way for brands to gauge consumers’ emotions. What are they tweeting about or posting about on Facebook? What kind of language are they using? But at the same time, social media posts are often aspirational and should be taken with a grain of salt.

taking social media with a grain of salt

“Going back to our methodology, we asked: ‘In this moment or app experience, what were you seeking the most?” Klimaszewski says. “Because it was a private survey, we have no reason to believe anyone would bother lying. We found that listening to music is often about not being alone, the way lyrics resonate and how it can capture the human experience.”

So how can a marketer actually make the most of these mobile moments?

  • Ask yourself which of the eight is most in line with your value offers—and make sure to be present. The desire for reassurance fits naturally with a beauty brand like L’Oréal, for example. If you’re a travel brand like JetBlue, consider that the average consumer is most inclined to seek out exploration early in the morning.
  • Consider where you’re currently place media. Do certain platforms correspond more with certain emotions? Music is heavily associated with belonging; what’s more nostalgic and comforting than a favorite song? Advertising on Spotify or Pandora, brands can adapt their creative to reflect that.
  • Don’t confuse a solution with a moment. Klimaszewski points out that if someone Googles “pizza” or opens up their Domino’s app, they’re not likely to be seeking reassurance or stability; they’re probably just hungry.

“That’s not really a moment,” she adds. “There’s no true action happening. It’s essentially contextual targeting, which has been reframed as a moment and is doing a disservice to the industry.”


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