Ashley Smith-Hammond

Micro-moments are all about displaying the right content, to the right audience at the right time.

Scottish Ballet have run active digital marketing campaigns for a number of years now* and experience has shown them that it isn’t always possible to predict what will and won’t yield results.

What works

Testing a number of different types of online advertising across multiple platforms, including Google and Facebook, helped Scottish Ballet identify exactly what works.

The team quickly discovered that great visuals go a long way, especially dancers in motion and face on. Video works even better, showing a massive seven times more engagement than other types of post – this has also been the case for National Museums of Scotland.

Touring destinations also matter. Featuring the location of a performance results in three times as many clicks on the ad. In certain cities like Edinburgh and London customers want to know the price, in other places it doesn’t make such a difference.

Now they had a pretty solid idea of what helps Scottish Ballet engage the audience. The key to unlocking the potential of this data was to know when to reach them. This is where micro-moments come in.

 What are micro-moments?

‘Micro-moments’ are a bit of a buzzword in marketing right now. The phrase essentially means the times in the day when users want to know something, do something, go somewhere or buy something. Then they reach for their mobile device to help them.

Maybe you want to make plans for the weekend or research a product. You might search on your phone standing in a store deciding which one to buy. This action has become so commonplace we hardly even realise we’re doing it.

By studying when information is most relevant to your customers, targeted marketing becomes possible, letting your organisation reach the right people at the right time.

When are Scottish Ballet customers’ micro-moments?

In previous campaigns, Scottish Ballet’s ads were performing best at commuter times. People sitting on buses and trains on the way to and from work were busy making plans for the weekend on their phones.

These days things have shifted slightly. They generally see an uplift of paid traffic on the site on a Sunday. Broadly, things tend to pick up at the end of the week and into the weekend. Users come through between 7-8am and then again (later) between 7-9pm.

Though they still see traffic coming through commuter periods in the morning it may actually be due to the strength of interest on Sunday.

The team divide the potential audience and target them with relevant ads right when they were on their smartphones looking for things to do.

The audience were divided into the following groups based on the Ballet’s existing audience data:

  • People who had visited the Scottish Ballet website three or more times
  • People who had previously booked tickets
  • People who dropped off mid-purchase
  • People who had shown an interest in the type of show in the past

Then the team took things a step further. Aware that each platform performed differently, further tweaks were made to account for where the ads would appear.

Channel by channel

example Facebook ad for The Crucible - dancers moving with paper flying around
Great visuals go a long way, especially dancers in motion and face on.

Facebook traffic peaks between 7am and 11am (commuters on buses dreaming of their weekend again?) and then from 6pm to 9pm. It’s also worth noting that most of this traffic comes via mobile.

Twitter on the other hand is a different beast. Twitter users tend to access the site for news which makes it very busy during the morning (peaking between 7-9am) but less so after 4pm. The team reckon that audiences may be more inclined to check channels, that are reactive or news based, in the morning to see what’s been happening while they’ve been sleeping.

Email marketing is different again as users pick up their messages throughout the working day, generally from 10am to 4pm. A high majority of the users were coming through between 12-1pm so lunchtime seems to be when the Scottish Ballet audience are checking emails and engaging.

The power of applied data

This information meant Scottish Ballet could streamline their message to have more impact to specific people, transforming the way they communicated with their audiences.

These were the micro-moments that were relevant to Scottish Ballet. Applying the same concept means that any organisation can change the way they connect with their audiences, making sure they have the right content in the right place, at the right time.

This case study originally appeared in Culture Republic’s talk at the BBC Academy and The Space Day in summer 2016.

*Scottish Ballet have worked closely with Dog digital agency for years. Dog have run a range of campaigns on behalf of the ballet company in this time. Many thanks to Heather McGreevy and Stephanie Lindsay from Dog and Clare Campbell from Scottish Ballet for sharing this story with us.

Main image credit: Headless Commuters by Mauricio Lima (CC BY 2.0)