GLOBAL: Widespread use of social channels and mobile devices coupled with shortened attention spans mean that brands increasingly need to understand the emotional needs of consumers in those fleeting moments when they may become relevant, a new study has said.

According to UM's Wave 9, the media agency's global social media tracker surveying more than 52,000 people in 78 countries, 85% of consumers globally use instant messaging to stay in touch with family and friends with near immediate responses expected.

That mindset extends to brands, with more consumers taking to social media to air grievances – Ombudsman Services recently reported that 41% of UK consumer complaints were shared on social platforms – and more brands responding via the same channels.

But it is brands that help consumers live "in the moment" – the likes of Uber, Deliveroo or Spotify – that are finding success, according to UM, and it is "meaningful moments" that help connect them with their audience in an emotionally relevant way.

"It's clear that offering an always-on service to consumers is a good route for success, however not every brand can or even should be always-on," said Liz Haas, UM Research Director and co-author of the report.

"It's vital to understand in which moments consumers will be most receptive to your message so that you can target these moments of receptivity when your communication is at its most relevant," she added.

The February issue of Admap details some of the ways in which mobile marketers can identify specific moments where they can offer real help instead of being merely annoying. And readers can download a free-to-access Warc report on moment marketing here.

Wave 9 also looked at the interactions consumers want with brands and reported that the desire for content worth sharing had grown by 15% globally, whilst desire for access to the latest news about products & developments had dropped by 13%.

It also observed how the use of social media is changing. Compared to seven years ago, said UM, people are 40% less likely to see social networks as a place for fun and entertainment and are 30% more likely to see them as platforms on which to promote themselves – much in the same way that brands do.

Data sourced from UM, Ombudsman Services; additional content by Warc staff