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What are Micro-Moments?10 min read

If you told someone from the 90s that they’d be waking up, eating their beans on toast, commuting to work and going about the rest of their day with a supercomputer companion always by their side, they wouldn’t believe you (unless their name was Steve Jobs).

We live in a world where consumers are never more than a foot away from accessing a limitless library of information; from purchasing something, from getting solutions to a problem or from organizing plans.

This ease of access and this ability to instantly gratify needs has led to a significant change in consumer habits.

Back in the days when searching on mobile was awkward or slow and desktop ruled the roost, it was pretty easy to anticipate user sessions. Now, consider how many times you check your phone in a single day.

Whether that’s to check the time, reply to a text, browse through Facebook or take a photo, the vast majority of us are undertaking hundreds of instantaneous, individual actions on our phones every day.

Every one of these moments is driven by user intent. User intent being, well, what the user wants to do. We want something in these moments, and whatever that may be, we want it immediately. When we are faced with a want, a need or a problem, we instinctively turn to our smartphones for an answer.

teenagers using mobile phones

But what does all this mean for marketers? How does it change the way you should be interacting with online users?

Essentially, you need to understand that in every single one of these micro-moments, the consumer expectation is to receive instant gratification. So, forgetting about the worrying trend that smartphones are turning us into toddlers, you need to satisfy the user’s ‘right here, right now’ mentality.

The online world has become a messy popularity contest, with businesses clamouring for attention in each individual moment, to have lasting impacts on users and influence consumer preference.

In this blog, we’re going to set out the key types of micro-moments and explain them in a little more depth. Then, we’ll tell you exactly how you can tap into micro-moments in your own online marketing campaigns, to satisfy user demand on a customer journey that has gone way beyond the simple ‘awareness, consideration, decision’ funnel you might be familiar with.

The 4 Micro-Moments That Really Matter

reaching for mobile phone in bed

As we’ve mentioned, individuals go through hundreds of micro-moments every single day. But, obviously, checking the weather or the time aren’t exactly situations where brands can make a lasting impact on a user.

We call these:

1. I-want-to-know moments

In these situations, a user will be exploring any online platform, researching, looking for information, but not looking to make a purchase. In these micro-moments, you see users potentially making a quick search on their mobiles for example, often before completing later steps on a different device.

As an example provided by Google, 69% of smartphone users who enjoy travel search for travelling ideas during small, spare micro-moments. For example, moments when they are waiting in lines or for trains or buses.

It seems pretty logical to assume that these users aren’t going to be making a purchase in this time, with little time to spare and on a smaller screen that is more difficult to navigate.

And this is exactly the case. Nearly half of those people go on to book their trips through a completely separate channel.

i want to know micro moment

These ‘I-want-to-know moments’ represent a key opportunity for you to sway the preferences of prospective customers. If you can position your business in the eyeline of users who ‘want-to-know’, demonstrating the qualities of your brand as opposed to pushing the hard sell, you can tap into a really lucrative new segment of consumers.

And these types of micro-moments don’t just represent an opportunity in the online sphere.

82% of smartphone users use their phones to search for information about products when in a physical store. One in every ten of those buy differently due to information they find out in an I-want-to-know moments.

If you can optimize to appear as a useful and relevant ad or search result in these moments, you can encourage customers to choose your brand over your competitors’.

2. I-want-to-go moments

In these micro-moments, a user is generally searching for a local business or is deciding whether to buy a certain product at a location close to them. In either case, ‘I-want-to-go’ micro-moments represent another opportunity for your business to capture a highly converting segment of the general population.

i want to go micro moments

It’s pretty self-explanatory as to why you will want to appear with a relevant and useful message when users are initiating these micro-moments. If your physical store appears nearby or if you make it clear that you sell the product the user is looking for, then you give yourself a great opportunity to attract prospective customers who already want to buy what you sell.

18% of local business searches lead to transactions within 24 hours, and 46% of all Google searches for business are local. There is an enormous market that experiences ‘I-want-to-go’ micro-moments every day, so you need to be sure you’re optimized for users making location-based searches.

3. I-want-to-do moments

‘I-want-to-do’ micro-moments are regarded as those incidents when a user picks up their phone in order to get help in achieving something. Whether that’s simply completing a task like unblocking the toilet, or trying water-colour painting for the first time, the user is looking for guidance in doing something.

i want to do micro moments

Here, you can establish your brand as a go to resource that helps people complete everyday tasks, in doing so positioning yourself as a trusted institution that will encourage purchases and brand loyalty.

If you can address pain points, provide solutions to problems or guidance through difficult tasks then users will come to value your brand extremely highly.

4. I-want-to-buy moments

These are the micro-moments that really get a salesman’s juices flowing. A person has decided they want a product. They are ready to spend money. They are picking up their phone in order to add to the revenue of a business and if you market correctly, that will be yours.

We’re sure you don’t need an explanation as to why these moments are of vital importance to any business. If you can appear in a relevant and useful manner during these micro-moments, and if you can identify when these moments occur in your audience, you will have tapped into the most highly converting and lucrative segment of potential customers out there.

i want to buy micro moments

When marketing for micro-moments, when satisfying the ‘I want it now’ mentality of modern smartphone users, there are some very key of your business that you need to keep in mind. They are:

Be there:

You need to identify when these micro-moments actually happen for your target audience, so that you can be there when they’re in need.

What platform is most of your target audience using when they’re in an ‘I-need-to-know’ moment? Are they likely to turn to Facebook for an answer? Or would entering a search on Google be a stronger possibility? You need to know when and where to appear, as well as what you need to provide in each case to satisfy a user’s needs.

For example, Uber has taken the concept of micro-moments completely to heart in their marketing strategy, by achieving integration with Google maps.

uber integration with google maps

When someone is in an ‘I-want-to-go’ micro-moment, Uber has understood what platform a user is likely to address this need on, and has also anticipated that if a user wants to go somewhere, they’re also likely to need a way to get there.

By appearing on the platform that they know their prospective customers will be using to address their wants and needs, Uber has tapped into a large, lucrative audience. As well as this, they don’t just simply appear on Google maps. They offer a seamless, relevant experience to the user, which brings us nicely to our next point…

Be useful:

This one is, of course, absolutely vital to winning at micro-moment marketing. The experience you offer to the user in a moment of ‘I-want’ has to be relevant to customer needs in that specific moment. You need to quickly provide a solution or a good option.

You can see how Uber has achieved this in the same example, by providing a solution to someone in an ‘I-want-to-go’ micro-moment.

You need to ensure that your service appears in the right place, as Uber’s does, or you need to ensure that you have high-quality, relevant content that will genuinely help your prospective customer.

Consider each of the stages where you want to capture your audience. Perhaps if you run a digital marketing consultancy business, you would want a number of blogs, vlogs or eBooks that helped users to better their understanding of digital marketing concepts. This is a clear example of a business providing answers to ‘I-want-to-know’ moments.

woman in i want to know micro moment

If you had a restaurant, you might post recipe videos or blogs, addressing ‘I-want-to-do’ micro-moments. The possibilities are endless, so identify your niche, the different moments your target audience might experience and what they will want from you in each micro-moment. Then, set about creating content or providing a service that addresses each of these wants.

Be simple:

You need to make sure the solutions you are providing exist across the right channels. They need to be as effective on one device as another, and be effective on all the necessary platforms.

The entire interaction with your business, from research to purchase, should be seamless. Make it easy to buy, with a good number of instructions and a low number of clicks. There is a lot of competition out there, so you need to make sure you don’t give potential customers any reason to choose another service over yours.

making business decision

It’s also key to remember that users that want something in a micro-moment want it now. Expectations are really high, so any aspect of personalization or real-time experiences should be integrated if possible.

Micro-moments mean that the customer journey isn’t a smooth path along the standard steps we have become accustomed to. Now, a user can hop from any point in the funnel to another, in virtually any order.

Tools like chatbots that assist in real-time and personalized service can be a huge asset to satisfying user needs during micro-moments. Any kind of self-service option you can provide, do so.

What brand values do you hold? You need to combine user insights with brand values in order to really understand how to connect with your customers. If we consider Uber again, a user insight would simply be something along the lines of ‘If a user wants to go somewhere, then they need a way to get there’.

A brand value might be that you deliver convenient and secure travel, so by appearing in a convenient place and by providing the user with confidence that stems from the brand image, the chances are, you would have yourself a conversion.

Closing Words

Micro-moments are, by their very nature, unpredictable and hard to anticipate.

However, if you can truly get in touch with what you target audience really wants in each of the four key micro-moments, design your brand to address those needs in user-friendly and relevant ways, then you will tap into a marketing method that most brands aren’t even aware of.

By understanding the full extent of a user’s journey and the needs of those who have a world of information at their fingertips, you can easily make yourself stand out from the crowd, driving engagement, conversions and sales.

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