What Are Micro-Moments?

Written by Heather Mueller on May 23, 2019

Posted in Lead Generation, Mobile Forms

Have you heard? The days of a linear, clear-cut path to purchase are long gone.

Today’s consumers are working their way through a far more complex web of small, smartphone-enabled steps—each one inching them toward the “buy now” button over the course of many weeks or months.

As a marketer, you’ve no doubt noticed this shift. But did you know there’s an official name for it? Google refers to these steps as “micro moments,” and says they are having some tremendous impacts on digital marketing.

Ready or not, micro-moments are transforming marketing as we know it. Here’s a quick introduction to the trend and its implications for your team.

What are Micro-Moments?

Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a mobile device to explore, discover, research, and buy. They are high-intent moments when preferences are shaped and decisions are made. Think of all those times when a shopper will whip out a smartphone to compare prices and check reviews after seeing a product on a store shelf, or ask a voice assistant to locate nearby shops and restaurants.

It’s happening more and more often, as people increasingly rely on their mobile devices to get things done. One in five American adults now rely solely on smartphones to stay connected, and 52.2% of worldwide website traffic is generated through mobile devices.

According to Content Strategy Director Mark Traphagen, micro-moments tend to fill one of four immediate needs:

  • I want to know when someone is exploring or researching a product or service, but is not yet in purchase mode
  • I want to go when the consumer is looking for a local business or considering buying a product from a nearby store
  • I want to do when someone needs help completing a task or trying something new
  • I want to buy when a shopper is ready to make a purchase but needs help with the “where” and “how”

As Google explains it:

“In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.”

In other words…

The more you can maximize these windows of opportunity, the more likely you’ll be to increase conversions, sales, and revenue.

How to Make Micro-Moments Part of Your Strategy

So, how do you capitalize on this massive shift and harness the power of micro-moments in your marketing?

As a first step, you’ll need to change your mindset.

In the days before smartphones, it was fairly typical for people to be inspired by traditional marketing: The TV ad that drove them to visit a store, the radio jingle that caused them to pick up the phone.

That process has become far more complex. Rather than responding reactively to marketing messages, consumers are proactively looking for inspiration and ideas—at all times, on a wide variety of devices.

The question to ask is: Which micro moments are people using that could lead them to your brand? What’s influencing them, and how can you become a part of that process?

Traphagen recommends several simple-but-effective steps:

  1. Brainstorm with your team: What might lead your ideal customer to your product or service? What do they need to know in that moment? Are they looking for videos, photos, reviews, or helpful content?
  2. Ask your customers: Conducting short, simple online surveys is one of the best ways to understand exactly what people need and expect from you, and is used far too infrequently.
  3. Think small: Most marketers have gotten good at creating content for the “big” moments, but spend far less time on the little steps that lead the way. For example, rather than building an entire budget around product-specific paid search ads, the micro-moment marketer would also factor in all those times consumers are using search phrases that include words like “ideas” and “inspiration.”

If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that the micro-moment movement is here to stay. If you haven’t headed down this road yet, now’s the time to start. Until you incorporate more mobile experiences into your marketing strategy, you could be missing out on major wins.

Not sure where to start? That’s what our micro-moments webinars are for. For this four-part series, we teamed up with experts from a variety of industries to share best practices for content, social media, brand reputation, and more. Each episode features actionable tips you can use to strengthen your micro-moments marketing strategy—all in 25 minutes or less. It’s one of the quickest, easiest ways to stay ahead of this fast-moving trend.


Learn how to harness the power of micro-moments in your marketing with our series of 20-minute webinars.