What Are Micro-Moments? (+How Can Your Business Utilize Them?)

Emily Coates
Emily Coates  |  July 30, 2019

Even those of us who were around in the time before smartphones have trouble imagining life without them these days.

Smartphones have completely changed the way we view and interact with our world. Bored in the waiting room at the dentist’s office? Scroll social media or watch a YouTube video instead! Not sure which vacuum cleaner to buy at the store? Check the reviews! Wondering what the lyrics were to that song on the radio, who that actor was in the movie you were watching, or where in the world tomatoes are originally from? Look it up! (South and Central America, in case you were wondering).

And the best part of all of this is that it’s all right there immediately, wherever we are, thanks to our smartphones.

So what does this mean for businesses? The sorts of moments that drive us to turn to our smartphones for answers are called micro-moments in the marketing world, and many experts are starting to see them as the key to future customer understanding and ultimate success for businesses. So how do companies looking to cater to a culture of instant gratification keep up, and turn these new advances into an advantage for them? Let’s dive in and find out.

What are micro-moments?

As we mentioned above, micro-moments are the instances where a customer is looking to make a purchase or decision. Micro-moments are becoming a key part of any mobile marketing strategy, and it’s easy to see why. The conversion rate on micro-moments is crazy good. Google outlines four game-changing moments that can help your business convert potential leads into paying customers.

Google micro-moments

Image courtesy of Google

Because the customer is looking for an answer, service, or product in that exact moment, it makes the likelihood that they will convert to a sale very high. Understanding how to position your brand to be in front of the customer during these micro-moments is key. 

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What makes a micro-moment?

Once you start to see what kind of moments make people turn to their phones, you can start to recognize which of these might apply to your business, and how you can most efficiently cater to those moments.

Key moments studies have shown people are the most likely to reach for their phone at times that include:

  • The “spark” of a question or thought, triggered by something they saw or heard around them.
  • Researching the right products to buy at the store.
  • Resolving urgent needs. (e.g. getting directions, finding the closest location for what you need, making that order you almost forgot about, etc.)
  • Planning. (e.g. what to do on a future trip, what next week is going to look like, what to have for dinner, etc)
  • Excess productivity. (Often in free time, people will turn to their to-do lists to see which tasks can be done from their smartphone immediately.)

You can also start to recognize the different kinds of consumers you might need to take into consideration, whether they’re the researchers, the convenience-seekers, the planners, and so on.

How can your business harness the power of micro-moments?

Now that you understand what a micro-moment is and how it relates to your customers, it’s time to make micro-moments work for you.

1. Be there when your customers are searching

If you or your company is providing the kinds of goods or services that would be helpful to people with an online search, make sure you are showing up in that search. Make sure you have an online presence and an accessible, functioning website.

Equally important, make sure your website has a user-friendly mobile form, so that in those micro-moments when people search for you, you’ll be right there in the most convenient way. Invest in the research it takes to make sure you’re showing up in the most amount of searches you can, as frequently as possible.

Use blog posts and articles related to your product that will drive traffic and interest to your company. In a world driven by instant gratification, it’s absolutely imperative to make sure you are present when you’re needed.

2. Lean into the skid

You might think this completely new way of interacting with customers is a huge curveball, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you’ve established what micro-moments are and what kinds of potential customers they produce, you can form your business model to follow the trends. Keep tabs on where your customers are getting their information and what they’re spending their time and money on.

Collect data and watch trends to see where they are or where they might be headed. For example, most companies looking to attract micro-moment consumers have shifted their advertising strategies and campaigns to be almost entirely digital, a major step away from other advertisement forms that were still considered the norm even 15 years ago. But the world is changing faster than ever, and you have to be ready to change with it.

3. Experiment to find your sweet spot

Micro-moments are still a very new concept; experts are always learning more about them and how they relate to marketing. Right now, there aren’t a lot of solid, fail-safe answers for how to navigate it all. That’s why it’s important to avoid getting frustrated with the process as you first start off.

Chances are you’re not going to nail it right away. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different paid search options and digital marketing strategies. Each “failure” gets you one step closer to finding your sweet spot and reaching your customers.

Micro-moments, massive payoff

The moments might be micro, but the payoff is huge.

Focusing on the moments your customers are looking to make a purchase is a no-brainer: and micro-moments are your chance to reach them when they need you most. It can be tough to understand and incorporate micro-moments at first. However, if you are willing to grow, change, and learn with this smartphone-driven world, you’re setting yourself up for the best chances you have of thriving in it.

Looking for more articles like this one? Check out this piece on e-commerce trends and learn more about the customer experience in e-commerce.

Emily Coates
Author

Emily Coates

Emily graduated from the University of Missouri with an English degree in 2014. Since then, she has traveled to Japan to teach English abroad and returned to school to receive a master's certification in Secondary Education. She currently resides in Chicago with her lovely wife, and continues to write.