The rise of mobile internet has changed the way brands interact with consumers online. Great, tell us something we didn’t already know, right? Well, going a giant step further than telling us the obvious, Google offers up a new model to help you turn mobile interactions into more conversions and a better online brand.

Introducing micro-moments, a new way to measure a range of interactions, at different stages of the buying process, and target users based on their actions, decisions and preferences. So rather than casting one wide net at everyone who might be interested in your brand, you can pinpoint different users and make sure less of them slip through your grip.

What are micro-moments?

Micro-moments are a range of actions users take in order to learn something, watch something, buy something or some other online action. More specifically, these are actions you can target to supply users with what they need, want or lack to take that next step towards doing business with your brand.

In a world before micro-moments your marketing efforts had to target users who were most likely to buy into your products or services. That principle still applies today, of course, but micro-moments allow you to target the other users. The other users who aren’t quite ready to buy yet, but will be one day soon, and make sure your business is there when they make the final commitment.


The role of smartphones and micro-moments in modern marketing

Smartphones are now the first point of internet access for the majority of users. This means a huge variation of interactions with your brand can take place on mobile devices and each of them gives you new clues on how to convert these users, either now or further down the line.

Google gives us the following stats on smartphones and micro-moments:


  • 69% of holiday makers and travellers search for travel ideas when they have a moment to spare: wafting in line, sitting on the bus or ordering drinks at the bar, for example.
  • Nearly half of these travellers book their final purchase using a different device.
  • 82% of smartphone users consult their mobiles while standing in a store, deciding which product to buy.
  • One in 10 of those users buy a different product than they originally planned to.
  • 69% of online consumers say the timing, quality and relevance of a company’s marketing message influences how they feel about a brand.


Each of these micro-moments is an opportunity for you to get your brand in front of people’s faces, become a part of their lives and ultimately influence their buying decisions. Provide the content that users are looking for at various micro-moments across the consumer journey and you can keep them on track to choosing you when they’re ready to make the purchase.


How do I turn micro-moments into paying customers?

This is the key question and Google offers up a three step plan to make it happen:


  • Be there: Anticipate the micro-moment in your industry, the times when your target audience needs an answer, instructions, a review or any other kind of information – and commit to being there when the time is right.
  • Be useful: Micro-moments occur when users need, crave or lack something. To win that micro-moment you not only have to be there when the time is right, but be the most useful brand amongst the crowd.
  • Be quick: Marketers are calling these micro-moments because time is of the essence and mobile users are in no mood for waiting around. Which means you not only need to be there and be useful, but also get there first to win the race.


For more information on these key steps, you can download Google’s guide to micro-moments (PDF). But there’s one more section from the guide we want to highlight here; the part we think will be most useful to you. And this is the first stage in the process, the “be there” stage which Google breaks down into four key moments.


#1: I-Want-to-Know Moments: When users are still in the research stage, far from being ready to buy. These users are looking for useful information, ideas or inspiration on what could be a future purchase. Your job at this stage is to forget about the sale and simply be the brand that’s there when users need help finding that vital information.


#2: I-Want-to-Go Moments: When people are looking for a local business or considering buying a product in a nearby store. Think “near me” searches. Being there as a local business may depend on your location, but being there in terms of micro-moments means being visible in those searches when users are on the lookout.


#3: I-Want-To-Do: Either before or after the purchase, when a user wants to know how to do something. These are the classic “how-to” searches in YouTube, for example. The moment users are screaming out for instructions on how to accomplish some sort of task. If this search is related to your industry, services or products then you want to be the brand that helps users accomplish that task.


#4: I-Want-to-Buy: The Holy Grail moment when users are ready to make that purchase. All that stands in their way is making the right buying choice – and this is where you need to be there with the information that will help them make the right decision. Aka your brand.


Once again, you can find more detail on each of these moments in the guide we linked to earlier. We’re not going to sit here and tell you about how to create useful content, because there are countless articles out there and we’d only be repeating them. One thing we should point out, though – just in case it isn’t painfully obvious – is the importance of mobile performance with micro-moments. Smartphones are where most of these moments are taking place and, if your brand isn’t lightening fast and well optimised on mobile, you’ll be losing out.


So that’s the biggest buzzword in marketing for the mobile age, but don’t make the mistake of thinking micro-moments is the future of marketing. It’s the present. And businesses who want to catch users at every stage of the buying process will be the ones investing in micro-marketing, where the battle between brands is won.