4 min read

Micro-Moment Marketing: The Moment

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If you’ve been in marketing or advertising for just a few years, you’ve already witnessed a fundamental change in the way that people consume media. Mobile-everything has all but engrained itself in our daily lives. The customer journey has changed as well. Predictable, daily online browsing has been replaced by fragmented interactions—or, moments if you will. These are moments that brands can win to move customer’s along their journey, add valuable content to engage with, or even to increase lifetime value during moments of consideration and conversion. It’s the moment right before the digital reflex of intention.


Perhaps you’ve heard of this concept. According to Google, who wrote the book on the topic, micro-moments are intent-driven instances of decision-making that occur throughout the customer journey. And the average consumer has dozens, if not hundreds, of these moments daily—whether that’s ordering a burrito bowl, to-go, on the Chipotle app, checking the latest sports headlines on Twitter, or researching the closest auto garage to get an oil change.

While micro-moments take place online, they often start as impulsive reactions to otherwise physical phenomena. They occur when people instinctively reach for a device to fulfill or act on a need. In this context, the buyer's journey isn't just an abstract, cognitive concept invented by marketers to shill their services. Instead, it's a physical experience. Now, it’s possible to reach consumers at more personalized steps across this exciting, yet fractured funnel.

Ultimately, micro-moment marketing is governed by intent. So, why should you care? Because each one of these moments is an opportunity to shape and influence decision making in that moment of intent. 

Types of Micro-Moment Marketing 

Knowing which moment you want to influence can help drive the success of your campaigns. For brands, they represent a chance to be the reason why someone grabs their phone and takes action. Here’s a breakdown of each type of moment that brands have an opportunity to win.


I want-to-know moments

These moments occur when people use their phones to explore or research a product or service. And they’re occurring more frequently. In fact, nearly three-quarters of internet users will exclusively use smartphones to access the web by 2025, according to a 2019 report. 

Obviously, these moments signal a significant opportunity for businesses to sell to customers online, instead of in-store or in-person. But they also suggest increased opportunities for brands to inform, educate, and—most importantly—influence. Whether your consumers are researching home mortgages or new blenders, these campaigns should aim to empower them with the information they need to make decisions.

PRO TIP: Check your competitor’s negative reviews for good copy ideas. Tell consumers how you solve the problems your competitors struggle with.


I want-to-go moments

These moments take place when consumers look for a local business or consider buying a product. At this point, consumers are more primed to take action or make a purchase. In marketing speak, they’re at the decision-making point in their customer journey—so it should be your objective to get consumers in your doors or to a place where they can engage with you (ideally in real time with a human).

According to Google, searches for  “right now” have been on the rise. In fact, searches that contained the term “open now” tripled several years ago and only continue to rise. When people act in the moment, expectations are at their highest. Unlike consumers in the research phase, marketers should use these moments to cater to immediate needs. These people want your products and services right away—and on their own terms. Take this as a sign.

PRO TIP: Leverage contextual relevance of ad placement to remove friction for your perfect prospects. Educate and remind them about how you’re convenient, how you’re “open now,” or how you can solve their problem(s) quickly.


I want-to-do moments

Whether they’re looking for step-by-step directions to tackle a DIY home reno, or wandering the aisles of a grocery store hungry for a new recipe, people turn to their phone when they’re in a moment of need. These types of moments occur when someone wants help completing a task. According to Google, the most common types of I-want-to-do moments include:

  • General knowledge (e.g. “How to remove a stain”)
  • Food & grocery (e.g. “Look up recipes”)
  • Home & garden (e.g. “Gardening tips and tricks”)

Regardless of the end goal, this is an opportunity for you to help people—including potential future customers—get stuff done and learn new things. Similar to want-to-go moments, when people are at this point they are seeking a specific outcome. However, they may not be ready to make a purchase, so it should be your goal to deliver information as efficiently as possible.

PRO TIP: This behavior tells us that there is a TON of opportunity to influence the people you care most about reaching. Teach them things! Want to sell more drills? Give those DIY’ers inspiration with ideas on easy home projects that require holes. No one buys a drill for the hole—they buy it to mount that repurposed ladder-blanket-holder-thingy they got on Pinterest.


I want-to-buy moments

These moments occur when someone is ready to make a purchase, but may need a push in the right direction. Like many of these moments, they want a specific need fulfilled. For example, they may be price shopping vacuum cleaners. Or, they may be looking for a local coffee shop to stave off the afternoon crash between meetings. Even more so than want-to-go moments, customers at this point have wallets in hand and are just waiting to pull the trigger.  

As the most direct path to value, it can be assumed that consumers are most engaged at this stage—focused on the task at hand. They’ve probably engaged with you during the other micro-moments and it seems a bit serendipitous they’re choosing you in this moment. Because of the high conversion potential, it’s important to reach consumers with action-oriented campaigns, content, and experiences. Sometimes, a little nudge is all it takes.

PRO TIP: Most brands focus on talking to the “now buyer,” which typically only accounts for 2% of a given target audience. That means 98% of the audience isn’t going to buy right now. Be sure to balance your buy-now message with the other moments, as outlined above. Because when you win the moment, you win hearts, minds, and dollar signs.

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