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Why micro-moments are a big deal for your business

by Nicole Michaelis

Ever since the internet and smartphones have emerged, consumer behavior has changed drastically. With over 70% of online time spent on a mobile device, micro-moments are now the deciding factor in a competitive consumer market. How well are you equipped to offer top-notch experiences for your customers and potential customers - in a few seconds and across devices?

What are micro-moments?

The term micro-moments was introduced by Google only recently but has taken the marketing world in a storm.

Micro-moments are intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey. They’re the moment you sit on a train and remember you wanted to buy new headphones. You do a quick search on your phone and likely end up on the website of a company who knows their micro-moments: ads and experience tailored to mobile users, easy checkout options, short copy, quick loading times. They’re also the moment your favorite influencer mentions that brand again, finally getting you to hop on the website and make a purchase. And - they’re the moment you see one of your best friends at that rooftop bar on Instagram stories. You know that’s where you want to go next.


As mobile devices have become an indispensable part of our daily lives, we're experiencing a fundamental change in the way people consume media. What used to be predictable, daily sessions online have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that now occur instantaneously. There are hundreds of these moments every day—checking the time, texting a friend, chatting on social media, checking Instagram, browsing our favorite online shops. These fragmented interactions are also known as mobile moments or mobile minutes. You can read our post about how to get your customers to spend more of theirs on you here.


But you’re after other moments - the moments where people use their mobile device with strong intention. The I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments. These are what we call micro-moments. If you want to make good business this year and the coming years, they’re your new best friends.


The Psychology behind micro-moments

Micro-moments are all about reflexes. They occur when people look for something to do, buy, somewhere to go and, instead of i.e. calling a friend, instantly turn to their mobile device to help them make a decision or gather information.

Micro-moments are intent-rich - this means decisions are made or heavily influenced. In other words: preferences are shaped. As a marketer, this either gets you really excited or really, really scares you. Intent-rich moments mean that consumers' expectations are higher than ever. If your product, service, and user-experience are optimized for micro-moments, you’re very likely to make a sell, win over a potential new customer, or strengthen a relationship with a current customer. If your product isn’t micro-moments optimized, you’re very likely to lose out on these benefits and - in the long-run - risk falling behind.


Micro-moments are about expectations. The mobile devices we carry around every day paired with continuous tech developments have trained us to expect top-notch, optimized, ideally even personalized experiences from the brands we interact with. We want to get exactly what we’re looking for instantly. And we want thing to be quick and easy. Processes like a checkout function need to be fast and clear. We don’t want to click around, don’t want to login or sign-up.


The research Google conducted showed the following:

  • Of leisure travelers who are smartphone users, 69% search for travel ideas during spare moments (i.e. when they're standing in line or waiting for the subway).
  • Of smartphone users, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a another task (i.e. a phone call).
  • Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they're standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.
  • Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company's message influences their perception of a brand.


The numbers show strong trends and - compared to older studies - a continuous increase in mobile device usage and multitasking. Speaking of which: the coming generation known as Generation-Z is said to be the generation with the best ever multitasking skills - their behaviours are said to be highly micro-focused. In short: micro-moments will become much more important in the future with technology developments likely catching up with new consumer behaviours faster and faster.

Optimizing your marketing for micro-moments

All this research is great, but what does it mean for marketing? Micro-moment marketing has one major focus and that is standing out. Consumers are being flooded by content, ads, offers, emails, texts, tweets, push notifications and everything else imaginable - every minute of their day. This means that consumers are often in a state referred to as “content shock” - too many impressions at once lead to them not taking in the majority of them at all. Consumers can’t consume more content than now - so micro-moment marketing is not about creating new and more content. It’s about optimizing the content you have and delivering it differently.


What does that mean for marketing? It means that your tactics need to be based on the knowledge that you only have a few seconds to capture a consumer’s attention. Earlier we learned that micro-moments are intent-rich and hence very likely to result in conversions. So, now you know you also need to optimize your marketing for exactly those moments. How do you do that?

  • Optimize your ads for mobile delivery
  • Use clear, concise and short copy
  • Use colors that reflect your brand
  • Deliver value - that can be consumed quickly (instantly!)


You have less than seconds to convey your message in a way that consumers chose it over texting back their friends or scrolling through Instagram. If you don’t get their attention now, it may be a long time until you get your next chance.

Trend reports show that content marketers are putting more emphasis on the value of content rather than the production quality - and it’s working. You don’t need to have runway level production quality, user-generated content is faster and converts better. You can read about why and how in our article here.

Don’t underestimate value. Not every consumer is ready to buy. Some are maybe just looking for a valuable interaction with your brand. Don’t push consumers too hard towards checkout, offer other options: How can you create a valuable interaction? Maybe it’s showcasing some user-generated content, maybe it’s a great video campaign. Remember, micro-moments have only recently become a thing in marketing - this means there’s still a lot of room for research and with that, potential to win. But one thing we know for sure: offering a series of short, clear interactions that add value or help the consumer do research drives more incremental revenue, lead generation, and positive brand sentiment.


After reading this article you probably already have concluded that who wants to be successful now and tomorrow will need to have a strategy in place for understanding, meeting, and excelling at the delivery of consumer needs in micro-moments. At Referanza, we truly believe in the power of creating great user experience in the right, inten-rich moments. Talk to us today to learn more or signup for our next educational webinar.

Nicole Michaelis
Nicole Michaelis - blog post writer