Small Business Advice

Micro-Moments Defined: Marketing Strategy in a Mobile-First World

Micro-moments are the new battleground for people's hearts, minds, and wallets. Learn how mobile technology has changed consumer expectations, and what it means for your business.

Ownership of always-connected smartphones has dramatically changed consumer behavior, customer expectations, and business marketing. Having permanent access to the internet has trained consumers to expect immediate, relevant solutions to their problems. In fact, 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone, according to Google.

Many years ago, when a home appliance stopped working we might have stopped to call a service professional, or spent an hour reading through an instruction manual. Today, we search for an immediate answer on Google, or message a live chat customer service representative.

Google has defined these high-intent moments as "micro-moments". These micro-moments are the new battleground for people's hearts, minds, and wallets.

As a result, businesses must re-strategize how their marketing compliments the new customer journey. Below, we'll define micro-moments in detail, and explain how your business can leverage digital marketing to improve your customer experience and increase sales.

Table of Contents

What Are Micro-Moments?

According to Google, micro-moments are intent-rich moments where consumers expect immediate and relevant solutions to their problems. Micro-moments often occur without conscious thought. They are spontaneous acts of exploration, discovery and research, that occur at a customer's fingertips. In addition, these moments can dramatically impact the customer journey.

Why Are Micro-Moments Important For Your Business?

Micro-moments create a spontaneous link between potential customers and your business. They also present an opportunity to improve customer engagement, and drive sales.

Smartphones and the internet grant customers a certain level of power by allowing them to easily explore any product or brand. According to a 2015 study by Google, 82% of smartphone users utilize their phone to influence a purchase decision while in a store. In these moments, customers are taking immediate action, and their purchase decisions are often altered.

As a result, it's critical that you understand how to ensure that your business is present during key micro-moments. This engagement occurs through digital marketing channels, which might require your business to master new competencies.

What Are the Types of Micro-Moments?

Smartphones have become an integral part of the customer journey, and play a role in solving all types of customer problems. Essentially, there are four categories of micro-moments.

Want-To-KnowThe exploration or researching of a product or service, prior to a purchase.
  • Price Comparisons
  • Effectiveness of Product
  • History of Company
Want-To-GoThe customer knows what they want and is actively considering buying a product from a nearby store.
  • Availability of Product
  • Offers store pick-up
  • Distance to Product
Want-To-BuyThe customer is ready to purchase, but needs assistance with the "where" and "how".
  • Increased Search Activity
  • Questions About Products
  • Nearby Stores
Want-to-DoThe customer needs help completing a task or trying something new.
  • How-To Content
  • Moments for Inspiration

Key Micro-Moment Statistics

For the average person, smartphones have become a crucial accessory of information. Although the internet has been around for decades, the advent of smartphones has expanded the internet outside of one's personal home. According to Google, the average person checks their smartphone 150 times per day.

Below, you will find key statistics that showcase the influence of micro-moments on consumer behavior:

  • About 91% of smartphone users look up information on their phones while in the middle of a task.
  • While in store, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchasing decision. Of these, one in ten end up purchasing a product they didn’t plan on buying.
  • 69% of online consumers believe that the quality or relevance of a company's mission influences their perception of a brand.
  • 67% of millennials agree that they can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn.
  • About 62% of smartphone users are more likely to try a new product or task due to ease of information online.
  • 90% of smartphone users have made progress towards a long-term goal using their smartphone during different times of the day
  • According to Google, searches related to "how to" on YouTube are growing 70% year over year, and more than 100 million hours of how-to content were watched in North America in 2015.
Micro-moment Statistics Infographic

How Your Business Can Leverage Micro-Moments

Mobile technology has changed consumer behavior and expectations. It's important that your business adapts to the new normal. To do this, it's best to map the journey your customers take from awareness of your product to purchase (and beyond), and create micro-experiences that effectively engage them at each step.

Step 1: Create a Map of Your Customer Journey

The first step is to create a map of your customer journey. This can be done on a whiteboard or pen and paper. The goal is to plot the journey that your customers take from the time they hear about your product or service until they purchase.

Here are some helpful questions to get you started:

  • Where do customers typically first learn about your product or service?
  • What is the genesis of this moment above?
  • What are the typical steps in between this moment and a purchase?
  • How long does this process typically take?
  • What online and offline resources does the customer leverage during this process?
  • What are the key customer pain points or objections during this process?

Here’s a graphic that should also help. Note the different process phases across the top of the graphic, and the different touchpoints. Your customer journey map should be much simpler, and look like a decision tree.

customer journey graphic

It's important to keep in mind that you cannot map the purchase process for each individual customer. Instead, create a persona of a typical, hypothetical customer, and map their customer journey.

Step 2: Understand the Customer Needs at Each Step

Now that you've plotted the key moments in your customer's path to purchase, the next step is to understand the customer needs at each moment.

One of the best methods for success in this step is to talk to actual customers. You can ask them questions such as:

  • When you were at each step in the customer journey, what were your major questions and concerns?
  • What resources did you use to address those?
  • Where did you find those resources?

Step 3: Create Effective Micro-Moment Experiences

Once you have a map of your customer journey and understand their needs at each step, it’s time to create content and experiences that will address these needs and nudge them down your conversion funnel.

From your research, you should already know the channels that you’ll need to engage the customer on – do you need to create a video tutorial that helps them understand how to use your product? Or perhaps an in-depth article that explains how your product differs from a competitor? Alternatively, you could decide to implement live chat on your website to address critical questions.

How to content is particularly important throughout the customer journey. According to Google, searches related to "how to" on YouTube are growing 70% year over year, and more than 100 million hours of how-to content were watched in North America in 2015.

Once created, you'll need to build and launch campaigns in key online marketing channels. We recommend starting with a channel that you already know, or one that is easy to learn. Don't worry about scaling to all channels immediately – it takes time to master online marketing.

Step 4: Measure Performance & Iterate

Once you've launched your content and experiences to engage customers at key micro-moments, you'll want to be patient and collect performance data. After 4-6 weeks, it's a best practice to analyze this performance data and determine which tactics are generating the most impact, and which are not.

You should scale up tactics that are working, and experiment with new tactics in areas where tactics are not working. As you learn more about your customers and their needs, it will become easier to ideate new experiments.

This data will likely be stored in digital marketing channels like Facebook, Google and Pinterest, as well as Google Analytics.

Getting Started

If you don't have time for the full exercise above, there's a quicker way to get started. The most surefire way to find promising micro-moment opportunities is to study your competitors, or similar businesses.

Here's a few actions you can take to uncover micro-moments that your business can take advantage of:

  • Analyze competitor websites through a tool like Semrush or SimilarWeb to understand the channels that generate the most traffic
  • Study their social media profiles to find their posts with the greatest engagement
  • Locate their YouTube channels and look for the videos with the most engagement
  • Uncover the forums or Facebook groups that your competitors are using to engage your target audience

By analyzing your competitors' online marketing tactics, you'll gain insight into the micro-moments that engage your target audience. You'll also gain a solid understanding of the specific content that addresses a customer need in each of these moments. Pick one or two of the channels and micro-moments that you discover, and create your own content or experiences that already work for your competitors.


Mobile technology has changed consumer behavior and expectations. Micro-moments have replaced larger, more clearly-defined steps in the purchase process.

This means that your business will need to adapt to engage your customers and influence their purchase decisions. By understanding their purchase path, and creating content & experiences that meet their needs along the way, you can maximize the return on your marketing and sales dollars.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit. He leads the team's research and publishes content about software products and trends. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed technology companies, and launching new businesses. You can connect with Bruce on LinkedIn.

Bruce is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Dental software
  • Mental health software
  • SEO software
  • Social media software

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