Wayne Atkinson, Ontario SEO
Wayne Atkinson
January 22, 2016

The (micro) moment is everything.

From the printing press to the smartphone, technology continually changes the way brands are capable of presenting themselves – and the ways customers choose to interact with them.

Just a century ago even the largest retailers in the world relied, for the most part, on their annual or seasonal catalogues to generate the interest and sales they needed to sustain growth. And at the time, it worked. But imagine your business only had that one opportunity to get in front of your customers?

This worked well in the old economy, where winter catalogues would ship out just as families were looking for new boots.  But today, mobile technology enables consumers to view any catalogue, any time, to choose exactly what they want.

They become informed in-the-moment, on impulse, rather than waiting for a new catalogue to land on their desks. They expect convenient immediacy.

Micro-moments are crucial in 2016 (and mean more than sales)


Yes, a sale is the consumer-journey end-game. But customers have plenty of options and they’re going to choose the one they’re most comfortable with, every time.

Consumers who share micro-moments with brands forge trust and recognition. They will find what they’re looking for eventually, and if you want them to find it from you, you need to understand what your customers want in-the-moment. What impulses or external factors are they acting upon, and how can you be there for them?

Identifying opportunities to share relevant micro-moments with your customers makes it easier, faster, and more fun to connect with your brand.

The overwhelming majority of consumers use mobile devices to find answers, learn about offers, discover/enhance experiences, and make on-the-fly purchasing decisions. Micro-moments have become one of the most important resources in any marketer’s toolbox for 2016.


Okay. So what’s a micro-moment…

The power of mobile’s splintered the old-school consumer journey into a million new fragments. With proper understanding of consumers’ real needs, each of those pieces represents a new opportunity to share a micro-moment – a real-time sales-funnel entry-point – with your customers to:

  • Enable immediate action on impulse, in real time
  • Prove your niche relevance, expertise, and credibility
  • Build loyalty to inspire purchase decisions, now and in the future


Generally speaking, successful brands carefully analyze consumers’ behaviour to identify, classify, and respond appropriately to micro-moments in four broad categories (though as you refine your approach, you’ll probably subdivide them further for greater precision and engagement):


“I want to KNOW” moments

Over 66% of consumers use their smartphones to learn more about their interests, often on the spot.

These moments are usually triggered by an external factor: an advertisement, a personal recommendation, seeing a new product. They can also be triggered by the unexpected: a plumbing problem or sudden backache, for example.

Does your brand provide the answers they’re looking for, and make relevant content easy to find in-the-moment?

If so, you’ve already identified your first set of micro-moments: answering common customer questions to establish trust and credibility in your brand.

“I want to GO” moments

Consumers reach almost reflexively for their smartphones to discover local experiences. “Near me” searches have doubled in the past year.

Half of local-searchers visit real-world location(s) within a day, and almost 1 in 5 make a purchase. It’s even better for restaurants: they usually visit within an hour.

Consumers value convenience over brand loyalty in-the-moment. Inventory ads are a strong example of this: finding the product they want at (any) nearby location.

What are local consumers looking for, and what real-time information can you provide to encourage them to choose your brand over others, online and off?

“I want to DO” moments

“How to” searches grow 70% year over year. A full 91% of smartphone users turn to their device for help or ideas when undertaking a new task.

What are your customers trying to do, and how can you get your message to them when it counts – when they’re actively seeking your help?

Identify your customers’ in-the-moment needs to produce relevant, easily-consumed content that fulfill them.

Measure your top-returning queries and best times/days (in terms of traffic and engagement) to identify potential micro-moments and refine your how-to resources to match evolving demand.

“I want to BUY” moments

People are always connected. And 93% of consumers who use a mobile device for research/comparison follow up with a purchase.

And they follow up on the fly, quickly deciding on the right product, best price, and easiest way to get it, right now. Most people check reviews first, whether from experts, friends, or strangers.

You can take advantage of this tendency by integrating helpful, objective content into your related messaging – using this micro-moment to inform consumers and keep them engaged with your brand right through to purchase decision.

Mobile’s made us more impulsive than ever before, even with big-ticket purchases. It’s critical for brands identify their customers’ want-to-buy moments… so they can be there when it counts.

…and how do I convert basic queries into real-time engagement?

It’s both simpler and more complex than it sounds. Productive micro-moments vary widely by industry, niche, region, even time. What’s perfect for you may fall flat for your competitors – it depends on your customers’ needs. As with any marketing strategy, a clear plan with detailed metrics is essential for success.

And success is essential. Moving into 2016, micro-moments have all but replaced the traditional buying cycle and will continue to do so as mobile devices become more powerful (and consumers more immediately demanding).

Your brand needs to be front and center, providing value in real-time. Consumers expect no less.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be covering specific micro-moment strategies in each category to help your brand identify opportunities and stay ahead of the trend. Don’t miss it!

Share your successes (and get expert advice on challenges)

How has your business succeeded in winning micro-moments with customers? What obstacles have you faced? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

What if you’re not sure about all this? Don’t get left behind – we’re always happy to answer your questions.  Ask away!