Meeting Customers In The Moment: What Brands Need To Know About Micro-Moments

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

More than ever before, consumers are using their mobile devices to get in-the-moment information and answers. Instead of sitting down and spending hours researching a problem or looking for a product, they look for this info in a variety of locations and situations, in real-time.

And when they’re actually ready to buy? They know what they want, and they want to move quickly.

This changes everything for brands.

Brands need to be poised and ready to provide the most useful ‘in-the-moment’ info to prospects who need that information. Google has coined these moments ‘micro-moments’.

This article will explore the most common types of micro-moments, and show you how your brand can prepare for them.

The 4 types of micro-moments

Google has identified 4 types of micro-moments that brands should be aware of. These are the moments when consumers are open to being influenced by brands; when they want actionable answers to specific questions that help them quickly solve a problem or accomplish a task. Some examples of these searches may be:

· Where is the nearest pizza place?

· How much cough syrup should I give my 3 year old?

· What’s the temperature outside?

· How do I get to Safeway?

Following are the 4 types of micro-moments Google has identified as being important to brands.

1. “I want to know” moments

These are moments when users are looking for answers to their questions. They aren’t yet ready to buy, and are simply looking for helpful information.

Examples: How do I lose weight? What’s the best breed of dogs for families? How much sleep does a 5-month-old need?

How to optimize for these moments: Ensure your content offers clear, practical answers to common industry-related questions. Mobile users in particular are more likely to want short, actionable tips rather than longer, detailed explanations.

According to Google, consumers want “snackable, educational content — not brands giving the hard sell.” Make sure your content is easy to consume on a mobile device: this means providing short-form content, focusing on catchy headlines and clear formatting, and providing helpful visual content.

2. “I want to go” moments

These are moments when users are looking for a physical location. They may want driving directions, to see which local shops carry a certain item, or to find the local branch of their favorite store.

Examples: How do I get to Joe’s café? Where is the nearest tire shop? Where can I find party supplies in Seattle?

How to optimize for these moments: Ensuring you meet the needs of these users goes beyond simply having a physical address on your website. Imagine you’re a prospective customer: what other location-based information might you be looking for? This could include local inventory, directions, store hours, maps, etc.

You’ll also want to ensure you’re listed on popular review sites that may rank higher than your own website. Do a Google search for location-based phrases and see which sites show up in the top listings: Yelp? Google Reviews? TripAdvisor? Make sure these listings provide the most useful and actionable information, including accurate address and contact info.

3. “I want to buy” moments

These are moments when users are ready to buy and need some help with the process. They may be at the research stage of the process, or they may be prepared to make a quick purchase.

Examples: I need windshield wipers; What is the best face cream; Order business cards online

How to optimize for these moments: Make it as easy as possible for visitors to buy. Provide a way for them buy via mobile, desktop and by phone. Provide clear FAQs and shipping info. Consider offering live chat to help answer any questions about products or to help buyers with the purchase process. Make sure your site loads quickly on all devices and that the purchase process isn’t hindered by slow loading or complicated sales pages.

4. “I want to do” moments

These are moments when users are looking for help with getting something done. There will often be a sense of urgency, and users will be looking for quick, actionable tips or instructions to accomplish a task.

Examples: How to cook a turkey; How to fix a loose floorboard; How do I program my DVD player

How to optimize for these moments: Google recommends using video content to meet the needs of these users. According to their research, 48% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies who provide instructional video content.

How to determine your brand’s micro-moments

The concept of optimizing for relevant micro-moments isn’t a hard one; however, figuring out exactly which moments to optimize for can be a challenge.

Google has provided 4 key questions you can ask yourself to come up with your own ‘micro-moments’ map.

1. What common questions are your customers and prospects likely to ask on mobile? What do they want to learn about your business, products or industry? How can you provide the most actionable tidbits of information to quickly meet the needs of these users?

2. If you’re a local business, what location-based information might users be looking for? Directions, hours of operation, inventory, etc.? Are you providing this information in a clear, concise and accurate way?

3. How are your customers using your products? What information can you provide to assist them? (Tutorials, instructions, demos, etc.)

4. How do your customers prefer to buy from you? Are you providing them with a quick and seamless way to purchase your products via phone, email, and website? Do you provide information that can help inform their in-store purchase decisions?

Answering these questions can give you insights into important moments in your customers’ buying journey. And once you’ve identified these moments, you can provide exactly the right content, at exactly the right moment.

For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!

CEO of EmailAnalytics (, a productivity tool that visualizes team email activity, and measures email response time. Check out the free trial!

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