Add3 – Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Seattle & Portland

why micro-moments are a game-changer for digital marketing

In a device-driven world where consumers are rarely seen without their smartphone in hand (or in front of their face), it is imperative that your brand be present on that device. Some brands have shifted their strategy toward creating mobile apps, while others are focusing on ensuring that their current strategy is responsive (literally) to the new mobile generation.

“Think With Google” recently published an article discussing the rise of the micro-moment. In the article, Annie Zipfel, SVP of marketing at REI, says, “consumers have never been more informed because that information lies in the phone in their pocket, in their purse, or on their body.” Words like, “near me” and “nearby” are becoming increasingly more popular as mobile users begin to tack them onto the beginning or end of their search.


Google trends for "near me" - micro moments for marketing

Via Google Trends

This is the concept of the micro-moment. It’s that moment when you stop in the middle of a conversation to look up how tall Napoleon was (FYI, he was 5’6”). Or that time when you were standing in line at the coffee shop searching for the calorie count of a plain bagel (245). While these moments may not seem important, they are happening more and more as we continue to move forward in a world of constant connectivity.

Users are able to find the information that they need in that moment because of the accessibility of mobile devices. But these aren’t your typical users. Micro-moments have shifted the traditional customer journey into one that can be difficult to understand.

What are Micro-Moments?

Micro-moments are in-the-moment opportunities when a user searches for something that is top of mind or relevant in that moment. It’s those short bursts that require consumers to reach into their pocket and search for the closest grocery store, or a florist near them, or a healthy fast food option nearby.

micro-moments for marketing

Micro-Moments searches are not the same as searches on desktop because they are typically shorter engagements, intent-driven, and happen in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. Micro-moments don’t typically result in direct conversions but have the ability to drive indirect conversions, deeming them difficult to track.

An example of this is a stat from Google stating that, “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.”


6 Ways Marketers Can Win at Micro-Moments

Find the Intent

Your first step should be using any data possible to understand what may be driving your audience to these micro-moments. Or, better yet, what micro-moments are happening where you could possibly be present? Where are your current customers searching? What are they searching for? How does that impact your business?

Companies like IBM are already working on algorithms for the “always-on customer” and their Predictive Customer Intelligence is geared toward developing real-time analysis of the past, present, and future behavior of mobile-engaged customers.

If you aren’t IBM, use the data that you do have. Look at your most popular pages on mobile – are they doing their job? Are they fully optimized? Are there particular sections of your site that get more traffic on mobile than desktop? What micro-moment-esque queries are you showing up for in Google Webmaster Tools?

Make a NEW Persona

create a mobile using "micro-moment" persona for your marketing efforts

` Arm your marketing team with a mobile-device-using persona for your “micro moment” marketing efforts

If you don’t have the data you need, go the (sorta) old school route and ask around. Talk to your customers, your competitors customers, your audience, and ask them what they are looking for when they are in the store of out with friends. You’ve probably got your few persona variations already down but I suggest creating your new mobile-armed persona. What micro-moments is your persona most likely to have? If I was Honda, I would be ready to be present for the following micro-moments:

  • “Honda dealerships near me”
  • “Car dealerships near me”
  • “Lifetime value of a Honda”
  • “Average life of a honda”
  • “Honda Civic vs. Toyota Camry”
  • “Honda safety rating”

… and so on.

You’ve got to figure out the pain points, the interests, and the things that are most important to your new persona and then be there.

Be Responsive… in Every Way

As a digital marketing agency, of course we are going to focus on the importance of your site and your content being mobile responsive. You can’t ease the pain of your new persona if you aren’t even showing up because Google doesn’t like your unresponsive site or the load time is too slow. If you are in a business that could benefit from micro-moments at all (pretty much everyone), then it is imperative that your site be responsive. Don’t know how? Google developers have got you covered.

Micro-Moments in Social Media

But you also need to be responsive to social engagement. Our current generation lives and breathes on social media so they may go there for their answers in hopes that someone will be quick enough to respond.

Check out this real-life example of responsive micro-moment engagement


Something tells me that this person was shopping in a store, looking for plus-size men’s clothing and couldn’t find what he was looking for so he took to his social account to ask around. And in this case, the first person to respond won, literally.

Do a Little Local Optimization

This is particularly important if you are a brick-and-mortar business but if there is any inclination that your new persona could ever be looking for your location in relation to them, it’s vital to ensure your local information is correct.

Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to lose out to a competitor because they optimized for local, “near me” searches and you didn’t… even though you are closer? Below are three great resources for local optimization:

This isn’t anything new or revolutionary; the mobile-driven micro-moments were always on the horizon but if you haven’t started thinking about this when putting together your marketing strategies, now is the time.

Micro-Moments & AdWords

Never fear – AdWords is leading the charge in helping advertisers connect with users in these mobile Micro-Moments. Earlier this year – AdWords announced a number of enhancements to help marketers capture micro-moment opportunities. AdWords announced

  • New mobile-focused ad formats
  • Tools to help automate & scale everything in adwords
  • Measurement products to help advertisers measure the impact of their ads online, across apps , and in-store.

You can read more about these enhancements in our post on Acquisio’s blog “Google AdWords Announces New Mobile Ad Focus on Moments

Measurement & Attribution for Micro-Moments

As noted in the AdWords section above, measurement and attribution are already difficult and getting increasingly difficult in a cross-device multi-platform micro-moment world. Google has some tools to help marketers cope in AdWords and Google Analytics alike like “attribution modeling” and “estimated conversions” but as of now, many of these tools are toys really. We expect radical changes in the way digital marketing copes with attribution in the coming year.

attribution models

Attribution models in Google Analytics will help marketers identify micro-moments.

How are you and your company marketing for micro-moments? What challenges do you face? What wins can you share? Let us know in the comments!

Ben Lloyd

About Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd serves as Principal at Add3 and manages the agency's Portland office.  Ben got his start in SEM way back in 1999 - when there was like, 15 search engines and Google was barely a thing. Prior to Add3, Ben had founded Amplify Interactive in 2003 (which was acquired by Add3 in 2013), and hasn't looked back since. Ben likes lots of stuff like golf, pinball, food(ie), booze/beer/wine - in that order, etc. Mostly - he likes doing that stuff with his friends. Ben is also co-founder of SEMpdx. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn

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