Importance of Micro Moments

It’s predicted that by 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all digital ad spending. While this might seem like a huge number, it isn’t all that surprising when you consider the ubiquitous use of smartphones in our daily lives. Did you know for instance, that 50% of smartphone users start their day by reaching for their phones before they do anything else?

Google is well aware of the important part smartphones and other mobile devices play in our day-to-day lives, and so in 2015 Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google, introduced micro-moments. This is the name given to the tiny moments during the day where we turn to our smartphones to make purchases, ask questions, and discover new places and products.

Officially, micro-moments are divided into four distinct categories; I-want-to-know moments, I-want-to-go moments, I-want-to-buy moments and I-want-to-do moments. The main idea behind these distinctions is that consumers are likely to be more receptive to marketing messages when they have a want/need and are using a smartphone to address that need in the moment. For example, 70% of smartphone owners who bought something on the high street first turned to their devices for information relevant to that purchase. It is the role of marketers to understand how to design and optimise mobile content to meet the needs of their target audience during these moments.

I-Want-to-Know Moments

The I-want-to-know moment is the research moment. It’s when you’re looking to solve a problem or find the answer to a question. This category encompasses anything where information is the ultimate goal. Moments like these are the reason people searching for ‘how to’ videos on YouTube have grown 70% since 2013.


This moment is vitally important for local searches because the intent of this search is always going to be about finding a certain location. For marketers working in SEO this will be increasingly relevant in making businesses appear at the top of local rankings.

I-Want-to-Buy Moments

This is probably the micro-moment with the most intent behind it as users are likely to be ready to make a purchase they’ve thought about previously. A well placed review at the right time, could steer them away from a competitor’s product and onto yours.

I-Want-to-Do Moments

Users making I-want-to-do type searches probably aren’t looking to make a purchase, or even go anywhere at that particular moment. They are more likely to be looking for information, making it the role of the marketer to provide them with the right information, encouraging them to come back when they’re ready to make a booking or purchase.

In these micro-moments, consumers expect brands to meet their needs with immediate answers, for example in the form of an article coming up in a Google search. Micro-moments form critical contact points between the brand and customer along the customer journey. When these things are added together, they ultimately determine how that customer’s journey ends. To win micro-moments, marketers need to have a solid understanding of their customers’ next move and how they will likely execute it.

For SEOs, optimising websites for micro-moments largely revolves around creating the kind of content to service what users will be looking for at that particular moment in time. This will most likely start with some in-depth keyword research to understand what kind of searches your target audience are making, along with their modifiers, e.g. who, what, where, how much etc. The next step will be to understand what users are asking and assigning those keywords to pages that will assist users along the path to conversion.

Examples of this might include a hospitality-related query which could be ‘Things to do in Glasgow’ or ‘Places to eat in Edinburgh’. A retail-based search using the kind of prepositions that are common in these micro-moment searches could be, ‘Xbox vs. PlayStation’ or ‘Best laptop for under £500’.

Research from Google has shown that 90% of consumers aren’t brand-committed. Because most customers aren’t die-hard fans of just one brand, it means that if a brand provides a potential customer with more information or a generous discount on the product they’re looking to buy, they’re more likely to get the sale over a competitor who isn’t using a micro-moment strategy.

With micro-moments, savvy marketers can see the consumer journey through a new lens and gain leverage against the competition. Being in the right place at the right time takes a combination of channels from PPC to SEO, particularly when it comes to content. With most people on their phones for an average of 177 minutes per day, it pays to be mobile-friendly and micro-moment ready.