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Addressing the 4 Micro-Moments in Today’s Consumer Journey

Over the past several years, increasing technological innovation has led to a dramatic shift in consumer-behavior. As a consumer, ask yourself, when was the last time you looked up how to spell something in a physical dictionary, or used a paper map, or used a DSLR camera, or bought a printed recipe book? Certainly, there are exceptions to each of these examples, but you get the point. Technology, and more specifically mobile devices, have fundamentally changed how people engage with the world around them. In fact, consider these insights shared by Google Think:

  • 87% of people today have their smartphone by their side at all times, day and night.
  • On average, we check our phones 150 times and spend 177 minutes on them per day.
  • 68% of people check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning.

Still, many brands have struggled to adapt to this changing behavior, continuing to cast out broad marketing messaging, and doing so in the more popular, high-traffic moments in the consumer lifecycle. Certainly, for each industry there are moments that stand out. For example, when a consumer purchases a new car, he or she may be most interested in automotive accessories or insurance. But more often, as a result of mobile disruption, the consumer journey has been fractured into hundreds of smaller decision-making moments across all stages.

This shift has made “micro-moments” the new battleground for brands and marketers. According to Google Think, there are four micro-moments that marketing teams must consider when designing meaningful marketing experiences:

“I-want-to-know” moments: Gone are the days where people had to wonder…about anything. Today, individuals have access to the entire history of information at their fingertips. And that access is having an impact on our memories. According to a study at Columbia University, people are now more likely to remember where to find information than they are to remember the information itself. In the context of the customer journey this finding holds true, as 65% of online consumers look up more information online now versus just a few years ago. What does it mean for marketers looking to engage during these moments? Content needs to be informational, not sales-driven. Customers are more adept at conducting their own research, and want brands to be helping that process, not trying to control it. In this phase of the customer journey, relationship-building is more critical than conversion.

“I-want-to-go” moments: Consumers now use their mobile devices to find places to shop, eat, and entertain themselves while on the move. In fact, in the past year, “near me” search interest has increased by two times! Additionally, 82% of smartphone users rely on a search engine when looking for a local business, and 73% lose trust in a business when its online information isn’t updated. This has created the need for geolocation and beacon technology, where brands are able to engage consumers with relevant messaging when they are near a store location. Through relevant visual content, brands can showcase inventory and product benefits in the moment when a consumer is looking to go find it.

“I-want-to-do” moments: The unprecedented access to information has had another interesting side-effect, as consumers actively seek new ideas for what to do, and how to do it. Today, 91% of smartphone users turn to their phones for ideas while doing a task, and 100 million plus hours of “how-to” content have been watched on YouTube so far this year. Perhaps you’ve also fallen in love with the BuzzFeedFood “how-to” video format. For marketers looking to capitalize on the “I-want-to-do” moments, again, adding utility to the consumers’ lives is critical. The call-to-action on content must be subtle and logical, in these moments, consumers want practical information they can actually use. Insert your product or service organically into the conversation, and let the consumers connect the dots.

“I-want-to-buy” moments: Finally, the point of purchase! This is where marketers excel, traditionally, but this new buying journey has blurred this process. Marketers have to work harder than ever to succeed in this moment. In-store, 82% of smartphone users consult their phones while deciding what to buy, likely looking up product reviews and related user-imagery. Meanwhile, the industry has seen a 29% increase in mobile conversion rates in the past year. In these moments, consumers are ready to be sold to by a brand. However, it’s difficult to tell when, or where, these moments will occur. People decide to buy at home on desktop, or on the go on their mobile devices. By setting up a sophisticated program in the moments leading up to “I-want-to-buy,” brands can draw on behavioral cues to trigger conversion-based messaging once a customer is ready to receive it.

Google Think has done a tremendous job in outlining the new mandate for modern marketers, one that requires more complexity and insight into consumer preferences. Brands that are able to execute effectively using high-value, authentic content, will realize success now and into the future.


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