Micro-moments: A Guide to Successful Mobile Marketing


Micro-moments are spontaneous moments when consumers expect brands to address their needs with real-time relevance. Recently smartphones are used for this purpose more and more often. Such crucially important moments of contact with brands happen all the time and companies shall work out a special marketing strategy for them.

Here is a short guide in digital marketing with statistics, strategies and examples for mastering micro-moments.

Let’s face the truth: a modern person can not imagine his life without a mobile phone. According to statistics, 68% say they check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. 30% are willing to admit that they actually get “anxious” when they don’t have their phone on them. Millennials are really attached – they always have their smartphone at their side, day, and night.

Mobile phones become our main advise-givers. Nowadays more searches take place on mobile devices than on laptops.

When we want or need something, we tune in via convenient, self-initiated bursts of digital activity. Behind these mobile bursts are countless interactions with our friends, relatives, colleagues. These types of moments are a common part of our life, but they’re not moments when we’re necessarily looking to engage with brands. And what are we doing if a brand tries to butt in with a distracting or irrelevant message? Swipe!

However in other moments, we’re very open to influence of brands. For marketers, these moments are an open invitation to engage. And they’re the moments marketing specialists have to be ready for.

Micro-moments are the moments when we turn to a smartphone – to take action on whatever we need or want right now. These “I-want-to-know”, “I-want-to-go”, “I-want-to-buy”, and “I-want-to-do” moments are loaded with intent, context, and immediacy.

In recent years websites in the USA have seen 20% increase in mobile’s share of online sessions. At the same time there is 18% decrease in time spent per visit.

A behavior of consumers while taking decision has considerably changed in recent years. Once there appears the tiniest need in something, we take our smartphone. An increase in mobile sessions and decrease in time don’t happen because users can’t find what they want on mobile. It means we don’t spend a plenty of time at our monitors. We take a phone and make a decision faster than ever.

Today brands have to earn customer’s consideration and action. That makes micro-moments the new battleground for brands.


Here are three essential strategies of digital marketing that can help you win micro-moments:

  1. Be There.
    You have to foresee the micro-moments for users in your industry, and then commit to being there to help when those moments happen.

  2. Be Useful.
    You have to be relevant to consumers’ needs in the moment and help people with the answers they’re looking for.

  3. Be Quick.
    Mobile users want to buy swiftly. Your mobile experience has to be fast and frictionless.


Red Roof Inn marketing specialists mastered all three strategies in one simple ads campaign. When the company realized that flight cancellations were leaving 90,000 passengers stranded every day, its marketing team developed a way to track flight delays in real time and trigger targeted search ads for the Red Roof Inns near airports. As a result increase in bookings across non-branded search campaigns amounted to 60%.



Let’s turn to the first strategy. Marketers obsess over “being there” for their consumers. When someone picks up their mobile device, it means he wants to learn, do, find, or buy something right now. Such micro-moments happen constantly.

Being there on mobile can give big results and build a competitive edge for your brand. The statistics says for itself: 90% of smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the specific brand they want to buy when they start looking for information online. 1/3 of smartphone users has purchased from a brand other than the one they intended to because of information provided in the moment they needed it.


FIAT shows a successful example of using micro-moments.  After 28-year break the Italian automanufacturer returned to the American market, bringing with it the FIAT 500, a small city car. The company’s marketing specialists found it necessary to build awareness with a new generation of consumers not familiar with this brand. The time was a right one: Americans’ interest in small cars was very high at that time. The company deployed online and mobile search ads on category terms like “small car” and “city car” to reach people in those micro-moments of research and interest. On mobile, the ads pointed people to the nearest dealership, where they could see and buy the car in person. The results were tremendous. The brand saw an increase in unaided recall, while FIAT 500 became a huge success in America, and the legend was back.


The key moments of being there are as follows:

  1. “I-Want-to-Know Moments”. Someone is exploring or researching, but not yet in purchase mode. They want useful information and maybe even inspiration, not the hard sell.

  2. “I-Want-to-Go Moments”. Being there means getting your physical business in their consideration set in that moment.

  3. “I-Want-to-Do Moments”. These are the moments when people want help with getting things done or trying something new. Being there with the right content is the key.

  4. “I-Want-to-Buy Moments”. Someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what or how to buy. You have to be there with the right information to seal the deal.



If you want to win the hearts and minds (and dollars) of consumers, you’ll need to do more than just show up. You need to be useful and meet their needs in those moments. That means connecting people to what they’re looking for in real time and providing relevant information when they need it.

Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs.

Here are the key moments of being useful:

  1. “I-Want-to-Know Moments”. Helping consumers find answers to their questions can make or break a sale and influence their perception of your brand in the future.

  2. “I-Want-to-Go Moments”. Consumers are looking for a connection to the physical world. That could mean showing a nearby store where a particular searched-for product is in stock.

  3. “I-Want-to-Do Moments”. This type of micro-moment is all about the “how-to”. Consumers are looking for immediate help with getting something done or trying something new. This is where video content can play a huge role.

  4. “I-Want-to-Buy Moments”. Your customer should be empowered to purchase in whatever way suits their needs, whether in-store, on mobile, via call center or across devices.



Today’s consumers want immediate gratification, and they’re making decisions faster than ever before. Users expect your mobile site and app to indulge their need for speed by being quick and easy. Why does it matter? 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs.

There are at least three ways to be quick: eliminating steps, anticipating needs, loading like lightning. Have you ever thought about how you can cut the number of steps a user must take to reach your site or app? No one wants to wait long. The fastest way to streamline mobile sales is one-click functionality. One more important thing is helping user filling in forms. Using analytics data may be of help in optimizing form fills. And don’t forget about provision alternatives to finish the transaction. Making product pages or videos easy to share, offering GPS-powered driving directions will be appreciated by customers.

Being quick also means knowing what your customer wants even before they want it. The following tips might help you: first of all, put the big stuff first. A good example shows Virgin America Corporation who recently focused their mobile experience on the call to action “book a flight”. They steered away from other distractions, which might bother the booking process. As a result the speed of booking increased twice. One more key to anticipating need is provision driving directions and showing stores near customers’ location. It’s obvious that the biggest part of smartphone users is more likely to purchase from sites, which personalize information to their location. Also it’s worth segmenting your customers by their past behavior. It will make their experience easy.

According to research, 40% of shoppers wait no more than three seconds before leaving a retail site or app. No doubt that your technical part has to meet high expectations of customers. No problem if you are not a coder. There are special sites to rate your sales sites load time and give recommendations on increasing the site’s speed. For instance, world known retailer Walmart improved mobile performance with faster load times. The corporation more than four seconds from its load time by removing some barriers. As a result the Walmart saw increase in sales by up to 2%.  

As micro-moments fragment the consumer journey and create new forms of engagement, they also challenge our assumptions about the value of “touchpoints” across media. The statistics says for itself: 82% of smartphone users turn to their devices to make a product decision. It no longer makes sense to plan your media strategy for TV, radio and digital devices separately.

To rebuild your marketing strategy, reframe your measurements. Connect the dots of micro-moments in three ways: across screens, across channels and across teams.

Most businesses still measure conversions and cost separately for mobile devices and desktop. However you don’t have mobile customers and desktop customers. Remember: you just have customers. To start connecting the dots across screens you have to look beyond mobile sales. Even if the sale itself doesn’t happen on a mobile device, that doesn’t mean mobile didn’t play a role. Think about all the ways consumers use mobile to connect with your brand. They can look for prices, sizes, or reviews.


Account for Multi-Device Behavior.It’s crucial to include this in your attribution strategy. Otherwise you risk overinvesting in the device where the final conversion occurred or missing out on opportunities to win the sale. Inclusion cross-device data will cause an impending rise in search ad conversions.

Answer the Calls.Mobile phone calls typically convert at higher rates than website visits, especially for businesses with complex products. Connect a new customer with your sales department and an existing customer with your account team.

Measure More Than Just App Installs.Provide useful content and functionality to engage this user base to drive incremental transactions and sales.


Did you know that 87% of consumers do research before entering a store? Although foot traffic in retail stores declines, consumers know more about what they want to buy before entering a store. Measure the influence of valuable actions that go beyond the traditional online conversion – cross-device conversions, phone calls, even store visits and you will be able to answer important questions about perfect customers. Once you understand how your most valuable customers convert, you can create an organizational structure and put incentives in place to better acquire them and meet their needs.

To create closer collaboration and by means of it improve marketing, you may need to rethink how your teams are organized, where they sit, and how they interact. Cooperation is the most important thing here. Although call center team, digital team, brand team and other teams are working in different areas, if they don’t communicate, there will be no competitive product in the end. Make sure they talk to each other about goals, process and results.  

No doubt that successful brands of tomorrow will be those that have a strategy for understanding and meeting consumers' needs in micro-moments. Now you have a short idea about in what way the consumer behavior has changed recently, what micro-moments are and what marketers can do for boosting the sales. Follow these findings and you will be surprised at how easily you win the battle for hearts, minds, and money of consumers.

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