Micro moments – what’s that all about?

Micro moments

I am amused and slightly embarrassed to say that I actually remember a time when the main pleasure a phone could give you, aside from using it to talk to someone, was being transfixed to the screen deep in concentration as I tried to get my all time high score on snake, and then snake 2.

My word how things have changed – and that wasn’t all that long ago. Note to self, snake 1 came out in the late 1990’s…

You only need to get on the bus, train, and ferry at rush hour – and indeed any hour, to see the mass of people (including me) with their necks inclined 45 degrees downwards glued to the small screens in their hands. From news consumption, podcasts, music streaming, social media, emails, on demand TV, sport, audiobooks, games, brain training exercises, meditation, shopping, banking, language learning, photography, networking, analysing, stock brokering and dating – and about a zillion other things…

From a marketing perspective, if you haven’t heard the term ‘mobile first’ by now then you need to wash your ears out and bring your self back from that dark antiquated place you must have been hiding in, because our consumption of ‘stuff’ via our mobiles is incredible, if not a little terrifying, and mobile is that person at the party that everyone is talking about.

But don’t just listen to me – here are a few stats

A few stats:

The role of our mobiles has grown exponentially over the last five years and the purchasing funnel has rapidly changed and been fragmented.

Here are a few fascinating stats according to a recent consumer study by Google:

  • We check our phones 150 times a day
  • We spend 177 minutes on our phones per day

The above stats coupled with the fact that each mobile sessions averages a mere 1 minute and 10 seconds long, dozens and dozens of times per day and you have to agree with the analogy that Google makes that it is like ‘we’re speed dating with our phones.’

And the point is?

The standard purchasing path has moved a long way from the linear ‘First Moment of Truth’ FMOT; in store and checking out the packaging / product to make a decision to buy now, followed by the ‘Second Moment of Truth’ SMOT; bought it – opened it, like it / hate it. In the palm of our hands, we now have instant and empowering access to knowledge, competitor prices, product reviews and brand customer-service care sentiment. As mobile started to have a more prominent influence in the now not-so-linear purchasing funnel, Google aptly coined the phrase for this as ZMOT (Zero moment of truth).  Here’s a previous post I wrote on this – The zero moment of truth – its implications and history.

Now the new buzz word coined by Google is micro moments, which if understood and acted upon properly means opportunity for brands. Micro moments – that is what this post is about.

What are micro moments?

A mobile moment are the moments in which a person pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants, immediately and in context, for example that moment you are in a store and want to find out more about the product; price, review, availability. 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision while in store!

A micro moment is a mobile moment that requires only a glance to identify and delivers quick information that you can either consume, or act on immediately.

Here’s what Google has to say about it – ‘Behind these mobile bursts are countless interactions, like texting a spouse with a carpool update, dropping a quick work email while waiting in the ATM line, or posting a Bermuda vacation photo to make friends jealous. These types of moments are a common part of life, but they’re not moments when we’re necessarily looking to engage with brands. And if a brand tries to butt in with a distracting or irrelevant message? Swipe. But in other moments, we’re very open to the influence of brands. These are the moments when we want help informing our choices or making decisions. For marketers, these moments are an open invitation to engage. And they’re the moments you have to be ready for.’

A few micro moment examples – there are literally thousands!

  • You’re at a gig and want to know who the support band are
  • You can see the dark clouds coming in and you’re out walking your baby – you quickly check your phone to see if the weather is about to change
  • You are in a traffic jam and want to quickly check to see if there is a different-easier route
  • Etc multiplied by several trillion…

What can brand & marketers accomplish in a micro moment?

The point is mobile has come a long long way since the days of snake on your Nokia 5210. Most of the marketing world has now come to terms with the necessity that websites need to be ‘mobile first’ and have a better understanding that ‘going mobile’ does not have to mean building an app! Smartphones and these ever growing micro moments have literally fractured what was once a linear customer journey into many (hundreds-thousands) of intent driven micro moments.

So what can brands to to maximise these micro moments ?

Adapt to the new mobile centric architecture – Intent, Context, Immediacy

Intent = Be there

Context = Be useful

Immediacy = Be quick


Micro moments

Being there and being quick ensures that the user experience is as user friendly and mobile optimised as possible, taking this element simply as a ‘must have’ in today’s marketing land, being useful is where the major opportunity lies.

The more a brand can understand their customers intent and context, the greater the opportunity there is for a brand to create a genuine (and relevant) connection with the customer through branded content, which solves a problem (for the consumer), and tells a story (about the product or brand). Win:Win.

As with everything in the digital world; test, measure, learn, repeat and evolve. Make sure you have the correct measurements in place and you have a clear measurement plan in place prior to activities going live. Here is a previous short article on creating a Digital Marketing Measurement Plan.

Further Reading:

I highly recommend that you take a read of Google’s ‘Think with Google‘, where this is heaps of useful case study, stats and facts and commentary on micro moments.

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