How to leverage micro moments to engage your audience

It’s already common knowledge that in order to develop compelling consumer engagement strategies and effectively communicate with audiences, brands should employ a consumer-centric approach to marketing. But for brands looking to create lasting impressions on their audiences, here is a guide to using micro moments to create meaningful relationships with customers, in the shape of micro moments.

What are micro moments?

Initially coined by Google, the term “micro-moment” refers to “the action of a person reflexively turning to a device, increasingly mobile, to act on a need”.

Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever.

We can break these needs into four categories: the need to know or learn about something, the need to go somewhere, the need to do something and the need to buy something.

How do micro moments work?

Each of the above mentioned categories of micro moments relate to a specific consumer need, in the present moment. Consumers have access to information at their fingertips through mobile devices, and they turn to these devices any time they think about an action.

Since the intent is there and fully expressed in action (the action of picking up your mobile device and searching for a specific thing), consumers are particularly open to brand communication in these moments, in comparison to other times.

In simple terms, I suppose this could also be associated with the idea of pull-push marketing. Instead of sending out messages to a consumer which is used to blocking out marketing messaging, a brand can instead take into consideration those moments when the consumer actually needs the brand, and be there for them.

Let’s look at each of the four categories of micro moments and how brands can use them to create meaningful engagement with their audience.

I want to know moments:

These happen when people pick up their mobile device and search for information. They can materialize in any shape, ranging from researching a specific product, asking Google a question or even just exploring something they are thinking about. In this particular moment, a person will not think about buying something, but rather will be searching for entertainment, inspiration or collecting information which will serve as a purchase incentive later on.

I want to go moments:

In these moments, people are more specific about their searches and the purchase intent is higher than in the previous phase. Here we mostly recognize deliberate action in the form of location search. People generally search for things to do or buy in their area. Increasingly people use their smartphones to search for a specific business in their area while already considering their options.

I want to do moments:

These moments relate to a specific action. These can range from piano lessons to dog walking, but generally mean that the person performing the search is looking to engage in a specific activity or task.

I want to buy moments:

Quite possibly the Holy Grail of marketing, this type of moment relates to a consumer with high purchase intent, looking for options for their purchase. Perhaps they are already in a retail location and skimming through the retailer’s online shop for products, or comparing prices online, but in these moments consumers will generally be looking for assistance with a purchase.

How can brands help?

As already established, these micro moments are full of meaning and this is when consumers are generally most open to brand communications.

Depending on the micro-moment, brands should try to align themselves with what consumers are searching for and deliver on the specific needs consumers express. Whether it’s a handy “how to” video, an inspirational piece of content, a price offer or geo-location targeting, brands can actually be in the right place, at the right time, with the right message to ensure engagement.

How do you actually do it?

The key to leveraging these micro moments is anticipation. Knowing what your consumers would be looking for before they actually start looking can be hugely beneficial. This means paving the way for consumers to engage with your brand in multiple situations, thus ensuring top of mind positioning and eventually purchase(s).

Being intuitive and anticipating when and how such micro moments would appear allows brands to become useful for their customers and provide actual experiences that help people navigate a complex digital environment.

Just like an intelligent merchant on a busy high street, brands can now connect with their possible customers by providing useful information and experiences exactly when their customers want them and are open to receiving them.

Ensuring these experiences are delivered in a consistent way will also help in the process. Great user experience and seamless channel integration will only amplify the impact of the brand encounter.

Armed with insight on behaviour and perception, brands can now position themselves at the tip of their audience’s fingers with useful strategies to engage and satisfy consumers.

Read more about micro-moments on the Think with Google website.

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