What are micro-moments?

Micro-moments are those momentary impulses to reach for a device, usually an internet enabled smartphone, to satisfy an immediate and sometimes visceral need to learn something, do something, discover something, or even buy something.

According to research by Google, 91 percent of smartphone users will stop in the middle of a task and turn to their phone for ideas. Not because they’re distracted or bored, but because they can immediately follow up a thought with action. Texting a friend, checking social media while waiting in a check-out line, quickly looking for information about buying a new pair of shoes, or finding a new Thai place to go for dinner… these moments have been dubbed “micro-moments” by Google.

Why would micro-moments matter to my business?

Consider this: All of the major cellular network providers in the US have recently made changes to service plans to make “unlimited data” packages even more attractive to consumers. Google continues to pour resources into a better search experience for mobile users. Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all working to make voice assisted information gathering even better. That technology is now well ensconced in our homes with Amazon’s Echo device and the Alexa service. Amazon’s Prime Now shopping app is all about enabling an impulse purchase to be delivered to a customer’s door in a mater of hours. All of the major tech players are heavily investing in this very human urge to follow-up a brain flash with more information and action.

Do you own or operate a business that provides professional services to home owners? How likely is it that the next customer reaching out to you for plumbing services did so because their toilet is overflowing now and they did a quick voice search for a plumber near them? I bet you’re nodding your head and thinking it’s very likely.

Micro-moments happen for e-com businesses as well. I already mentioned Amazon Prime Now. How often have you spotted someone wearing a cool pair of sunglasses or cute shoes and wondered where you could get a pair like them? It’s not difficult to imagine that impulse turning into a micro shopping moment.

In the B2B world a micro-moment might look more like a search for information. Have you ever been in a meeting and wished you could remember that compelling statistic you read recently that would help bolster the case you want to make to the rest of the team? Sneaking in a quick search either on your phone or on your laptop is also a micro-moment.

Google has found that people are actually more loyal to their needs at a particular moment than to any particular brand. It’s simple: winning a micro-moment depends on your ability to connect with mobile prospects during spur-of-the-moment searches when they’re looking to learn something, do something, buy something, or go somewhere special.

There are three main ways to optimize for these micro-moments:

1.     Be accessible. Take out your mobile device and ask a question you commonly hear from your customers. Is your business appearing with an answer to that question? What if you search for local businesses like yours? Does your business show up in the map results with directions and a phone number? If you can’t find yourself, that means potential customers can’t find you either. Your search engine optimization efforts play a large role in how often your business appears in results for common micro-moment searches. The way you advertise will also affect the visibility of your brand or business.

2.     Be helpful. You have to do more than show up in relevant search results — you have to be useful. Micro-moments are all about turning a fleeting thought into real action. Decisions to dig deeper with you are based on how clearly you addressed the question that brought a visitor to your site in the first place. Individuals are more likely to buy when information is tailored to their specific need, so it’s important to consider crafting content from the buyer’s perspective. Think about what motivates people to search for the information you can provide. Provide not just the the answer to a prospect’s initial question, but also the answers to many of the common follow-up questions. Also consider how best to provide an answer, solution, or tip. Would an infographic be easier to understand and share, should you create a useful how-to video, or is an easy to read blog article the best content? Be relevant, be useful — your consumers will thank you.

3.     Be quick. You can have the most useful video, the most interactive web page, the most informative content — but if your page isn’t loading on a smartphone, the back button is usually the option of choice. Consumers are quick to return to Google when a page isn’t loading. After all, the next result with a speedy response is more useful to them in the short span of a micro-moment. Testing your site for page load issues is easy and fixing those issues is well worth the effort to win a valuable micro-moment.