And how your brand can take advantage of new consumer behavior

Micro-moments are like stream-of-consciousness smartphone moments woven into the tapestry of the worldwide consumer’s life. The power of micro-moments might best be described by remembering their absence.

Can you remember when information was difficult or impossible to come by? When there was no Google, people had lengthy conversations to remember the name of the brunette actress who played opposite the leading man in the movie that came out the same year as The Man Who Came to Dinner. The lyrics to Billy Joel’s song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” were printed in the newspaper—and college students pinned the clipped articles to their bulletin boards.

Now, with the internet at our fingertips and search engines more intelligent than we are, we hardly realize how much we’ve integrated into our lives the knee-jerk reflex to check our phones for whatever whimsy crosses our minds. And these moments are fleeting but important for brand marketers hoping to influence the new way that consumers think and decide.

Apple released its first iPhone in 2007. The revolutionary device featured integrated web-browsing capabilities like nothing before it. Almost overnight, the smartphone changed the way consumers engage with brands. People spend less time at desktops researching services or trekking to local retailers to investigate products. As long as there’s a stable wireless signal, consumers can find answers at their fingertips and interact with a company.

Our phones have become extensions of our lives, and we can’t leave home without them. In Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile, Google reports:

  • We check our phones approximately 150 times a day 
  • 68% of us check our phones within 15 minutes of waking up
  • 87% of us always have our smartphone at our side, day and night

The Google guide also reports that this new smartphone pastime has created unprecedented opportunities for brand influence:

  • 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store
  • 91% of smartphone users turn to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task

We use mobile devices to check restaurant reviews, to research mileage ratings for cars we’re thinking about buying, and to look up the ingredients for a new recipe. We have come to depend on our smartphones to answer any question, inquiry, or concern that enters our minds at any time of the day or night. What’s more, we’re increasingly frustrated with delays, slow-loading websites, and out-of-date content. 

The birth of micro-moments

In 2015, Google coined the term “micro-moments,” defined as “Critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.”

Micro-moments resonated with marketers and made them rethink conventional marketing wisdom. In an Inc. online article, Jebbit co-founder and president Jonathan Lacoste wrote:

With micro-moment marketing, it’s important to objectively realize that your brand or product isn’t the center of your consumer’s world. In fact, most of the content we produce as marketers might be perceived as an interruption to a consumer as they’re going about their day. Thus, the key of micro-moment marketing is to embrace the idea that you have but a few seconds to capture the attention of your target consumer. In those nanoseconds, brands are challenged to convey a clear and concise message that is relevant and of interest to the consumer. Otherwise, they’re on to the next email, tweet or article and you’ve lost their attention until the next time.

On the surface, that’s a tall order for marketers to fill.

Google to the rescue

Google‘s wealth of data gives the company deep insight into how people use their devices to interact with a brand. The company found that micro-moments can fall into four distinct “moment” categories:

  • The I-want-to-know moments
  • The I-want-to-go moments
  • The I-want-to-do moments 
  • The I-want-to-buy moments 


I-want-to-know moments don’t arise because the consumer is actively seeking to buy something. Customers just want educational content to answer a question or get some initial research on a product or service.

How to market to this micro-moment: created how-to videos for first-time homebuyers with actor Elizabeth Banks lightheartedly explaining the complexities of the process. 


Used your smartphone recently to find a nearby coffee shop? If so, you’ve experienced an I-want-to-go moment. Consumers rely on mobile devices to locate a business or a store and get details on inventory or availability. 

How to market to this micro-moment:

Lowe’s is a popular brand for consumers and contractors. The company’s mobile site gives buyers the ability to get directions and check inventory at nearby stores. 


Consumers looking for “how-to” information are in an I-want-to-do moment. Video is a prime component, giving consumers visual demonstrations, examples, or lessons. 

How to market to this micro-moment:

Around Thanksgiving, the Butterball Turkey mobile site is a go-to place for a series of videos on turkey topics. Cooks can learn how to choose a turkey, thaw a turkey, stuff a turkey, carve a turkey, and more. 

I-want-to-buy moments: a definition:

When a brand’s micro-moments marketing strategy works effectively, the I-want-to-buy moment gives consumers a seamless experience to purchase what they want when they want it.

How to market to this micro-moment:

Geico Insurance is known for its clever ads featuring a talking gecko. When ready to get quotes or purchase insurance, consumers have online and mobile options. But Geico also knows that consumers have questions, so the company gives consumers the added help of having licensed phone agents available 24/7.

A world of devices

According to Google, consumers are no longer mobile customers or desktop customers. They are just customers, using multiple devices to make purchasing decisions. And marketers need to create brand strategies that function seamlessly over multiple devices. 

  • 90% of people use multiple screens for everyday activities, such as booking a hotel or shopping for electronics.
  • 40% of smartphone users who research products or services on their mobile devices go on to make their purchases on desktops.

Ready to start using micro-moments to market your brand?

Adapting a marketing strategy to reach consumers where they live digitally requires understanding how the public interacts with a brand. Create micro-moments by re-imagining a brand’s marketing plan to incorporate the “I-want-to” consumer touchpoints, and then, be there for consumers in whatever way they reach out.

  • Click here for more information from Google on micro-moments marketing. 
  • Struggling to implement a micro-moments marketing strategy? Contact Titan Publishing. Our marketing experts can provide a complementary micro-moment analysis of your brand. 

Be a marketing Titan:

  • Learn the four micro-moments categories
  • Learn to each micro-moment category
  • Read Google’s Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile for more insight
  • Contact the experts at Titan to help you with your mobile marketing

Patty Klein

Patty Klein is a word nerd with more than 15 years’ experience helping for-profit and not-for-profit organizations to develop communications and marketing plans that get results.