Targeting Mobile Users through Micro Moments

Picture the last argument you had with a friend or partner.  Did you agree to disagree? Or did you whip out your phone for an answer? If you are anything like me, you went straight to google to prove that hot water freezes faster than cold water… Okay I wasn’t able to prove it, but I was able to create some reasonable doubt (WIN). This sort of moment – a micro-moment- is the next big opportunity for traditional marketers. I of course believe an opportunity also exists in the social marketing world.

What is a micro moment?

Mobile has fractured our consumer pathway into hundreds of real-time intent-driven micro-moments. Each of these micro-moments represents critical opportunities for marketers to shape our actions and preferences.

4 Types of Intent-Driven Micro Moments

Want-to-know moments

Everyone has a want-to-know – who, what, why, and how much moment. Whether it is a word you can’t think of, the name of a restaurant that is in the middle of nowhere or a song you hear and bar you are likely to turn to your mobile phone for an answer.

Which is why, it is important to make it easy for mobile users when they decide to learn more.

For instance, just the other week I passed a trailer parked on the side of the road with the title “Green Driving Headquarters”. I was intrigued and wanted to know more… but for the life of me could find nothing online (Marketing Fail).

Green Driving Headquarters.jpg

 Want-to-go moments

People try new things in routine moments.

91% of smartphone users turn to their phone for ideas while doing a given task.

Patience might be a virture, but it’s not one mobile users have.  Mobile users are inherently impatient and have high expectations. In other words, we want instance gratification.

Search 1: It is late.  I want greasy drunk food near me now.

Result 1: Taco Time #4thMeal

Search 2: Need to get to X fast

Result 2: car2go gets Calgary going: whether for a quick shopping trip on 17th Ave, lunch in the Downtown Core, or a quick jaunt over to Chinook Centre, it’s up to you where you want to go.

Want-to-do moments

Earlier this year I flipped a house. More often than not, I took out my phone, went to YouTube, and watched how-to videos from every day folks. It was comforting to know it didn’t take a professional. But it was also nice to see what products they were using and why.

Search: How to remove a toilet

Result: How-to remove a toilet and replace it with a low-flow model.

People solve unexpected problems in-the-moment.

62%  of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.

 Want-to buy moments (social marketers can replace “buy” with “act”)

Consider this. It’s Monday. You just got home from work and realized you forgot to pick up chicken for your pot pie. Do you head to the store? Alternatively, do you search for a vegetarian recipe online?

Remember: People try new things in routine moments.

Search: vegetarian pot pie recipe

Result: Monday’s are hard. Take a day off meat. Satisfy your craving with delicious recipes like vegetarian pot pie.

So what can you do?

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? How about picking a behaviour or picking an audience? There’s no right answer, it comes down to your lens and what you want to accomplish.

However, once you gather information on your audience and behaviour, you will know if you ought to target mobile users. If you do:

  1. Build a moments map.

There are moments that are ideal for your campaign. Examine all phases of your audience’s journey and map when people want to find inspiration, learn about a campaign, try something new, or anything in between.

  1. Consider context

Leverage contextual signals like location and time of day to deliver experiences and messages that feel tailor-made for the moment.

My hypothetical example under “want-to-buy” was linked to Meatless Monday a global movement. Because the individual was searching a meatless recipe on a Monday it made sense to connect it to the idea of Meatless Mondays. The topics go hand in hand so it does not feel like social marketing is interrupting your user experience.

  1. Make it simple

In each particular moment, what does your audience need to know, what tools should they have, and what specific action will you ask.

  1. Leave Reminders (Don’t stop believing)

To account for mobile users complex pathways leave reminders.

IMG_5106 (1)

We all know not to drink and drive, but sometimes a perfectly placed coaster is what we need to remind our friends to make smart decisions.


  1. Measure your Impact (Be SMART)

You can’t manage moments you don’t measure.

I leave you with one final finding:

People pursue big goals in small moments.

“90% of smartphone users have used their phone to make progress toward a long term goal or multi-step process while “out and about.”

If you can, build your campaign with a mobile audience in mind!


Think with Google the ultimate Micro-moment source:


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