Micro-moments (as coined by Google) are the new definition of how we search.
A Micro-Moment Case Study
There are plenty of resources explaining what micro-moments are but not many examples of these fractured purchase paths and how brands can capitalise on user-initiated moments of intent.
Drawing on a personal experience, I recently took part in the London to Brighton Bicycle Ride. I’m not a keen cyclist so my bike had been languishing in the garage for a good few years. Upon attempting to pump up the flat front tyre I managed to snap the valve. And so my journey of micro-moments began...
1. Can you replace a broken valve? (I want to know moment)
A Google search reveals that valves cannot be replaced (something I didn’t know). A new inner tube is required.
2. How to replace an inner tube? (I want to do moment)
Before I purchase an inner tube I need to know if I can replace it myself or do I need a bike shop to carry out the repair? Having watched a YouTube video I am happy to do this myself but I will also need to purchase some Tyre Levers in order to carry out the task. I’m now not sure if a DIY approach will be the most cost-effective method.
3. Buy Tyre Levers vs Bike Servicing? (I want to buy moment)
A couple of Google searches later and it appears that buying a set of tyre levers and changing the inner-tube myself will be half the price of paying a Bike shop to do it.
4. What type of inner tube do I need? (I want to know moment)
A Google image search confirms that my inner tube has a presta valve fitted. I also perform a Google search to confirm that I need to use the markings on the bicycles tyre to find the correct size inner tube.
5. Buy Presta Valve 700c inner tube? (I want to buy moment)
A Google search brings up a multitude of online stores. After some browsing I shortlist the Slime 700cx28 Inner Tube as it the ability to self-heal in the event of a puncture.
6. Slime 700cx28 Inner Tube reviews? (I want to know moment)
A quick read of a couple of positive reviews and I’m decided.
7. Buy Slime 700cx28 Inner Tube? (I want to buy moment)
Halfords and Amazon offer the best prices with the latter being the cheapest. But I want to reserve and collect today so Halfords it is.
8. Halfords cash back and discount codes? (I want to know moment)
There are no discount codes available but I can get 4.5% cash back on my Halfords purchase from Quidco.
9. Purchase completed.
My purchase path for a simple inner tube consisted of more than 15 Google searches and visits to at least 11 separate websites. Furthermore this journey was carried out in several different geographical locations, spanned several time periods and utilised two devices (a mobile and a tablet).
How can brands capitalise on these micro-moment opportunities?
Let's take a quick look at how ABC Bikes (a fictitious bike shop which offers repairs and has an e-commerce enabled website) could interact with various moments on my purchase path.
Create broader unique content
Use Google Trends and Keyword Planner to ascertain popular topics relating to bikes and cycling. Then create unique content on these topics and promote to existing customers and via appropriate social media channels. For example, ABC Bikes could produce a video (filmed on location at their shop and presented by a member of the service team) on how to change an inner tube which could then be uploaded to their channel on YouTube and also hosted on a page on their website (along with a detailed step by step written guide).
Highly-targeted advertising can be programmed to reach ABC Bike’s potential customers during these individual micro-moments. For example, a well timed advert offering free inner tube fitting and shown specifically to users in the local area searching for “How to replace an inner tube” could sway a customer's decision at this key moment.
Micro-moments are golden opportunities to connect with potential customers during a moment where user-initiated specific intent and high-engagement meet.
Understanding purchase paths is the key to success
Ultimately brands need to invest resources into fully understanding these fractured customer journeys. The successful brand of the future will ensure it is always in the right place, at the right time, delivering the right content in the right context.