The paid search industry has changed dramatically over the past 12 years. When I first began doing PPC full time back in 2004, the prime success metric was click thru rate. Conversion tracking was just beginning to roll out across AdWords and the Quality Score metric didn’t exist.  The prevailing mentality of the time was immediacy. Customers ‘wanted it now.’ Advertisers responded by putting up ads, getting people to click on them, and converting immediately. There was no such thing as a ‘conversion path.’

Fast forward to 2016. Acquiring customers is now a complex journey that plays out across multiple devices and channels. Acquiring conversions requires an ongoing conversation that takes place across a series of moments. These moments are defined by Google as ‘micro-moments.’

Acquiring customers is now a complex journey that plays out across multiple devices and channels. Click To Tweet

Today, we’re going to discuss how advertisers can win these mini-moments in order to build strong relationships that lead to customers entering a buying relationship with their respective brands.

What Is A Micro-Moment?

Micro-moments are mini-engagements with customers that play out over an extended period of time and mostly take place on mobile devices. According to a recent Google study, we check our phone at least 150x’s a day, with an average session time of 1 minute. That means we’re constantly consulting our smartphones as our chief problem-solving tool.

Additionally, people’s needs change throughout the day. For advertisers, the task of gaining and keeping the customer’s attention long enough to develop a relationship with them is more complicated than it’s ever been. Let me illustrate what a micro-moment is in the form of a story.

My wife is the very definition of someone that operates through a series of micro-moments. She owns an apartment building and is constantly pulled in multiple directions throughout the day. For instance, in the morning she could be researching flooring products because an apartment needs a new floor. However, an hour later she gets a call that a tenant is moving out and the focus shifts from flooring to finding a new tenant to fill the vacancy that’s just been created. Later that day, my wife is working on hiring new personnel to assist her with routine building operations such as cleaning and making repairs.

How do we interrupt someone from what their currently doing in order to re-engage regarding something they were doing before? Click To Tweet

The takeaway from this story is how the customer’s focus changes throughout the day. Because of everything that’s transpired, the morning’s research flooring project is nearly forgotten about because more pressing priorities popped up that needed to be addressed. As marketers, the question becomes, “How do we interrupt someone from what their currently doing in order to re-engage regarding something they were doing before?” This is the very essence of a micro-moment.

Micro-moments are important to understand, but what specific actions can we take to engage customers when they are in need?

Strategies For Winning The Micro-Moment

Micro-moments can be won by being prepared to provide value to customers whenever they decide to engage. Google recommends the strategies below for winning those moments.

  • Be There: We always need to be in front of our potential customers. This means putting our messages forward on multiple devices and platforms. Customers utilize multiple platforms such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and a whole host of other networks to collect relevant information on potential products and services.
  • Be Useful: Providing useful information is key. Information can range anywhere from a whitepaper that can be downloaded to providing a relevant product search or robust store selector. If your brand is committed to winning the micro-moment, ensure the right information is in front of your customers for the exact moment when they need it. Always show value!
  • Be Quick: Make sure your entire user experience is quick and simple to use. Landing pages and websites need to be mobile optimized and must have fast load times. Customers won’t stand for a cumbersome user experience that slows them down.

Tactics For Winning The Micro-Moment

Below are examples of tactics that can used to engage customers in a focused and deliberate way.

  • Device Targeting: Each device is its own user experience and a separate micro-moment all unto itself. Oftentimes, the device a user is on provides a window into their state of mind and where they are in the buying cycle. As an advertiser, utilizing the ability to set up device specific campaigns provides the ability to target by specific user intent. For instance, if a customer is on a smartphone and they tend to research your brand when on this device, use it as an opportunity to engage and relationship build in order to set up the opportunity to convert at a later time on another device.
  • Remarketing: In my opinion, remarketing is one of the greatest relationship building tools the PPC marketer has. Remarketing provides the ability to continue building customer relationships and allows brands to ‘be there’ for when you are needed by the customer. Carefully consider your organization’s buying cycle and craft remarketing strategies that provide value and perpetuates the relationship. Focusing on these aspects will help win the key micro-moments that lead to conversion vs. asking for a sale before the customer is ready to convert.
  • Micro Location Targeting: At any point in the day we’re mostly likely somewhere other than our homes. Whether it be at work, running errands, or traveling, geo-level micro-targeting helps anticipate upcoming micro-moments our customers might encounter and the needs they’re looking to fulfill. For precise details on how to employ a micro-location targeting strategy, you can refer to this post I wrote a few months back.


If brands intend to win in a noisy, crowded marketplace, it’s essential to adapt strategies and tactics to win the micro-moment. This means figuring out innovative ways to engage customers across multiple devices and channels. Creating compelling messages and content gains permission from customers to interrupt them from their busy lives to engage with our respective brands. Once an effective method of engagement has been developed, then the work of building solid relationships that lead to conversion can begin. Winning the micro-moment not only helps win more business in the short term, but also leads to repeat business for months and years to come.