What are Micro-moments?

How would you describe the difference between a laptop and a smartphone to your grandmother?

Shape and size are probably the first thing that comes to mind and, not surprisingly, that’s also what differentiates these devices in the marketing world.

Laptops are bigger and usually, require a desktop or a lap and a wall plug. This means that your audience to online media through a laptop is relaxed, perhaps with a cup of coffee in one hand and time to allow themselves to be intrigued by captivating design and wowed by a list of the benefits your product offers, but a smartphone is a whole new ball game.

A smartphone can be whipped out your pocket on impulse in a bustling street, the stuffy back seat of a taxi or a supermarket isle with a million products screaming for your attention. Smartphone users need answers to the questions right in front of them, they are multitasking, and they are late. Smartphone users are under pressure. Smartphone users, therefore, approach marketing in a completely different manner.

Between Sipho sitting with coffee and his laptop in Seattle and the Jahara running through Woolies with five minutes left of lunch hour, who do you think would have gathered from your site that you only deliver on Tuesdays? In fact, the chances are that Jahara granny smith instead of golden delicious and she can’t even recall who served her. In fact, chances are the only thing that Jahara remembers was how many minutes she had to get back to work. This is called the narrowing effect.

When our minds get stressed they zero into one attribute in particular. There’s no time to consider complex positives, rather people tend to eliminate products based on negatives. They don’t look at reviews and they don’t revisit decisions.


If people are going to your site in a hurry for directions, bookings or answers, it should offer a clear, simple offering. Millions of customers around the world are listening through their smartphones by split seconds at a time. The question is, are you telling them what they need to hear, right there, right now?


Here are the 4 steps that South African brands can take to win with consumers at micro-moments:


1)      Know the four search types.

Your customers are using their micro-moments to buy off your site or to find information. If they are looking for information, it’s usually of three kinds: they want to know more about your product or service, they want to know how to use your product or they want to find out where you are. These four search types need to offer easy to get results.


2)       Answer questions.

With the four search types in mind, delve deeper into your customers experience by searching the most searched phrases about your brand. Are you happy with the results? Take some time to ask yourself if the customer really needs all the text and images they are seeing on the screen. The information should only be the answers to the questions inside a viewer’s head. Try to anticipate what they will need, and when they will need it in the purchasing journey.


3)      Play to location.

Is the information you see relevant to the many various environments that your customer may find themselves in? Or even better can you customise what the customer sees depending on their location?


4)      Make it fast.

They key word here is ‘eliminate’. Eliminating unnecessary information and images in the second step will save your user plenty of scanning time. Reducing the loading time of your pages and eliminating unnecessary clicks and steps in processes like checkout will also work miracles.






Written by Abigail Koch, Abigail is a student of psychology and anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand. She is a young writer and a published children’s book writer and illustrator. Her interest in marketing, strategy and behavioral economics allows her to be a specialist projects consultant and designer.