Micro-Moments: Are You There When Your Customers Need You Most?

by Aden Andrus June 8, 2016

When you have a question and need answers, where do you look first?

Maybe you’re traveling and need a quick bite to eat. Do you pull over and ask someone? Drive around until you see a billboard? Or do you whip out your phone and ask Google?

Perhaps you’re repainting your walls and need suggestions on how to keep your new paint off of your trim. Do you head to Home Depot? Take a trip to the library? Or do you search for a DIY video on YouTube?

Over the last 10-20 years, the internet has completely changed the way we view information—especially now that smart phones are always an arms length away.

If you need directions, instructions, or recommendations, all you have to do is jump online for a few seconds and you can usually find what you’re looking for.

As a result, the internet has become a key part of every aspect of our lives.

We don’t just visit the internet, we live in it.


The “I’ll just ask Google” reflex creates an ideal opportunity for online marketers. The ideal time to advertise your product or offer is when people are looking it.

Even if they are only looking for information at the time, these “micro-moments” are a golden opportunity to get in front of your ideal audience.

The question is, how do you identify and take advantage of these micro-moments?

Essentially, there are 4 categories of micro-moments: “want to know,” “want to go,” “want to do” and “want to buy.”

Let’s take a look at each category and how to best respond to the intent behind it.

Want to Know

“Want to know” micro-moments are the classic “let’s ask Google” response. Your potential customer is looking for a specific piece of information, so they turn to Google.

For example, say you’re considering moving to New York City. You’ve heard that rent can be expensive there, so you want to see if you can even afford living in the city.

Instead of calling your friend who wants to make it on Broadway, you reach for the phone and type in “how much is rent in new york city?” and see these AdWords campaign listings.

Rent in New York City Paid Search Ads | Disruptive Advertising

Guess what? You just had a micro-moment.

For these advertisers, your search is the ideal time to connect with you. Clearly, you’re interested in renting in NYC and—if they can convince you that they can give you an affordable, awesome experience—you just might buy from them.

To capitalize on a “want to know” query, you need to make it clear that clicking on your ad will provide a user with the answer to their question.

At this point in their buying cycle, they are mostly interested in information. Ad copy or a landing page that is focused on selling rather than informing won’t usually go over very well.

That being said, you can set up your landing page to help transition your audience from research mode to purchase mode by first answering their question and then explaining how your business is an ideal fit for what they really want.

Want to Go

“Want to go” micro-moments often start with an “X near me” type of search.

For example, after clicking on the above ads, you decided to move to New York. After hauling boxes all day, you’re too tired to go out to eat—you just want something delivered to your new apartment.

You’ve heard that the Thai food in NYC is fantastic, so you type in “thai delivery near me”.

Thai Food Paid Search Ads | Disruptive Advertising

Again, this is a perfect advertising opportunity. You are clearly out to find and buy Thai food, so an ad here is helpful to you and makes sure that the advertiser gets an opportunity to meet your need.

The goal with “want to go” micro-moments is be as obviously local as possible. After all, they want something “near me”, so they care more about proximity than they do about quality or other aspects of your business.

Here, the advertiser hasn’t done a great job of creating a sense of “being local.” There’s no clear connection between the search query and your location.

As a result, you’re likely to skip right past the ad and look for something more obviously local in the maps results.

Thai Food Map Results | Disruptive Advertising

Hey look! That’s what we’re after!

But wait, none of these listings say anything about delivery. There’s no obvious solution for our plight. We were ready to buy, but these companies are missing out on our micro-moment.

Want to Do

If your search query includes the phrase “how to” or “DIY”, you’re having a “want to do” moment.

Typically, “want to do” moments aren’t great direct-sale opportunities. Instead, they are great ways to build brand awareness and do some product placement.

If people find your content useful, they’re likely to keep coming back for more and eventually become paying customers.

For example, a week after moving into your new place, you manage to break the stove. Not wanting to have to pay for a repairman to come in, you pop on YouTube and type in “how do i repair my stove.”

Stove Repair Search Ads | Disruptive Advertising

In this case, we have both okay and bad examples of micro-moment targeting.

The first ad is at least somewhat related to this somewhat non-specific query, but the second is an ad for “Refrigerator Icemaker”? Not really a great fit for “how do i repair my stove”.

Whether it’s a YouTube video or a landing page, an ad that leads the searcher to content that helps them solve their problem will go a long ways towards making your searchers into fans.

Want to Buy

“Want to buy” moments are often the target of eCommerce or other online purchasing advertising.

If you are searching some specific item or product like “black shirts” or use an intent keyword like “deals” or “cheap”, you are probably having a “want to buy” moment.

For example, after accidentally clicking on the aforementioned “Refrigerator Icemaker” video and doing your best to add an icemaker to your stovetop, you now find yourself at risk of eviction unless you can find a replacement stove for your apartment.

After your last experience with micro-moments, you are a bit wary of the internet, but reflex kicks in and you search for “cheap stoves”.

Cheap Stoves Search Results | Disruptive Advertising

In this case, these ads are a great match for your search query. You’ve got a range of cheap stove options in front of you and an ad that says, “Don’t want to pay a fortune for appliances? Your Solution is here!”

Guess what? That’s you!

For searches like this, the key is to make sure that your offer clearly matches the intent of the search. From there, it’s just basic PPC advertising!


Although the idea of differing search intents is far from revolutionary, it’s important to understand why people are triggering ads.

Once you understand what your target audience is really after, you can design your ads and landing page to meet their needs and expectations.

And, the better you meet their needs, the more likely you are to win their business.

By the way, if you’d like to chat about how to match your advertising to your target audience’s search intent, let me know here or in the comments.

Do these micro-moments make sense to you? Is it helpful to think about your potential customers in these terms? How do you adjust your targeting and messaging to meet the needs of these different micro-moments?

  • AdWords

Aden Andrus

Aden Andrus

Over his career, Aden has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping Disruptive's internal marketing game. He loves to write, dance and destroy computer monitors in full medieval armor.

Leave a comment

Featured Posts

Background Parallax
Background Parallax

Let's Do This!

Let's get in touch to see if we're a good fit to help you reach your business goals.
Contact the Disruptive Team
  • Google Premier Partner Logo White
  • Hubspot Certified Partner Logo
  • Bing Ads Accredited Professional Logo
  • Facebook Marketing Partner Logo
  • Klaviyo Master Elite Marketing Partner Logo
  • 5-Star Reviews on Clutch Logo
  • Best PPC Rankings Award
    Best PPC Rankings Award
  • Utah Venture Entrepreneur Forum Top 25 Under 5 Company
    Utah Venture Entrepreneur Forum Top 25 Under 5 Company
  • UB Best Companies to Work For Award
    UB Best Companies to Work For Award
  • 2020 National Excellence Award Winner
    2020 National Excellence Award Winner
  • Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies Award
    Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies Award
  • Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Companies #145 Icon
    Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Companies #145 Icon
  • Top PPC Company 2022 Design Rush Award
    Top PPC Company 2022 Design Rush Award
  • Top 1000 Companies Global 2021 Clutch Award
    Top 1000 Companies Global 2021 Clutch Award
  • Top Digital Marketing Agencies 2022 Clutch Award
    Top Digital Marketing Agencies 2022 Clutch Award

©2024 Disruptive Advertising