Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock or spending too much time on Facebook obsessing over the latest meme of the week, you are fully aware that everyone’s lives now revolve around their mobile phone. 

We use them for everything and we can’t live without them. Merchants know this, affiliates know this, and so does Google; they even have a name for it.


It’s all about the now, it’s all about location, it’s all about the instantaneous need for information. It’s all about tapping the vast array of information readily and immediately available at one’s fingertips. 

Google describes it thusly: “Throughout the day in hundreds of micro-moments, people count on their mobile devices for information and inspiration. These I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy, and I-want-to-do moments are big opportunities for your brand to win people over and influence their purchases​ and preferences. Explore this collection to understand the basics of what micro-moments are, why they matter, and ​how to think about winning four critical types.”

It’s not necessarily a new concept. We’ve been dealing with location-based marketing topics since the first smartphone had GPS capabilities and even before with crude local search tactics. But now, with the maturity of the technology, the adoption and understanding by brands of the technology and the prevalence of omnichannel retail strategies, micro-moments have become extremely important to merchants looking to connect on-the-fly with consumers.

Immediate needs

Several brands have quickly adopted strategies to leverage these micro-moments. For example, Airbnb uses mobile to give tourists a customised, local experience with Hosted Walks; Dunkin’ Donuts serves the immediate caffeine needs of people on the go with Time to Coffee, an Adwords-promoted microsite with a map of locations in the immediate area; Sephora uses micro-moment strategies to turn everyone’s smartphone into local store magnets by using Google’s local inventory ads which serves up products available in stores nearby.

It’s all about understanding the consumer’s immediate needs, creating specific offers for those immediate needs and delivering the right content in the right context that’s optimised for the specific moment the consumer is passing through on their journey to purchase

These micro-moments, as defined here, are all fuelled by paid media, specifically search engine marketing and are, for the most part, location-based. But do they have to be? What if these micro-moments could be fuelled and used differently? 

A micro-moment doesn’t have to be location-based, it can also be time-based or need-based. Marry that with the rise in importance of the social content creator, and their propensity to mention, most times unpaid, a product and brand and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an affiliate marketing-based micro-moment.

Affiliate integration 

In Google’s version of the micro-moment, a brand pays Google to run an ad that is then found when a person performs a search for a particular product or something nearby. That ad leads to some kind of branded micro-moment landing page with an offer. The same thing can happen with content creators who are touting products and brands in their feeds which causes the same I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy, and I-want-to-do moment in the mind of the consumer who then seeks out the very thing that will satiate their need.

When they turn to Google to find the thing that will satiate their need, sure, they might see an ad at the top of the page but they will also see thousands of other organic sources for the same need. Many of those sources are created and managed by affiliates who work hard – by providing informative, useful and interesting content – to be in the face of the consumer at the exact moment they have a need. And, as mentioned above, those affiliates are not paid by the promoted merchant or brand until after a sale is made from their site.

The idea is that content creators, whether they be bloggers or social media personalities creating content on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Snapchat, are laying the foundation for millions of micro-moments just waiting to be enacted when a person doing a search or scrolling through their social media feed finds a match for a need.

In the past, affiliate marketing has been all about search, coupons and loyalty programmes but the future – as it has become in all other forms of marketing – is content, and micro-moments are a natural offshoot of this shift.

Why pay for your micro-moment when you have it for (relatively) free using affiliate marketing strategies?