What is Consumer Intent and How to Leverage it?

Nowadays strategies like intent marketing, consumer intent or micro-moments are popping their heads up, challenging the way that marketers traditionally communicate with their audiences.

Let's suppose that you want to advertise a plagiarism checker to university students. Easy, you think -- just run a Facebook campaign and segment them by age group, location, and interests.

You'll probably find that through all their years of study, these students won't give a hoot about what you're selling, but come time to hand in their final papers, they'll be Googling like crazy, looking for a good plagiarism scanner.

And this is the exact moment when the plagiarism checker should arise as a solution.

A micro-moment is the point when consumers look for information, products or services.

During a micro-moment, consumers have different intentions: to do, to learn, to buy, to go, etc... that is called consumer intent.

Understanding micro-moments

Statista confirmed that 75% of searches occur in Google. Thus the majority of micro-moments take place when a consumer looks for specific information on Google.

Spotting micro-moments is an opportunity for brands to connect with potential consumers. Search engines are a touch point during the customer purchase journey. As Google proposes:

"At key moments along this journey, consumers are demonstrating their intent very clearly—in what has been dubbed 'micro-moments'—and these are the most compelling opportunities along the new journey path."

Google categorized the micro-moments into four big groups according to the type of search:

I-want-to-know moments

In this type of search, the consumer seeks knowledge. Most marketers call this moment informational type of intent, and it might not have a purchase intent at all.


Companies leverage this moment by offering a knowledge center, glossary or blog on their website. Building trust in the readers by fulfilling their information needs but also creating awareness of the brand.

If readers find useful information on a website, the moment that they shift from an I-want-to-know to an I-want-to-buy moment the website will be in their considered solutions.

Related keywords: what is ______, what does ______mean, _____ definition.

I-want-to-do moments

During this moment, consumers want to perform an activity but are looking for extra help in order to do it correctly.

Content related to the topic serve as guidance for the reader. Sometimes, in order to perform an activity in the best way, products or services are needed, so companies leverage this moment to give guidance but also to sell their products.

Keyword research

By answering these types of queries, companies introduce themselves as guides and build trust with the audience.

The consumer intent to purchase during the I-want-to-do-moment is medium, as some products are needed to perfom the action.

Related keywords: how to _____, how to do ______

I-want-to-go moments

These happen when consumers are looking for a nearby place and the intention to buy is high. In this case, the content that plays the most important part is the information presented on websites such as pricing, hours and inventory.

This micro-moment is assessed as a navigational type of search.

Pet shop

The importance of the website's information is also mentioned by Google:

More than half of smartphone users have purchased from a different company than they originally planned because it had the information they needed on their websites.

Thus, fulfilling your consumers' information needs may be the best way to capitalize on the consumer intent to purchase.

Related keywords: ____ nearby, the name of the city + place.

I-want-to-buy moments:

These moments mark the highest consumer intention to purchase.

If a company's website was already seen (during another micro-moment), consumers are more likely to recognize their brand and prioritize it in their list of options.

This moment is also called a transactional search.


For this type of search, it's suggested to have a design friendly payment system and clear pricing communication.

Related keywords: buy, discount, affordable, comparison, deal.

Spot and Leverage Micro-moments

Spotting micro-moments is an opportunity for brands to connect with potential consumers. Thus, search engines are a touch point during the customer purchase journey.

Understanding consumer intent and shaping a timely answer to their needs is an approach to connect with them. Nowadays keywords facilitate the opportunity to know understand how consumers think and what they want.

Keywords are the written form of consumer intent and the verbalization of their micro-moments.

Learning how to run a keyword research is fundamental to building content that works hand-in-hand with consumer intent. To find relevant keywords for a product or service we suggest using Google Keyword Planner or the Intellyo Creator Engine.

Forums like Quora also show recent queries of people looking for answers, so companies can filter the search by related keywords to find their consumers' intention needs.

Content that helpfully answers consumer queries has the potential to move prospects through the sales funnel.

The following figure explains the relationship between types of content and micro-moments during the customer purchase funnel.


Final tips

As micro-moments occur primarily on smartphones, companies should pay attention to the mobile version of their site. Together with page speed, this has a huge impact on SERPs. 

Companies that seek immediate sales should focus on high intent keywords (ready-to-buy moments).

Finally, marketers who put consumer intent at the heart of their content are the ones who manage to turn their content into a company asset.