Geo 101: What Marketers Need To Know About Micro-Moments

They're critical to reaching consumers on the go. But the way that people are making in-the-moment searches is changing.

From geo-targeting to voice search, technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers. But it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far the power of location may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: what marketers need to know about the evolution of micro-moments.

What Are Micro-Moments?

Google first used the term “micro-moments” in 2015, as a means to describe the way mobile has created the consumer expectation for immediately being able to find — and get — what they want within instants after registering their interest online.

Essentially, the idea is that customers have always experienced moments where they want to “know, go, do, or buy” something, as Google puts is. But the smartphone allows users to solve for those wants while on-the-go, and nearly immediately. As such, it’s critical for brands to be present during these (often location-specific) “micro-moments” when wants are registered and decisions are made: After all, 76 percent of location-related searches result in a same-day business visit.

But the way that customers search for and find information during these “micro-moments” has evolved over the two years since the term was coined.

“Consumers have become more empowered than ever to get what they want, when they want it,” ThinkWithGoogle put it in a recent report. “Waiting has become a thing of the past. That translates into today’s pervasive micro-moment behavior — immediately turning to a device to know, go, do, and buy. To capitalize on that behavior and win over consumers, marketers have been forced to rewrite the rule book. [They’ve] had to double down on addressing the needs of consumers in the moment, committing to being there and being useful each and every time… In short, marketers have had to start being a lot more assistive.”

Successful Micro-Moments Marketing

In order to reach customers on their personal devices at the right moment, there are a few trends that marketers today should be aware of to start:

  • “Near Me” is now implied: In the early days of “micro-moments,” customers used the phrase “near me” en masse — and this was an indicator that they were looking for something to do our buy in the real world in real time. Today, Google’s research suggests that customers expect their search results to be “near them” by design: As search results have evolved pursuant to customers’ real-time, “near me” desires, they’ve become increasingly mapped to the physical world: For example, Google’s mapped “three-pack” of results appears at the top of search results. Additionally, if a consumer searches for “new car,” they don’t simply see links — they see the knowledge card, with prices, configurations, features of cars for sale, and more, all seamlessly. As we wrote earlier this year, Google now assumes people are looking for something in the physical world, which wasn’t the case several years ago. All of this appears to have rendered the “near me” search irrelevant — even as people expect more location-specific, targeted content than ever.
  • Search isn’t just text — it’s voice, too20 percent of searches within the Google app are by voice, and the volume of voice searches is growing across the board — particularly those facilitated by intelligent assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. In this year’s 2016 Internet Trends report, venture capitalist analyst Mary Meeker cited Google Trends statistics that keywords associated with “voice-related commands” have risen 35x since 2008, when Apple and Google first unveiled their respective speech-activated controls, and continue to climb. Essentially, customers are searching by voice during “micro-moments,” too — and that trend is likely to continue.

Brands are taking these changes seriously, prepping their underlying data layer for consumption by voice-activated intelligent assistants as well as thinking about how the voice/audio renaissance impacts what resonates with consumers during micro-moments.

For example, Pandora is taking a cue from shorter video ads currently being offered by YouTube, Facebook, Fox Networks, with a similar version for audio ads in order to help better capture mobile consumers on-the-go and drive sharper creative. As we wrote earlier this month, following tests of the shorter format that showed lifts in ad recall with pest control service Orkin and jobs site ZipRecruiter, Subway is planning to use the Pandora 10- and 30-second audio ads in the next few weeks. This shorter ad length reportedly prompted greater recall and action amongst younger demos.

Essentially, brands of all stripes will need to think about the future of search in order to remain discoverable during crucial micro-moments — as well as to create compelling mobile content that communicates relevant information quickly enough to match consumers’ desires and ability for recall.

Read more about micro-moments marketing:

How ‘Micro-Moments’ Changed The Marketing Game For, CVS

Macy’s Turns Toward Omnichannel, With Special Attention For ‘Micro-Moments’

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.