Getting the attention of today’s consumer is harder than ever before. They are on multiple devices, accessing numerous forms of media. Their paths to purchase are as varied as flavors of ice cream. And many use ad-blocking technology to run from attempts to reach them. It’s like chasing fireflies that light up and disappear in the dark just as you swing your net.
This is a reality that won’t be changing anytime soon. As consumers’ digital experiences are increasingly interrupted by pop-up ads, pre-roll videos and banners that obscure their view, ads and unsolicited content seem to generate more irritation than interest.
While more are trying to improve marketing and ROI through targeting, that still doesn’t always solve the problem of timing (i.e., serving up the content at the right moment). The ultimate goal is not just to serve up an ad or coupon to the right person, but also to time it to the moment when that information is needed or desired.
Google coined the term “micro-moment” to capture that instant when a person is open to discovery — looking for information or searching for products or services.
Micro-moments, according to Google
Google VP of Marketing Lisa Gevelber, who conceived the micro-moments concept, explained that in today’s mobile climate, “intent is more important than identity and demographics, and immediacy is more important than brand loyalty.”
Google has identified four distinct moments every marketer should know:
Each represents a distinct consumer action, and together they cover the full range of user needs across all stages of the consumer journey.
Graphic from Google’s “ Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile “
The challenge and potential return of micro-moments
With micro-moments by definition being short, and the amount of data required to predict when they might occur seemingly voluminous, it’s clear that companies struggle with trying to manage the concept.
Forrester reports that only 26 percent of marketers have the data and analytics necessary to identify customers’ moments of need. Only 27 percent have a system in place that can effectively deliver ads or marketing when the moment is identified, and just nine percent can measure them. Combined, that means only two percent of marketers have all the necessary pieces in place to fully take advantage of the micro-moment.
Yet having even some pieces in place can be very profitable. That same Forrester report states that just being able to identify micro-moments makes it 65 percent more likely a marketer will report very profitable mobile ROI. Having an infrastructure to deliver on moments of intent makes it 33 percent more likely, and measuring moments with analytics tools makes it 43 percent more likely.
These micro-moments are also great equalizers for local businesses. According to Google, 65 percent of smartphone users look for the most relevant information, regardless of company or provider, which levels the playing field for local businesses that compete with more recognizable brands.
Capturing those micro-moments may seem to local businesses like trying to create the perfect storm. But being aware of some consumer behavior and utilizing new technologies can help you get there. Following are nine data points and corresponding tips that may help you adjust your local search and marketing strategy to take advantage of the consumer shift to micro-moments and boost your ROI.
1. 33% of mobile users switch to a competitor who provides helpful information
Draft content that helps consumers make decisions.
The internet has changed the way we think. As the volume of information increases exponentially, and access becomes easier, we no longer retain information in our memory as before.
According to research covered by Harvard Magazine , instead of remembering the content itself, we’ve adjusted to remembering where to find it. In other words, we search for it online, using search terms and platforms where we believe the answer lies. But those who have trouble remembering distinct facts may struggle to use those facts in critical thinking (like decision-making).
Today, consumers rely more on content found to provide relevant information that will help them make decisions, which means they go into the process with less bias. That is reflected in statistics from Google that 51 percent of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone — and that one in three users purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended to after discovering information in the moment they needed it. Further, 69 percent of users are more likely to buy from companies that help them easily find answers to their questions.
So, create content that is helpful or educational and that answers questions consumers may have about your product or service. Address attributes that consumers shop for — such as functionality, durability and expertise — and use anecdotes and images to illustrate the quality of your product or service. Reference or incorporate reviews into your content that others have voted as being helpful to their decision-making process.
For example, in response to a search for “best sounding acoustic guitar strings,” an article that compares the various types of strings, the materials they are made of and the pros and cons of each will both attract an interested buyer and help him or her make a decision. Having a link to your related product page or prices and an add-to-cart button will assist with converting that lead into a sale.
And use different forms of media designed to be informative. Videos, blogs or articles all are ways to serve informative content, and they can include a call to action to contact, visit or buy from you.
2. 43% of consumers ignore companies that serve irrelevant content
Customize relevant search results with local inventory ads.
The opposite is also true — unhelpful content is bypassed or can even have negative returns. Consumers just don’t like content that isn’t relevant to what they are looking for.
In a survey by Gigya , 67 percent of consumers unsubscribed from email lists when targeted with irrelevant emails, and 43 percent ignored future communications from the company. Thirty-two percent went further and boycotted the company’s sites or apps, and 20 percent stopped buying from the company.