Thought Leadership

What are Google Micro-Moments? A Definition of Google Micro-Moments, Benefits, Best Practices, and More

Google micro-moments have been around for a few years now, but they’re still proving mysterious enigmas to many marketers. We’ve put together this short guide to let you in on all the basics you need to know about micro-moments and how to put them to use to improve your marketing efforts.

A Definition of Google Micro-Moments

Think With Google defines micro-moments as, “critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey.” As a marketer, you’re already familiar with the concept of a buyer’s journey or customer journey, so the concept seems simple. And on the surface, it is.

Micro-moments are touchpoints at which consumers are acting on a need, including:

  • To learn something What are Google Micro-Moments?
  • To do something
  • To discover something
  • To watch something
  • To buy something

Micro moments emerged from Google’s research over the past several years, which revealed that today’s consumers don’t make decisions by following a consistent, defined path to purchase. One particular driver of this trend is the rise of mobile. Consider the following stats about smartphone users:

  • 82% turn to their mobile devices to aid buying decisions when they’re about to make a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.
  • 91% turn to their mobile devices in the middle of performing a task for ideas or inspiration.
  • 65% say that when searching on their mobile devices, they’re looking for the most relevant information – regardless of the company providing that information.
  • 90% don’t have a specific brand in mind when they set out to make a purchase.
  • Among those who do have a brand in mind, 1 in 3 have made a purchase from a company other than the brand they intended to buy from, simply because a competitor provided the information they needed in the moment they needed it.
  • 51% have discovered a new company or brand while browsing for information on their mobile devices.

Benefits of Google Micro-Moments

The statistics above point to the immense opportunities for brands to connect with buyers in those critical moments, particularly on mobile, and influence buying decisions by providing the right information at the right time – when consumers need it most.

Additionally, today’s brands have greater opportunities to capture competitive market share by providing better, more readily accessible, and relevant information to consumers. If your competitors are leaving knowledge gaps, leveraging micro-moments to fill those needs is an opportunity that you can’t pass up.

Challenges of Google Micro-Moments

Micro-moments aren’t without challenges, most of which are the inverse of the benefits outlined above. For instance, you don’t want to be the brand losing out on customers because your competitors are better at providing that critical information to consumers at those crucial touchpoints. That means you’ll need to leverage data to predict what information and resources your audience needs most and being present with the right information at the right moments.

Micro-moments are continuing to multiply as consumer trends and demands continue to shape the way mobile is used throughout the buying process. For instance, mobile searches for “best” rose 80% between July 2015 and July 2017, indicating that consumers are aiming to be better-advised in selecting the right products for their needs. And, consumers are now more likely to make purchases from companies with sites or apps that customize information to the user’s location than they were in 2016. Mobile searches for “product reviews” have grown by 35% in the past two years, and videos with the word “review” in the title have experienced 50,000 years of watch time – on mobile alone.

Finally, today’s consumers are more likely to expect to make purchases directly from their smartphones compared to 2016. The lesson here is that micro-moments are growing and changing, meaning that the primary challenge for marketers is staying on top of consumer trends and demands to ensure that they’re meeting those critical demands in the moments that matter.

Take, for example, the “right now” trend, as consumers are making more last-minute plans and making purchases on the spot. Waiting for mobile sites and apps to load isn’t the ideal way for consumers to spend their time, and in fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load. What’s more, conversions drop by 12% for every one second delay in site-loading time. With so many factors weighing into the micro-moments experience, today’s marketers must take a broad, all-encompassing approach.

Best Practices for Leveraging Google Micro-Moments

Google suggests that brands concentrate on four key moments to leverage micro-moments:

  • I Want to Know – consumers who are exploring or purchasing but aren’t quite in “ready to buy” mode
  • I Want to Go – when a consumer is looking for information about a nearby business or considering a purchase at a nearby store
  • I Want to Do – consumers needing assistance in completing a task or trying something new
  • I Want to Buy – consumers ready to make a purchase but needing help with deciding what to buy or how to buy it

To take advantage of these micro-moments, brands and marketers must:

  • Be There – by anticipating micro-moments for your audience and being there with the right information when those moments happen
  • Be Useful – by providing a relevant digital experience with information that they need in those moments and connecting consumers with the answers they’re searching for
  • Be Accountable – by creating a seamless, omni-channel customer experience across both screens and channels, as well as by measuring the collective impact across all channels and screens to refine your efforts

Today’s consumers experience an average of 150 micro-moments every day. The key for today’s marketers is to understand that your brand isn’t the center of your customer’s world, and instead of trying to shape your audience around your brand, you should be focusing on capturing the attention of your target customers by being present, being relevant, and being helpful in the few seconds you have to earn their attention – and their trust – in those micro-moments.

Further Reading on Customer-Focused Marketing

For more information on customer-centric marketing tools and strategies, check out the following resources: