Micro-moments happen billions of times every day and they could be the key to the success of your brand’s optimization strategy.
But what are they? And how can getting them right boost your business?
We’ll explore what micro-moments have to offer and how getting these customer touch points right can help you optimise these interactions.
Micro-moments are a new consumer behavior, defined by Google as the critical touch points within the customer journey which, added together, will ultimately determine how that journey ends.
Micro-moments describe the brief encounters customers have online when seeking information – the quick search for a local pizza restaurant, browsing for a video that supports the DIY they are in the process of doing, the price check in-store before deciding on a purchase, or perhaps checking what Twitter has to say about a TV programme they’re watching.
Google is calling micro-moments “the new battle ground for brands”. Get this brief encounter right and you could convert your customer in the spur of the moment by answering whatever need they have in that particular instant.
According to Google’s own research, mobiles are key to this battle ground. With consumers checking their phones around 150 times per day, these are very short visits online through the mobile channel.
On average, mobile visits are just 1 minute and 10 seconds long. These are the points at which we may be trying to solve a problem or looking for answers, and these are the moments where brands may be able to assist with a solution. In fact, mobile conversion rates have increased by 29% in the last year.
Google divides these micro-moments into four actions:
- I want to buy
- I want to know
- I want to go
- I want to do
All these represent different requirements at that particular point in time. ‘I want to go’ consumers might be looking for a local business to meet their needs and represents an opportunity for your local business to get into their consideration set.
‘Near me’ is a rising search intent according to Search Engine Watch, up 100% in the last year.
SEW identifies a number of ways your business can optimise for ‘near me’ intent searches during these kinds of micro-moments.
These include making your opening hours available to search engines, having customer reviews enabled, getting more local inbound links from your geographical community, and doing a local search audit using one of the tools it recommends.
On YouTube, searches related to ‘how to…’ are growing 70% year on year as consumers look to video for information. Brands getting there with the right content can meet customer needs and show their own authority at that point in time.
Unilever managed to become the premier hair brand on YouTube in only 10 weeks by using search information to identify what consumers were searching for in terms of online hair care information. Unilever then used beauty bloggers to create relevant content meeting these needs by identifying emerging hair trends.
This drove amazing brand engagement and meant that whenever a consumer had a hair-related query, the brand was there to meet it.
Getting micro-moments right
Google’s argument is that branding is less important during a micro-moment than the ability of the company to be able to meet a customer’s need at that particular point in time. This includes being able to offer fast, frictionless mobile service that’s relevant to the customer’s need.
To check whether your brand is present enough via mobile search to be visible to the customer during a micro-moment, try performing a relevant search for your type of business on mobile and see how visible it is for one of these ‘I want to…’ searches.
If your brand isn’t visible enough at this critical instant the customer searches, a lack of visibility often hands the customer over to your competitors.
It seems the customer is often brand agnostic during a micro-moment, so being available at that critical point is vital to ensuring your brand is the one meeting their requirement.
It’s also worth considering the consumer’s intent within the available context. They might be quite different during your store hours compared to when the store is closed, for instance. If the customer is browsing whilst in-store, it could be there needs are very different compared to when they are elsewhere.
Beauty retailer Sephora found that customers were using their mobiles in store to look at reviews of the products they were buying, or to check whether they were buying the same shade of make up they did last time they purchased. This represented a need to find reassurance about what they intended to buy. Sephora reacted by creating a mobile site that offered reassurance at that point in time and at that specific in-store location to serve their needs.
Meeting customer needs in these critical micro-moments is a question of meeting their wants, needs and curiosity right across the customer journey, rather than just at the end point when they finally reach buying mode. It’s essentially a question of how your brand can make itself useful in these key moments.
For more information about micro-moments, read this guide produced by Google, which contains more information and case studies on this emerging trend.