Win more customers in the micro-moments that matter

Have you ever done any of the following?

• Searched on your phone to find a place to eat?
• Searched how to fix something, cook something, build something, or clean something?
• Searched to see what events are happening that night or weekend?
• Searched to see if there was a store in the area that carried a specific item you wanted so you didn’t drive all over town looking for it?

These are just a few of the examples of what people are searching for today. So, if you are like the growing majority, your answer was “yes” to at least one of these searches.

I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t own a smartphone (or at least a mobile phone) these days. All my clients do.

The increased use of mobile phones has had a big impact on the way people interact with ads. Which is why the most successful companies are creating ads that target what Google coined as “micro-moments” and then they use PPC to drive people to these ads.

The American Marketing Association defines a micro-moment as “a mobile moment that requires only a glance to identify and delivers quick information that you can either consume or act on immediately.”

In other words, people are searching for very specific pieces of information such as where is the closest pizza place, how long should you cook sweet potatoes, or where can I get new tires for my car today?

Here’s something else worth noting: According to the Google/Ipsos Consumers in the Micro-Moment study (March 2015), “91% of smartphone users turn on their phone for ideas while doing a given task.” Plus, one in three smartphone users has purchased from a company or brand other than the one they were looking for because of the information provided at the moment they needed it.

Which means if you aren’t creating ads to target these micro-moments you’re losing business to companies that are. If you are targeting these micro-moments, congratulations, because you are winning new customers away from your competitors.

What are the micro-moments people search for?

Google has identified five different micro-moments (which also apply to YouTube searches):

1) I want to watch what I’m into moments. These feed people’s passions and interests.
2) I want to know moments. These feed people who are exploring, learning or researching.
3) I want to go moments. These feed people who want to go to your store and shop right now.
4) I want to do moments. These feed people looking for instruction.
5) I want to buy moments. These help people decide about what or how to buy.

People expect their digital experiences to be customized to them in other ways too.

Here are three ways consumers want their searches customized for them:

1. What’s “near me”?

Consumers want location-specific responses, so if they’re searching for a dentist or ice cream or whatever nearby, they want to be able to type in “dentist” and get appropriate responses. Where people used to expect to have to type in their location or “near me”, today people assume their smartphone will know where they are.

2. Where can I purchase this “right now”?

More and more, consumers also use their smartphones to make spur-of-the-moment purchases. In fact, according to Google/Ipsos Connect, Rising Consumer Expectations in the Micro-Moment, U.S. Survey (Dec 2016), “smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago.” That means they want to be able to make a dinner reservation, book a hotel room, or find a pharmacy that is open “right now” simply by entering “Italian food”, “hotel room” or “pharmacy.”

3. What’s the “best”

Consumers also use their phones as a guide to finding solutions. Perhaps they are looking for a math tutor for their child. Or they moved to the area and they need to find a new doctor. They will search for guidance on how to make the best decision. This extends to everything from the safest car to kitchen faucets to what are the best places to ski. Mobile searches for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years!

Consumers want and expect their searches to be fast and easy. If your business isn’t meeting this requirement, they’ll find another business that is. And because businesses are adapting and complying with their wishes, they are using search more than ever before. In fact, experts predict that these expectations will only continue to rise. People will want to get things done even faster, be more informed and have even more personal experiences.

The good news is as a small business owner, you can now level the playing field and create a huge competitive advantage by creating ads to address these micro-moments. If you haven’t taken steps to serve consumers in this more personalized way, then I encourage you to adapt and adapt quickly. It’ll be one of the most important marketing decisions you ever make.