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A Kale-Infested Journey Through Google’s Micro-Moments

Micro-moments very often start with boredom.

Example: You’re in the waiting room. Easy listening muzak flutes drowsily out of overhead speakers. The People magazines stacked around you date back to before Kelly Clarkson won American Idol.

You sense a yawn approaching. And then you have a micro-moment:

You’re going to kill time and be productive (two birds, one stone, baby!) by Googling “healthy dinner recipes with kale” because said leafy greens are on the edge of going bad in your fridge. Boredom solved! And dinner too, hopefully.

Hours later at the grocery store, where you’re picking up tomatoes for your kale and tomato spaghetti dinner (sounded somewhat delicious, considering the involvement of kale), you stand in line feeling listless.

Out comes your smart phone for a quick Google query of “why is kale so popular?” because it really is mystifying as to why people eat the stuff, and further troubles you how enthusiastically you’ve been buying into the trend. You click on one of the top results, a Telegraph article titled “Why It’s Now Cool To Eat Kale”, and scan it for clues. It does not offer any satisfying reasoning (it’s challenging to cook, and therefore virtuous?!), but now the line is advancing and you need to pick up your basket and resume this micro-moment another time.

Glancing in your basket, you realize you forgot to buy the juicer (for green kale smoothies), on the bridal registry for the wedding you’re attending this weekend. You log in to the registry on the Bed, Bath and Beyond website and make the purchase in a pricey yet satisfying micro-moment.

As you leave the grocery store, you decide it would be fun to pair dinner with some gelato from that new Italian deli, because if you eat kale for dinner it cancels out dessert, right?

But where shall you go to corrupt your diet? Pulling out your phone to route directions to “Italian deli near me” on Google, you have another micro-moment along with a brief reaction of guilt.

Understanding the power of Google’s micro-moments

There you have it. Four micro-moments over the course of a couple hours. Google classifies micro-moments into four broad categories:

  • I want to do
  • I want to know
  • I want to buy
  • I want to go

Mobile devices are easily within our reach 24/7. So when these “I want” urges happen on the fly, we have the answers and solutions at our fingertips.  We can act on impulse at any time. Seemingly minor, fleeting thoughts (“How does one become an ocean rescue correspondent?”, “What pairs well with Cheetos?”) now ignite meaningful plans.

Google urges marketers to pay attention to these short, powerful bursts of action. Here’s why:

Micro-moments are opportunities for you to meet your customers online and deliver the information or solution they seek. And since we’re all on mobile, all the time (mobile searches now account for 60% of all searches), it makes sense to take it seriously.

Imagine being that website with the delicious tomato and kale spaghetti recipe, or having just the right information in just the right place to lead customers over to your freshly launched Italian deli. You can win the micro-moments, and win customers in the process.

Win customers during micro-moments

Here are some ground rules:

  • Remember that when a mobile user is engaged in a micro-moment, expectations are high and patience is low. Do not make them think more than a millisecond about what they have to do to find what they want.
  • We do not have crystal balls, but we do have lots of tools for understanding our customers’ behaviour on the mobile web. Get friendly with Google Analytics, and Webmaster Tools to analyze your website’s mobile traffic and determine where and when engagement drops off, and what pages are most pursued; this will help you decide which elements of your site need to be improved to greet your users in micro-moments that are relevant to your brand.
  • Consider all the touch points – your AdWords presence, your social platforms, your website; what can you do to unify the experience of all three, and make the most important, micro-accessed information easy to consume?
  • Brainstorm potential customer journeys, from the initial thought to the execution of the “I want to…” for your product or service. Think critically about how your various web touch points accommodate the customer’s needs throughout the experience.

Be mindful of your own micro-moments. The more you are aware of your own behavioural patterns, the more naturally you will be able to make use of the data in fluid, human ways. Micro ways.

See Also

Google Prioritizes Mobile-Friendly Websites


Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons user Dwight Sipler. Link to photo here.

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