Google’s “Micro-Moments” Highlight Fundamental Shift in Consumer Behavior

You know that feeling when you forget your phone? It’s a feeling of vulnerability and helplessness, as we have become increasingly dependent on that powerful little device. We expect to be connected to who and what we want to, and we expect to find answers and solutions to our problems on demand.

This has changed the way consumers make purchase decisions. The traditional consumer journey is now divided up into various real-time, intent-driven “micro-moments,” providing marketers the opportunity to identify and prepare for the exact moments right when a consumer reaches for their device.

Google has identified various insights driving overall micro-moments to showcase the variety of opportunities for marketers, many of which are applicable to the CPG category.

Google-Micro-Moments

  • People evaluate purchase decisions in-the-moment. When walking through a store, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision. More people are reaching for their phone to investigate products and prices than are actually asking for help from an associate in store.
  • People solve unexpected problems in-the-moment. 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.  If their dishwasher breaks, they will immediately go to their device to investigate the problem and the products and services that may provide a solution.
  • Micro-moments fill voids or lulls in time or complement multitasking. For example, people turn to their phones when waiting in line, commuting, walking, shopping, relaxing, and more.

As marketers, it is our job to identify how to add value to each of these micro-moments. We should consider what micro-moments are most important to our brand, and which provide an opportunity to highlight our product while making our consumers’ lives easier. How we create content and add value to consumers in each of these micro-moments can set us apart from our competitors.

To learn more about Google’s Micro-Moments, visit their research on Think With Google.

Originally posted on Digitally Approved, here.

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Google Algorithm Update will Prioritize Mobile Websites in Search

Google recently announced that they will be using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in driving search results to users, beginning this April.

In the announcement, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog stated:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

That means mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive sites will earn better positioning in Google’s mobile search engine results, and sites that are not optimized for mobile will see less mobile, organic traffic.

This all makes sense. More and more people access the web on mobile devices, and it’s Google’s job to return to you what is user-friendly and relevant, or you won’t come back. The problem is, this will impact small local business owners the most, as many don’t have marketing departments or budgets to create responsive web sites, yet many of their customers rely on Google search to find local services. Google does aim to provide many robust resources to help developers prepare and optimize websites. You can even test if a site is mobile ready according to Google.

Google has been recommending responsive web design for years now, but this is the first time they have officially announced that it will have an impact on search as a result.

Originally posted here.

What’s Beyond Twitter & Facebook?

Last week, @dutchessmtg tweeted to me:  How can a new product have a bigger online presence other than from using Facebook and Twitter? (luggage)

Those who have heard my lectures on social media know I am a huge fan of using social media to find core niche spaces for brands (especially new ones) to communicate their messages. Because even if your niche space has 13 fans, those fans are more passionate, more engaged than that hundreds on Facebook who let your messages fly right by them on Timeline. So, this is a topic I love love love to discuss.

I talk about it like this: there are two main spaces in social media. The “Niche” spaces and the “Mega” Spaces. Mega spaces would be Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, while niche spaces might be more like a specialized blog, Ning community, Meetup.com Board, or Yahoo!Answers thread.

I’m a huge fan of using the niche spaces to drive traffic, increase sales, get more shares, and feel there is huge opportunity there.  Mega spaces are great, and pretty much by default necessary these days (since your competitors are probably there and helps you come up in Searches). But, for example, say you’re Hershey’s. You probably have a Facebook page but don’t necessarily need a strong niche campaign because everyone knows what you do. You are well established and well distributed. But let’s say you’re introducing a new organic, Stevia-sweetened candy bar. You need to make sure you are on every organic, diabetes, and green recipe site on the web. You want to be in blogs, you want to do more of a guerilla campaign in talking about your product to generate awareness. The niche spaces play an important role in this type of Word-of-Mouth marketing.

You say you want to learn about social media for a luggage brand. Just like in any communications campaign, we start with the basics. First, who is your target? This will help you identify both the mega and niche spaces where your prospective customers are hanging out. Second, what are you trying to communicate? Is your luggage competitively priced? Is it more stylish? Does it roll easier? What are your differentiators? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself to determine what type of content will work for your social media campaign. Finally, what action will you drive your visitors to do? Buy? Click on a link? Like the page? Share? What exactly is it you want them to do? Keep that in mind when you are developing content. Maybe you have a great story to tell, but you want traffic to your site. Maybe you tell half of it on an external site, and put a  “… read more” link that leads to your site.

Then find the niche communities where you can post and create content. Here are a few communities off the top of my head for luggage to think about after you have established a list of key differentiators your product has:

Travel blogs (engage bloggers with your content)
Ning travel communities
Meetup.com Travel Enthusiast Boards
Travel boards on Pinterest with high # followers
Sample sale aggregators/blogs
Fashion blogs and forums – is your differentiator style?
Yahoo!Answers – are people asking for a better product? YOUR product? If not, what related Q’s are being asked? Can you answer them?

Well, @dutchessmtg, I hope this helps. Feel free to comment or tweet any further questions.

evil twins & linkedin: the social job hunt

for designers, communicators, and marketers, using social media in the hunt shows we actually have the skills we promise on our resume. For everyone else, your online impression is your first and maybe only impression you’ll make.

when the ball’s in your court,  make it count.
It amazes me how many MBA students in my classes don’t have LinkedIn accounts. According to Socialnomics, 80% of recruiters use social media to recruit, 95% of them use LinkedIn.

Hiring officers now have your LinkedIn profile, your Google listing, and all sorts of social networks as their first impression of you, because if they know how to use a computer, they are 100% “Googling” you before they bring you to the office for an interview. But it’s not only these “mega” spaces where you need to tell the world that you are awesome and in need of some work. My sister Ariel renamed her social media accounts on Tumblr and Twitter to “Hire Ariel” while looking for a job. And while wandering around NYC this weekend, I saw neon posters that said “Sarahneedsajob.com,” which led to a blog, portfolio and website. This Parson’s grad even got on CNN as a result, and weekly site traffic of ~10,000 hits when she began the project.

play good defense.
I had a previous boss “Google” me back in 2007 before my first interview. There just so happened to be a far less…we’ll say mature….girl who shared my name who had quite the presence on social media. Bebo, MySpace, you name it. When searching for me, my boss thought that the inappropriate social commentary and racy graphics she found on these social networks were in fact mine. Lucky for me, she realized after a few clicks that this girl was living in the UK and was 17 years old, and not ME.

I did land that job, but this scared me enough to make sure that I had a stronger presence online and that the Hannah Redmond I wanted portrayed was coming up in search. I published more articles, made an online portfolio, and added a Google profile.

Lesson: be strategic… and find and defeat evil online twins.


Tag, you’re it!

As you are probably aware, we are in information overload with the internet and social media. We don’t open the mailbox and fish out the newspaper to find out what’s going on in the world anymore: news is pushed to us in Tweets, Diggs, Facebook status updates, Gchats, and more. So how do we sort all this information out? We play tag.

It’s amazing what we are capable of tagging and sorting now online and how we can use it strategically.

1. Tags helps the user/customer find exactly what they are looking for.
If you are on a mission to find a product you need to buy today and you don’t find it on overstock.com in a matter of 30 seconds, chances are you’re off to amazon.com or any of the thousands of sites that might sell it. You don’t stick around, you have options. Tagging products (or posts or anything for that matter) appropriately makes your audience find what they want in a matter of seconds with as few clicks as possible. (My rule on my web pages I design is 2 clicks!) Don’t lose your potential business to a competitor in a matter of seconds because your products are not easily found, people! Remember, its one thing getting people to your site, its another thing keeping them engaged and happy.

2. Tags increase your website’s SEO.
Everything on your site should be tagged for search engine optimization purposes. SEO is a much larger animal, but in my work I have found using Picasa and tagging every photo with my website’s key words and links increases our position in Google search results. It’s important in the clutter of information on the internet to tag everything you can with keywords that will help people find you. If you can’t be found, you have no business!