Be the impulse buy, says Google. Whether on vacation, at a store, watching TV on the couch or peeking at a smartphone under the table during a meeting, "stolen moments" between consumers and brands happen all the time, writes Google's Matt Lawson. A lot of times, those moments include local searches that can result in quick conversions, says the performance ads marketing director.
In his April post on Think With Google, Lawson calls these stolen bits of time "I-Want-to-Go Moments: From Search to Store." He cites Google research that 10 percent to 18 percent of "clicks on search ads lead to a store visit." Further, half of those local searchers using smartphones visit a marketer within a day "and 18 percent of those searches lead to a purchase within a day."
Getting specific, Lawson says nearly 50 of restaurant seekers are eating at one within the hour, with that number jumping to 60 percent among Millennials. Diners even ask their smartphones what to eat. "Another [Google] survey showed that 40 percent of Millennials looked up information about their food while in a restaurant within the last month," he writes. "Similarly, 'coffee near me' is a popular search on mobile, but so is 'macchiato calories.' "
Here are a few steps marketers can take to be ready for those local searches:
- Take Care of the Basics. Search the Web and find any situations in which the business name, address and phone number are incorrect. Fix them. Do the same on apps, such as Yelp. This definitely has to happen on any paid ads. Are directions, inventory and pricing correct?
- Explore Keywords. Lawson suggests checking Google Trends for any keywords specific to particular marketers, in order to see when and how marketers use them the most. For instance, "near me" shoots up 55 percent in searches around Christmas and the New Year—presumably when consumers are on vacation. During this time, the "near me" searches for restaurants, breakfast and coffee are popular and, Lawson points out, consumers are less brand-loyal.
Consumers are also making changes in their lives with "near me" tagging along. Gyms, tailors, jewelers, shoe stores, furniture stores, appliances are accompanied by perhaps more permanent decisions, such as "dermatologists near me," "plumbers near me" and "jobs near me," Lawson says.
Keywords change during weekends to, for instance, movie theaters, nail salons, drinks, pizza and church. (See the image for a deeper dive into weekend keywords.)
- Rubber, Meet Road. Lawson's post surprisingly doesn't mention adding or ensuring the accuracy of a Google Local listing, but goes straight to paid options. So this is where just about any search engine optimization professional would suggest marketers create content and keep it current so they appear prominently in organic search results. Additionally, Google's April 21 algorithm update raising rankings for mobile-friendly sites plays into this smartphone-centric "stolen moment" theme.
As for the paid options, Lawson suggests "Local Inventory Ads" that show available inventory right in the search ad. Macy's, REI and PetSmart are using these, he says. Also, using PetSmart as an example, Lawson says "Location Extensions" are ads including phone numbers and directions so searchers can act on what they find.