Hyper Local Discovery

Hyper Local Discovery

As Google continues to invest in mobile, what does that mean for search marketers? Columnist Adam Dorfman explores how Google is paving the way for mobile location-based marketing.In recent months, Google has made significant moves to invent the future of location marketing.

The mobile-friendly update hastened the evolution of location marketing into mobile location marketing. The launch of the Google My Business API underscored the importance of location data as the foundation of location marketing. And now, Google is inventing the future for “near me micro-moments” by autocompleting “near me” searches for both mobile and desktop users, which accelerates the customer journey at the local level.

Near Me Autocompletes

Google is encouraging the uptake of “near me” micro-moments by autocompleting our searches in both branded and non-branded categories.

Micro-moments, a term Google created, are explained as “intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey.” They occur when people start looking for things to do, places to go and things to buy, usually by doing a search on their mobile devices.

Often, consumers are looking for answers near them (e.g., “Star Wars movie times near me”). Google has made a compelling case for “near me” micro-moments through thought leadership such as a guidebook that shows how many brands have succeeded by focusing on the shift to mobile (plus tips for how you can, too).

But Google isn’t just observing micro-moments. Google is creating them. I recently tested 142 non-branded keywords, ranging from “accountants” to “X-ray clinic,” on both desktop and mobile. When I searched for those keywords in Google (using private search), over 90 percent autocompleted “near me” on desktop searches and 78 percent autocompleted “near me” on mobile.

Clearly, Google is responding to consumer intent with these autocompletes. Google is anticipating that when users enter words such as “accountants,” “banks,” “toy store” or “Vietnamese food,” chances are that they intend to find something near their location, regardless of platform.

Micro-moments are significant for another reason: they accelerate the customer journey. Sometimes research and purchase occur on one device. And most certainly, micro-moments accelerate the path to offline purchase. For instance, according to Google, nearly half of consumers trying to decide on a restaurant do their local search within an hour of actually going.

The autocompletion of “near me” searches is the latest in a series of major changes Google has enacted in recent months to seemingly impose its will on the future. A few other examples that come to mind: