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Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Google-sponsored breakfast on micro-moments – those ‘I want to know/go/do/buy’ impulses we all experience when we have a question and impulsively reach for our smartphones to find what we’re looking for. For many of us, it’s become a reflexive response.

Google’s talking about these a lot lately – and with good reason – it has identified micro-moments as one of the key trends in our path to purchase.And, being Google, they’ve got data to back that up. For example:

  • 82% of people with smartphones use a search engine to find a local business.
  • That same number – 82% — checks smartphones in a store when deciding what to buy
  • 91% of smartphone users get ideas from their phones while doing a task
  • Consumers will watch 100 million hours of how-to video content this year
  • 93% of folks who use mobile for research make a purchase

Impressive numbers to say the least. Two columns ago, I wrote about several things communicators could do to get their heads around micro-moments. Now I want to take that a few steps further by examining Google’s data and offering ideas on how that might apply to PR.

Mobile search helps us discover local businesses and decide what to buy

There’s no doubt about it, searches are the new clips. In the same way we reflexively turned to mainstream media for news and information about, say, a restaurant, movie, concert, car, washing machine, vacation, summer camp for our kids, and so on – we now use mobile search. This is where press releases (the format, that is) need to be thrown out and replaced by visual stories posted in consumer-friendly newsrooms. PR can help organizations develop, optimize and manage newsrooms and fill them with enticing, informative and sharable content.

We get ideas from smartphones when doing something else

We’ve all become multi-taskers, consuming a seemingly endless stream of media. Which means PR pros should move away from the well-worn plan and focus instead on creating content for the moment. We can do that by paying even closer attention to breaking news, being nimble and practicing improv (with all its highs and lows). It won’t be easy and it will require a shift toward uncertainty for both agencies and clients. Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Predictions for 2015 encourages organizations to embrace uncertain business processes. A true commitment to real-time content creation is just that.

100 million hours of how-to video

People want to learn how to do things and PR can help organizations teach their audiences what they want to know. Google observed that as they’re getting ready to head back to school, students are searching for things like locker organization tips and fingernail art. PR has always produced seasonal matte stories (pre-packaged articles) or tips. Why not expand this into how-to videos based on a well-executed big idea amplified using paid, earned, owned and shared media?

Mobile search often leads to purchase

Of course it all comes down to ROI and we know we need more than impressions to show our value. Understanding the user experience by analysing data and creating content from insights that drive our customers to a measurable outcome will demonstrate we’re achieving our goals.

These are four things PR pros can test out right now. And as the profession gets more sophisticated, there’s no reason why we can’t see even more moments of opportunity to connect and build relationships with brands and audiences.

What moments have you found?

A version of this post was originally published in Marketing magazine.

About Martin Waxman


Martin Waxman conducts social media and online crisis training workshops, is a digital and communications strategist and speaks at events across North America. He's the co-founder of three PR agencies, president of a consultancy and has worked in the industry for 25 years. He writes a monthly column for Marketing Magazine, teaches digital strategy and is chair of PRSA Counselors Academy.

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