Skepticism for Google Micro-Moment Marketing Push

October 13, 2017

An article at Street Fight, “The Fallacy of Google’s ‘Micro-Moment’ Positioning,” calls out Google’s “micro-moments” for the gimmick that it is. Here’s the company’s definition of the term they just made up: “an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need—to know, go, do, or buy.” In other words, any time a potential customer has a need and picks up their smartphone looking for a solution. For Street Fight’s David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal, this emphasis seems like a distraction from the failure of Google’s analytics to provide a well-rounded view of the online consumer. In fact, such oversimplification could hurt businesses that buy into the hype. In their dialogue format, they write:

David:[The term “micro-moments”] reduces all consumer buying decisions to thoughtless reflexes, which is just not reality, and drives all creative to a conversion-focused experience, which is only appropriate for specific kinds of keywords or mobile scenarios.  It’s totally IN-appropriate for display or top-of-funnel advertising. I also think it’s intended to create a bizarre sense of panic among marketers — “OMG, we have to be present at every possible instant someone might be looking at their phone!” — which doesn’t help them think strategically or make the best use of their marketing or ad spend.

Mike: I agree. If you don’t have a sound, broad strategy no micro management of micro moments will help. To some extent I wonder if Google’s use of the term reflects the limits of their analytics to yet be able to provide a more complete picture to the business?

David: Sure, Google is at least as well-positioned as Amazon or Facebook to provide closed-loop tracking of purchase behavior. But I think it reflects a longstanding cultural worldview within the company that reduces human behavior to an algorithm. “Get Notification. Buy Thing.” or “See Ad. Buy Thing.”  That may work for the “head” of transactional behavior but the long tail is far messier and harder to predict. Much as Larry Page would like us to be, humans are never going to be robots.

Companies that recognize the difference between consumers and robots have a clear edge in this area, no matter how Google tries to frame the issue. The authors compare Google’s blind spot to Amazon’s ease-of-use emphasis, noting the latter seems to better understand where customers are coming from. They also ponder the recent alliance between Google and Walmart to provide “voice-activated shopping” with a bit of skepticism. See the article for more of their reasoning.

Cynthia Murrell, October 13, 2017

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