What are Micro Moments?

What are Micro Moments?

Just like any product or service, potential car buyers go through a variety of stages in their journey to the right decision.


While the process might feel like a single, fluid experience as someone learns about their buying options, it can actually be separated into different parts — or ‘Micro Moments’ — that each encompass the different types of information buyers need.

According to Google, “...consumers want what they want, when they want it…”. This is true for cars and consumer goods alike, but before buying anything, consumers want information. At its core, Micro Moments marketing breaks down the need for different areas of car-buying information in order to serve shoppers with the most relevant, informative content (in this case paid advertisements) based on their behavior.

What does this breakdown look like?

Google breaks the buyer’s journey into four, game-changing moments:

  • I-Want-to-Know Moments: 

Searching and exploring. Not necessarily in purchase mode.

  • I-Want-to-Go Moments:

Looking for a local business; considering buying a product at a nearby store.

  • I-Want-to-Do Moments:

Needs help completing a task or trying something new.

  • I-Want-to-Buy Moments:

Ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what to buy and how to buy it.

In all of these moments, consumers are drawn to brands that meet their needs. But even though their eventual goal is to purchase something that solves for their problem, their informational needs within the journey evolve.

This runs parallel to every company’s need to capture shoppers’ attention with relevant ads — hopefully early and often. With this basic model of the buyer’s journey, Google creates an intersection between ‘what’ information is valuable to a potential buyer and ‘when’ that information is most helpful.


The Car-Buyer’s Digital Journey

There’s huge potential when it comes to translating the Micro Moments marketing strategy into automotive. The progression of ‘moments’ is similar to Google’s, with a few auto-specific variations. It looks like this:


Note how the buyer’s journey is flipped in some places — the specifics of ‘where’ a potential buyer should go to look at a car is often at the end of their path.

Before they get to the point of selecting a dealer, they’ll likely do as much research as possible on everything from brand and lifestyle-fit to financing and incentive opportunities. As you likely know, this is a well-established trend for automotive in general. Consumers continue to arrive at the dealership more informed and empowered than ever, a retail transformation pattern that gets more common every year.


Marketing Opportunities for Car Dealers

Whether you’re deep in the weeds of marketing or just starting to dip your toe, you probably know that Search is the most effective paid media source when it comes to delivering dealership traffic. For dealers to maximize sales opportunities, competing for awareness in this digital marketplace is key.

The 5-step, auto-specific framework that Google developed helps to deliver OEMs and their dealer networks a paid search strategy that meets shoppers where they are in their journey.

At the OEM level, Google found that the Store Visit rate was incredibly high for moments within a shopper’s ‘Ready To Buy’ phase. Store Visits is Google's proprietary mechanism for connecting advertising impressions with visits to a company's physical location. This is still a relatively new capability that isn't yet heavily utilized in the automotive space — until now.

Dealership search data was even more telling — at the dealer level, the highest conversions rates occurred within a shopper’s ‘Ready To Buy’ Phase. According to FCA Program Case Study Data, 80% of search leads captured were within the Ready To Buy Moments. But many FCA dealers were consistently allocating large portions of their paid search budgets to ‘Awareness’ and ‘Consideration’ stage moments, hurting their ROI and missing huge opportunities to attract high-value buyers.

Starting the program at a mere 36% baseline of impression share for ‘Ready to Buy’ online behavior by car shoppers, FCA spotted enormous value in expanding their impressions in those critical ‘Ready to Buy’ moments and set their sights on 80% impression share across their dealer network.

Recognizing the importance of ‘when’ in the customer’s journey they’re most likely to convert into a lead allows OEM and dealership marketers alike to optimize spend when it comes to their paid search efforts.


Wizely’s Close Alignment With Micro Moments

Dealerships will start to see enormous upside from the use of Micro Moments in their understanding of online customer behavior. But Google’s framework doesn’t perfectly reflect the behaviors of car buyers online — because they’re long-term, expensive decisions, people interact with an auto option online differently than smaller consumer goods.

Generally speaking, when it comes to researching car options online pre-showroom visit, people are more critical of what kind of deal they’re getting and where they’re getting it.

A recent Wizely deep-divepartner study paints a clear picture of these buyer interest areas and why making smart paid search investments at the right ‘moment’ is so important, and shows the disconnect between current spend and optimized spend. The takeaways in the data show huge opportunity:

1. The "Where to Buy" moment has a notably lower zero-assist percentage than spend percentage, continuing to support the idea that spend in this area is a good investment.

2. The "Is it Right for Me?" moment has a notably higher zero-assist percentage. Since this micro-moment contains all of the "Year + Model", "New Model" and "Used Model" keywords, it's not surprising that the data is showing a lot of competition and diminishing returns on investment.

3. The remaining micro-moments show a relatively consistent relationship between overall spend and zero-assist spend, indicating that moving spend into these under-invested micro-moments is likely to produce positive results.


Why Ease of Use is Key

Rolling out an effective, well-crafted Micro Moments-based strategy can be the difference between thousands wasted and maximum ROI on your paid search budget.

But getting it right is next to impossible without deep knowledge of Google Analytics — even for dealership marketers eager to jump on these proven attribution improvement methods, the depth and complexity of translating incoming behavior data takes too much time and energy.

This is likely where well-meaning marketers end their journey with Micro Moments. Even with the attractive keyword ROI data it can provide, the time and effort that go into configuring and learning aren’t an option.

We think applying the right tools and playbooks to your paid search strategy should be possible — that’s why Wizely brings simple, immediate insights to dealership marketers with unmatched ease of use. For marketers looking to satisfy OEM requests around implementing Micro Moments, Dollars and $ense is the perfect tool to simplify the task. Without it, gaining a clear understanding of online behavior and its relationship to in-store revenue is an uphill battle.

Wizely + Micro Moments = Harmony

For dealerships looking to make these changes, that’s where Wizely’s Dollars and $ense solution comes in. This powerful tool connects marketing spend to revenue and profit by generating “simulated sales” based on consumer behavior. In other words, it watches what consumers are doing on your website and when someone behaves like a buyer, it generates a simulated sale.

This is a big part of what makes the connection between Wizely and Micro Moments marketing so strong. To put it simply, Google’s Micro Moments marketing strategy is focused on the beginning of the online shopper’s journey — what are people typing into the search engine? what does that tell us about what they need right now?

Wizely’s Dollars and $ense adds on to this by watching from the other end of the process — how are people behaving on your website and how can we learn what indicates they’ve moved to the next step in their decision-making?

These two approaches dovetail perfectly to provide dealerships with advanced visbility into customer behavior and intention, allowing you to optimize your strategy based on the distinction between online trends that result in revenue and online trends that don’t.

So, there’s a key alignment between Wizely and a successful Micro Moments strategy. At their core, each solves for the same challenge of optimizing paid search around data-informed buying habits online. Basically, Dollars and $ense is a packaged, easy-to-use tool that allows dealerships to implement this powerful strategy across the paid search landscape.


Want to roll out a Google-proven, data-informed Micro Moments marketing strategy at your dealership with a simple, easy to use tool? Wizely can help. Schedule a Demo to see it in action and starting boosting ROI right now.