Measuring Micro-Moments With Google Analytics

Measuring Micro-Moments With Google Analytics

A Google Analytics Guide To Discovering Micro-Moment Opportunities

Micro-moments are opportunities to make a connection at the very instant a consumer has a need. These are the many moments throughout each day that people turn to their smartphones to get help.

Micro-moments are centered around mobile usage. We turn to our phones over a hundred times per day1, often to fulfill a passing need, relevant only to that instant. Need a special potato salad recipe for tonight’s pot luck? Changing a flat tire? Are there any nearby theatre’s showing Shakespeare? Where is the closest pizzeria that takes reservations? These are all micro-moments in which we seek an answer on our phones. These are the moments in which consumers don’t mind businesses influencing them, as long as value is provided.

Note: Google considers micro-moments to be exclusively within the realm of mobile interactions. I think that measuring and analyzing micro-moments is worthwhile across all devices.

Turning Micro-Moments Into Opportunities

Customers award their fleeting loyalty to the businesses that provide value that meets their needs right now. In order to win their business, you need to meet them at the intersection of intent and immediacy.

When you know what motivates your website’s visitors, you’ll understand their intent. When you can answer why this person is on your website, right now, you’ll have immediacy covered. Every interaction with these visitors is an opportunity to provide value immediately that meets their intent. That is how you transform a visitor into a customer.

To find these opportunities, Google recommends mapping out your micro-moments. For each moment, critically assess whether you’re meeting that customer’s intent.

You might think you know why customers are visiting your website and what their intent is, but are you certain? We humans often make incorrect assumptions so, why risk being wrong? Let’s use data to uncover micro-moments. We’ll use this same data later to measure whether we’re meeting customer needs.

The Four Types Of Micro-Moments

First, let’s lay out the four types of micro-moments.

  1. I-want-to-know
  2. I-want-to-go
  3. I-want-to-do
  4. I-want-to-buy

Each micro-moment has its own characteristics and requires unique ideas to meet customer intent in the appropriate way. We’ll look at the micro-moments one by one and discuss what each entails, how to act to best match intent and where to find the information you need to measure your results.

I-Want-To-Know Micro-Moments

The I-want-to-know moment sets you up as an expert. Whether it’s a comparison of flat-screen TV’s or which plants are safe for cats, this is an opportunity to build relationships with people by providing helpful information as they’re looking for it.

So, what do people do when they have an I-want-to-know moment? Well, 81% of people turn to search2. Both retailer and non-retailer sites play a role in providing advice to these searchers.

Google Analytics can tell you how much of your traffic had that I-want-to-know micro-moment. You can also extrapolate what they’re looking for too. This information is useful in making sure that you can then meet their intent.

The first place one might start is the Search queries menu in Google Analytics or to go to Search Console directly. This area shows what Organic search visitors were searching for when they found your website. While there is some useful information here, the problem lies with the missing data – particularly (not set). Despite this confusing gap in your queries, you can still get examples of what people googled for.

To find this info in Google Analytics, click on Acquisition > Search Console > Queries. Next, set the number of rows to 100 or more. The lower down you explore, the more specific the queries become. As you look for those I-want-to-know moments, you’ll notice patterns in the queries that imply the topics that people are interested in. Take a look at this tour operator’s website:

Micro-Moments In Google Analytics Search Queries

These searchers are exploring the idea of travel to Africa. They’re looking for information above all else; these are quintessential I-want-to-know moments.

Looking at keywords in Google Analytics can provide similar insights, however, due to the dreaded (not provided), the usefulness here is minimized. Keywords represent the idea or overall topic while queries are what people actually type in to the search engine. That’s why I find queries to be more useful at this stage.

Referral traffic sources can also provide insights into intent.

For uncovering intent in referral traffic data, I use Teacup Analytics’ Who Are My Top Referrers report for quick exploration. The Teacup Analytics report provides more information without needing to drill down through multiple pages and fiddle with secondary dimensions. Particularly, this report allows you to see the full referral links alongside the source. These actual URL’s themselves are often enlightening regarding intent.

With referral traffic, you’re looking to get a feel for your value to others in the moments that they’re looking to learn. For example, I once wrote a post for the GoDaddy Garage titled The 5 Google Analytics reports your clients want . I’ve written a number of other posts for the GoDaddy blog and by comparing which articles consistently send me traffic, and the quality of that traffic, I can assume that my visitors want to know more about which Google Analytics reports are best for clients of web designers rather than other topics.

Micro-Moments In Teacup Analytics Referrals Report

I don’t know for certain that visitors experienced I-want-to-know micro-moments that began with them finding the GoDaddy site and then onwards to me. Rather, I’m looking to Google Analytics here to simply provide inspiration through implication.

Actions To Take To Meet I-Want-To-Know Micro-Moments Head On!

69% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from a company who helps them find answers easily.

Now that I have an idea of what my I-want-to-know moments are, I want to meet those moments by providing relevant information as quickly as possible.

Write down the I-want-to-know moments that your visitors are experiencing. Then, review your website, especially your mobile experience, to make sure your visitors won’t have to work hard to learn from you. The priority should be delivering valuable content, quickly and efficiently, for those looking to learn. Don’t hide information behind complex navigation, squeeze pages and pre-requisites. I-want-to-learn micro-moments are about informing rather than selling.

Be sensitive to mobile visitors by making sure your content is readable on phones. If you have pop ups, or collect email addresses, make sure they’re unobtrusive or at least easy to close! Any obstacles to accessing informative content ruins the micro-moment and you’ll drive those potential customers into someone else’s arms.

You can nurture an ongoing relationship by offering further information in exchange for an email address. This is especially effective for those looking to learn in the context of big purchases. Whitepapers, email drip-campaigns and even phone consultations are all excellent vehicles to deliver even more value to the I-want-to-know micro-moment!

Measure I-Want-To-Know Effectiveness With Google Analytics

The metrics that best measure I-want-to-know micro-moments are bounce rate and exit rate. Conversions matter, provided your goals are attuned to the I-want-to-know visitor’s likely actions, i.e. people looking for informational articles. If your goal is a purchase, then it will be a lousy indicator that you’re meeting the visitor intent for this specific micro-moment. A more contextual goal might be email newsletter sign ups.

To measure I-want-to-know effectiveness, I list out the pages on my website that I think fit the customer intent to learn. So these would be pages that are informational posts rather than product pages. For example, the tour operator site above would look at pages that talk about extreme activities in Zaire, rare animals in Botswana’s national parks, top ten clubs in Cape Town or comparisons between Zimbabwean eco-lodges to 5 star hotels Harare.

I then look at Teacup’s What Are My Top Landing Pages report. This report “grades” each landing page by channel. The grade is calculated by analyzing engagement metrics like bounce rate, conversion rate, site depth and time on site by default. I can customize this to include only the specific goals and metrics I want. When I look at Organic search for the content I consider to serve I-want-to-know moments, the grade instantly tells me if I’m meeting the customer intent. I want grades of B (average engagement) and up.

Finding Micro-Moments In Landing Page Reports

The same thing goes for the referral traffic report. I can look at the Teacup’s grade to provide context regarding whether I’m meeting customer intent or falling short.

In each report, remember to glance at the “device type” row to be sure the grade for mobile performance is alright. If the desktop grade is higher than mobile and tablet, then it could indicate a  need to improve the mobile experience for visitors looking to learn.

I also like to consider the exit rate’s implications, which I can find either directly in Google Analytics. I often use Teacup’s Most Viewed Content report so I can keep the exit rate in mind alongside bounce, conversions and other metrics. Pages with high exit rates can indicate the customer’s concerns were solved and in websites that provide “help documentation,” it connotes that the intent was met.

I-Want-To-Go Micro-Moments

In I-want-to-go moments, people are seeking out a store nearby or details about a retail location. The types of questions people ask in these moments are:

  • What time does my local children’s clothing store open?
  • Where can I buy a Gibson Les Paul guitar in Charlotte, NC?
  • How do I get to there, from here?

This is the brick and mortar’s micro-moment. If your business is has a storefront in the real world, then I-want-to-go moments matter to you.

The first step in this micro-moment is to gauge where your current website traffic is actually physically coming from. I’ve created a Google Analytics Local SEO Report that shows you which metro areas your website traffic is coming from. If your business is a art gallery in Boston, Massachusetts then you’re going to want to see a vast majority of your traffic coming from the Boston metro area.

Google Analytics Local SEO Report

This report can drill down to the city level but I prefer starting at the metro area because it smooths out inaccuracies in IP locations. Also, I did not segment this report to mobile traffic only. I think the bigger picture matters but it’s also quite reasonable to segment this report by mobile only since 79% of people use their phones in the I-want-to-go moment.

Drill down past the city level to see which landing pages your local web traffic arrives at. This step offers clues to what potential customers are searching for.

Similar to I-want-to-know micro-moments, organic search plays a significant role in matching customer intent, as do referrals. This is also a great opportunity to run some highly targeted local Adwords campaigns.

Referring websites can provide great insights into I-want-to-go intent. Websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor are often used when customers are trying to figure out where to go right now. If you’re seeing traffic coming over to your website from these sites, you need to be sure you’re anticipating customer needs like directions, menu, specials and, of course phone number.

If local press sites are referring your website, read those articles that link to your business to learn about your visitor expectations. I’ve searched for “best pizza in…” in every city I’ve ever traveled to. If your business is known for your pizza and there’s an article including you in the top pizza joints, then you know that accolade should be up front and center on your site along with reservation bookings, phone number, directions and anything else that might get me from the hotel to table.

A Welcome Mat For I-Want-To-Go Micro-Moments

Even if most of your traffic is indeed local, you can improve and expand the way you match I-want-to-go micro-moments.

Start with making sure Google has your business details. Registering your business with Google My Business is absolutely vital. This gives Google information about your retail locations and online presence. This helps you client stand out in searches, especially in mobile, I-want-to-go searches.

Measuring Micro-moments with Google Analytics

A good trick that many of your local competitors will miss is adding Schema to your site. Including Schema’s LocalBusiness vocabularies on your website helps search engines understand your local business’ website. Anything that helps Google understand your site, helps you appear higher in the search results and win the I-want-to-go micro-moment.

I strongly recommend registering your site with as many directories as you can find. It may be a big task but there are tools that handle this for you. I recommend Locu. Locu and their competitors handle all the local listings a business needs to be on. This dramatically boosts local SEO for your retail location and makes it easy to keep everything up to date.

As we’ve already discussed in this article, by making sure that your website is mobile-friendly is an absolute must. I want-to-go moments also need clarity in navigation and optimized site speed. Most visitors will land on your homepage. If they can’t find your menu, phone number or directions then you could be losing out. If your phone number is clickable, that’s a big win for mobile customer experience.

In towns that have a lot of foreign tourism, many stores include versions of their site in the more common traveller languages. In Hawaii, many sites have Japanese pages that provide vital information like directions and menus. This is a beautiful example of serving the I-want-to-go micro-moment.

Depending on your business, you can make the “go” micro-moments even more attractive by offering a special “today only” deal or “book now” option. This idea opens up fantastic Adwords opportunities. Advertising strictly focused on mobile and local metro areas allows you to run highly targeted, cheap and profitable ad campaigns. If you focus on I-want-to-go keywords and offer time sensitive incentives, you can get in front of these searchers and really roll out that welcome mat. By adding extensions to your ads, you’ll learn a lot about intent in this micro-moment by seeing what people click on.

Measuring I-Want-To-Go Moments

Because I-want-to-go micro-moments are deeply entwined with mobile traffic, I like measuring it with the Teacup Analytics report called Are Mobile Searchers Finding Me On Google And Other Search Engines?. This report shows your mobile search traffic alongside which pages they’re landing on.

The report also includes the keywords searched, whether they’re new visitors and even if these visitors actually engaged with your site. All good indicators that you’re meeting customer intent.

Teacup Analytics Mobile Search Report

If these mobile searchers are not engaging with your site (i.e. any grade below a B), explore deeper. Optimization often lies in clearer navigation to the key elements like contact pages, links to directions and even a mobile-first redesign, if warranted. Of course, you should also check the Local SEO report in Google Analytics to be sure that you’re reaching the right people to begin with.

Are there certain pages that serve those I-want-to-go micro-moments? Keep a close eye on goal conversions like booking now, reserving an item to pick up in store and table reservations. Help searchers take action and then track it as Google Analytics goals. You’ll be able to measure your micro-moment success. By setting up goals, you’ll be able to track your performance both in the quality grade or in Google Analytics directly.

If you advertise on local I-want-to-go keywords, measure the effectiveness closely, either in your Adwords account or with Teacup’s How Are My Adwords Campaigns Performing report. Clicks on your ads are great but being able to measure the clicks that become customers is even better. Like I suggest above, include an action that a customer can take with a specific incentive like “10% off a purchase today only” and then by providing a coupon on the ad landing page, you can directly measure the return on investment your ads have, even offline. Compare the number of people who use the coupon in-store to clicks and you’ll get your conversion rate and be able to calculate the returns on your ad campaigns.

I-Want-To-Do Micro-Moments

Nearly one third of millennials have purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video3. And, in fact, this moment is a particularly millennial targeted moment – most millennials believe that they can learn to do anything online. There is a lot of benefit to reaching people at the I-want-to-do micro-moment, but how is this actually different to the I-want-to-learn one?

When I turn to Google to learn how to tie a bow-tie, boil the perfect egg or properly julienne carrots, those are I-want-to-do micro-moments. These moments range from practical tasks (“how to change a tire”) to creative ones (“how to paint with acrylic”) to cuisine (“how to make kimchi”). I-want-to-learn moments, on the other hand, are more about exploring and comparing. The key types of I-want-to-do micro-moments are in Beauty, like hair and makeup tips, Cooking and Home Improvement.

I feel this micro-moment is an easier one to explore in Google Analytics because the type of content on your website that matches I-want-to-do micro-moments is, by nature highly specific. A page on your site either has an instructional video, or it does not.

The type of content that meets consumer intent at this moment must be direct, clear and actually tell the visitor how to accomplish their task in simple steps. Youtube videos, recipes, and step by step instructions meet the need. Essays, like this article, do not.

If you offer how-to videos, Youtube analytics are a great indicator that you’re meeting intent. If embedding these videos on your website you’ll want to focus more on those specific pages’ traffic sources and engagement metrics and judge whether they’re attracting the right visitors to your site and understand if it’s working.

In Google Analytics, the Content Drilldown report is fantastic, provided you’ve organized your site by different folders, for example… This report then shows you the engagement stats related to each topic. Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics superhero has a custom report similar to the Content Drilldown that he recommends. You’re looking to see which how-to topics are getting traffic, engagement and even conversions.

To find the Content Drilldown report in Google Analytics, click on Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown.

Google Analytics Content Drilldown

You can keep an eye on your pages individually, too. I like the Teacup Analytics report called What Is My Most Viewed Content because it includes relevant data side by side. Here I see traffic sources by channel for each page, as well as instant segmentation by device type so I can track mobile traffic as well.

Most Viewed Content

There are reports that segment further like Are Mobile Searchers Finding Me On Google And Other Search Engines that might be of interest.

If you have video, don’t forget to look at YouTube’s analytics. You’ll find a wealth of information in the Creator Studio under Analytics but my favorite is drilling down on Traffic sources. Drilling down on Analytics > Traffic sources > YouTube Search is extremely informative in understanding what people are searching for in this I-want-to-do micro-moment.

Youtube Analytics

Helping Out And Selling In I-Want-To-Do Micro-Moments

More than just telling people how to do something in their micro-moment time of need, your website can be the helping hand.

Tasks need tools. Chances are, you’re a tool seller, in a manner of speaking. If your website sells bowties, then by teaching a new generation how to look dapper in this most charming of accessories, then you’ll be poised to sell them a range of ties to match suits. Sell makeup? Tutorials on getting smokey eyes encourages sales of eye shadow and much more. Have a tutorial on boiling an egg? Egg boilers need egg-slicers and other kitchen gadgets!

Even a simple task like how to use a toilet plunger correctly is an opportunity to offer ongoing, preventative solutions. The point is, even though you’re helping a customer complete the task right now, you’re also crafting amazing connections. You can help that customer improve their lives with new value and new products.

For longer term projects, like DIY home improvement, there’s the rapport that you build with the customer leading to long term relationships.

The moment that you’ve helped a customer complete a task, they’re open to learning more about upgrading their tools for next time and in many cases, they’re ready to buy. Talk about the best tools to accomplish the tasks and where to buy them. At the very least, gain subscribers to your YouTube Channel and email lists and build your marketing base. Have an explicit call to action on every page that maps to the I-want-to-do micro-moment.

Measuring I-Want-To-Do Micro-Moments

Measuring I-want-to-do micro-moments can be done a variety of ways. The primary data are the basic engagement metrics, not much different to what we discussed in the I-want-to-learn scenarios. We’re focusing on metrics that imply engagement. You can analyze your content by Teacup’s landing page report or the Most Viewed Content report.

If your content is intended to help drive sales, conversion rates are the main key performance indicator. Segment your traffic sources by device and channel and then let conversions provide the context and tell you which traffic is getting enough value from your content that they then purchase or subscribe.

YouTube’s analytics can help you learn if people are paying attention. In the Creator Studio click on Analytics > Audience retention. Here you’ll see your average view duration overall and for each video.

Youtube Analytics Average View Duration

Average view duration indicates how sticky your video is. This also lets you know how quickly you need to get to the point in your videos. You might be wasting too much time on introductions and fluff which is driving people away to other videos that get to the point. If people are jumping ship before you get to the crux of your video, then you know you’re losing people before they get any value.

An interesting way to gauge your impact is to add a simple survey to the page, asking visitors if they found this article helpful. If a majority of people find your tips useful, then you know there is value in your content! The stark choice between just yes and no keeps the feedback brutally clear. The less gray area, the better!

I-Want-To-Buy Micro-Moments

This micro-moment isn’t quite what you think. No, this isn’t a moment that a visitor is ready to purchase something on your ecommerce site. This is not about getting customers to your checkout cart.

The I-want-to-buy micro-moment is about affirmation a purchase decision. I’ll give you an example from a recent experience.

I’m an avid surfer and live near a beach that offers mushy, small waves that don’t have much oomph behind them. I need a surfboard that makes catching small waves easy. I walked into the local surf shop that stocked Sunova surfboards. While I had an idea about what shape would best suit the local break, I wasn’t entirely sure which board was right.

I pulled out my phone and went to the Sunova website where luckily they were perfectly in tune with the I-want-to-buy moment and mobile friendly:

I-Want-To-Buy Micro-Moment Example

I chose the Boss because the moves suit my style of surfing better, catching small waves is easy and it’s suitable for the slightly larger winter waves too.

This is what we mean by being there in I-want-to-buy micro-moments. Without this information, indecision would likely have overruled my desire to buy a new board and I’d have left. Sunova was there to meet my intent beautifully.

In stores, 82% of smartphone users turn to their devices to help them make a product decision4.

I-want-to-buy micro-moments are about providing support for the decision to purchase. Whether the customer is shopping online or in a retail store, when they turn to their phone’s for additional information about their purchase, that’s the moment you need to provide the relevant information.

Finding the information about I-want-to-buy micro-moments in Google Analytics is trickier than uncovering data about other micro-moments. Measurement requires understand the holistic relationship between product content, site design and customer reviews. I recommend mapping out every page of content that includes:

  • Product descriptions
  • Product specifications
  • Supporting information like industry trends
  • Product reviews both text and video

Multi-channel attribution becomes the best method for gauging your content’s effectiveness but that is still missing the role that 3rd party reviews can play. Similarly, setting up custom event tracking helps with tracking on page actions but you risk missing the forest for the trees. Connecting in-store sales to website sessions is a big challenge too (is it even possible?).

Step outside of the web analytics box and turn to your customers. Ask them, in person, what helped drive their purchase decisions.

Meeting The Needs Of I-Want-To-Buy Micro-Moments

When a customer is experiencing an I-want-to-buy moment, it behooves you to be there with the relevant information. What are the questions they’d ask if you were standing next to them? Why is this product more expensive than that one, is it better quality? Why is this product cheaper, is it just as good as the more expensive competitors? Crafting content to answer these questions and providing access to answers will smooth the purchase process.

A key element in meeting customer intent in this micro-moment is customer reviews. Reviews both positive and negative can affirm and justify the purchase. When a customer wants to buy, simply knowing that others have purchased the product and that it works is often enough.

Make it easy to take the plunge and make that purchase. Whether it’s in store, online, on the phone, the pathway from unsure, to informed, to confident, to the purchase should be smooth. Wherever the I-want-to-buy micro-moment occurs, you should be there. This means display advertising, remarketing, showing nearby retail locations and inventory, online checkout and phone support.

Whatever fits your business model and product range, if there’s a touchpoint, there should be an opportunity to move from the I-want-to-buy micro-moment to the purchase itself.

Measuring I-Want-To-Buy Micro-Moments

As mentioned above, there is no one place you can turn to find your performance data for the I-want-to-buy micro-moment. Rather, you’d need to measure every customer interaction individually and then step back to find where optimization is needed.

Surveys, online and in-store, can be the closest thing to a single measurement technique. By asking what customers looked at before their purchase, what they felt was missing, what sealed the deal etc., you’ll learn where to invest more time and effort.

The bottom-line metric, when it comes to I-want-to-buy moments is, simply, sales. But if you want to optimize for sales then you need to go granular. Good luck!

Being There When It Counts

When it comes to all micro-moments, being there at the moment is critical to improving the experience for your customers. If you aren’t able to provide the relevant information in the moment, your customers are likely to move on quickly. Brand loyalty counts for very little.

90% of smartphone users are not certain of the brand they want to buy from when they begin looking for information online5. Being one of the potential brands means removing possible friction.

The absolutely worst friction is a slow loading site. Use Google’s PageSpeed Tools to see how much improvement is needed and what to do about it.

Ask yourself what action a site visitor should take to get the most value out of this micro-moment. Is it a purchase? A store locator? By anticipating the visitor needs and making it up-front and clear, you’ll remove a ton of friction.

Removing steps from the visitor experience also helps endear you to visitors in the micro-moment. Try shorter forms with auto-fill, click-to-call buttons, geo-location and, my fave, death to pop-ups!

Micro-moments are awesome, pop-ups are not.


  1. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, 2013 Internet Trends Report.
  2. Google/Purchased Digital Diary “How Consumers Solve Their Needs In The Moment”
  3. Google Consumer Survey, April 2015.
  4. Google/Ipsos, “Consumers in the Micro-Moment” study, March 2015
  5. Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Wave 3, Google/Ipsos, U.S., August 2015

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