For the past few years, Google has urged businesses to respond to the rise of micro-moments, or instances when people use their mobile phones to find things to do and buy nearby. Google says the number of “near me” searches increased 34 times from 2011 to 2015 (when Google started discussing micro-moments). People who use their mobile devices to find things to do and buy nearby demonstrate strong purchase intent.
But ironically, it hasn’t always been easy to use Google on mobile devices to find events nearby. People looking for concerts, games, and other events are more likely to use Facebook or a ticket-selling site such as Ticketmaster. Google seeks to change that behavior by becoming the preferred tool to find events. On May 10, Google announced that it is updating its app to make it easier to find events nearby. Google has aggregated event data from event sites to present a clear view of nearby events for people doing queries for activities near them.
As Google Product Manager Nishant Ranka explained on Google’s Keyword blog, “[T]ype in a quick search like, ‘jazz concerts in Austin,’ or ‘art events this weekend’ on your phone. With a single tap, you’ll see at-a-glance details about various options, like the event title, date and time, and location. You can tap ‘more events’ to see additional options. Once you find one that’s up your alley, tap it to find more details or buy tickets directly from the website.”
The expanded functionality should certainly make it easier to find special events, but I suspect Google will pull from a wider range of sources than ticketing sites and dedicated event venues to return useful results. Someone looking for “music nearby” will likely turn up expensive or sold-out options for same-day events with especially popular musicians on Live Nation and Stub Hub.
If you operate a brick-and-mortar location that offers special events to attract customers, it behooves you to manage event-based attributes carefully by ensuring their accuracy and optimizing the information for search. Examples include:
- A restaurant that occasionally features music for special events such as Mother’s Day.
- A retailer that features in-store appearances, such as book stores that sponsor signings with famous authors or apparel stores that occasionally host appearances by fashion experts.
As I noted in a Search Engine Land column, Google increasingly returns search results by mining attributes. Attributes consist of descriptive content such as the services a business provides, payment methods accepted or the availability of free parking — details that may not apply to all businesses. Attributes are important because they can influence someone’s decision to visit you. A special event is an example.
I believe Google will mine more event-based attributes from locations that don’t always offer events. Doing so will give Google more sources to draw from and make its mobile app more useful for people looking for things to do nearby. To learn more about how to build your business with location marketing, contact us.