Since 2011, the number of Google searches which use the “near me” feature have increased by about 34 times. Today, when we need to find some information about our local area, instead of waiting until we are in front of our computer, we are turning to our phones to find the information we want; right now. Matt Lawson, Google’s director of search ads marketing, says that we are now living in a world where we rely on a series of “micro moments” – we turn to our mobiles when we have a need for information. Annie Zipfel, REI’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, notes that store owners have profited from the increased mobile usage. Today, it is common for consumers to walk in to a store with their phone, and show a picture of the product they want. In fact, around 50 percent of consumers who use their phones to conduct a local search will visit a store in relation to that search on the same day, and 18 percent of local searches will lead to a purchase of a product. The figure is even more impressive for things like restaurants – almost half of people who search for restaurant information do so within an hour of the planned restaurant visit. Once at the restaurant, 40 percent of millennials will look up information (such as calorie counts) for the food that they are thinking of buying. Consumers have become accustomed to having instant access to information about products and services, whenever they want it. They rely on search to help them make informed decisions, and actively use their smartphones to learn, discover, find and buy. These “micro moments” are quick events, but they are events that brand owners can plan for – not just in terms of how they focus their SEO efforts, but also when it comes to paid search, and to an extent social media marketing too. The searches that happen on a Saturday night, for example, are likely to be rather different to those that happen on a Sunday morning. Google is making it easier for marketers to focus those “near me” experiences. Google’s local inventory ads are valuable for store owners who want to make sure that they can connect consumers with the products they want, at the time when they want them. As a brand owner, you cannot afford to ignore this rapidly growing market.