By Kelly Marcus
At last week’s Google I/O Conference, the company revealed its newest feature, “Now On Tap.” This unique offering allows users to instantaneously request information, set a reminder, and take almost any allowable action within their mobile phone. By holding and tapping the home button, the phone will scan the context of the screen and display a relevant Google Now card featuring apps and information. While this can make finding and sharing information easier for Android users, it has serious implications for how businesses need to interact on a digital and local level.
If a user is texting a friend about a certain restaurant, tapping and holding the Google Now button will bring up that business’ information as well as options to see its buttons for such directories as FourSquare, Yelp and OpenTable. This means that it is more imperative than ever for businesses to ensure their information is up to date and accurate within such local directories, as users now have unparalleled access to this information. Citation management will become an essential part of local mobile marketing as Google is relying more and more on third-party apps to get information. The introduction of deep linking in third-party apps in mobile search is a great example of Google tapping into this information. “Now on Tap” takes it one step further.
This update also means that local businesses will need to place an even stronger emphasis on having accurate information within their Google My Business profile. And if you don’t have a GMB profile yet, you might want to consider getting one of those ASAP. According to a comScore report in March 2015, Android users made up more than half (53.2%) of the smartphone market in January 2015. This represents an incredibly wide audience, and businesses will want to place their contact information directly in front of it. If a user is shown a Google Now card with your business information and your GMB profile is marking you as closed, you can kiss that business goodbye.
For businesses that have their own app, this can mean a huge increase in traffic to their app. Most users download apps for their favorite restaurants, hotels, etc., and proceed to forget about them and never open them again. Google Now On Tap allows users to consistently access their app when it is relevant to their conversation or searches and offers them a direct line to make a reservation or contact a business. Ensuring that your app is properly optimized, indexed and making use of deep links is the best way to get more app visibility from Google Now On Tap. All businesses should follow the proper guidelines to index their app and review their app content to ensure it is something users can access via Google Now on Tap.
The introduction of this technology not only amplifies the way local businesses can connect with users, but also is huge in terms of technology that is able to understand and respond to context and intent. Google Now On Tap aims to provide users with the information they need, when they need it.