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Google helps us all market our services. That statement can start a healthy debate amongst many in the media, but I think I'll stick with it.
Of course, Google has to market itself, too.
Even the biggest and most successful companies must market themselves in some channels. Apple, for example, may shun social media, but it's all over the television and out-of-home and has a distinctive presence on many high streets.
So, I thought I'd round up some examples of Google's marketing that have stuck in my mind and continue to leave me mindful of Google's all-conquering innovation.
Hope you enjoy!
1. Google Analytics email marketing
I’ve talked about my love of Google Analytics’ emails before.
Here’s the last one I received, there’s a screenshot below, too.
First of all, the subject line is great because it hints at how practically useful and specific the information is within. The fact that the subject line starts with a base verb form means the customer is immediately aware that reading the content of the email will enable them to do something better.
Understand Your Products and Site Categories Better with Content Grouping in Google Analytics
The email format sticks with leading base verb forms – wrangle, gain, learn, measure. It’s copywriting 101, but it works.
News and tips are also handily separated in the mail and users can sign in to analytics from within the email, too.
(Click to enlarge)
..and 2. Google Plus email marketing
Google uses email with a variety of products.
Here’s a great example I’ve previously picked out from Google Plus.
The creative is brilliant – ‘here’s how you look today’ and a generic grey head, then the entreaty to ‘add a photo’.
3, 4, 5 and 6. Google does old school, too
As Louis Gudema has previously pointed out on the Econsultancy blog, Google does out-of-home advertising very well.
Google isn’t afraid to take over train stations (Boston’s South Station).
Google also does some clever ads that play on their products’ functionalities in-situ.
Here’s an ad for contextual search, within sight of the target (the London Eye).
Here’s a London Underground advert for voice search, redefining both its own service and paying homage to the location of the ad, once again.
And here’s a last example of a Google Places ad from further back. Again the ad plays on place, being situated near the restaurant in question.
The size of the ad is compelling. This playing with scale is very effective and part of a human tradition that goes back through Borges to Swift to Stonehenge.
Check out Google’s various product YouTube accounts and you’ll see there are hundreds of videos. Some of them run on TV, too, from hardware like Chromebook and Chromecast, to search to browser and on and on.
Here are some of my favourites.
This is from December 2013 and already has 30m views on YouTube. Google has been doing its zeitgeist round-up of the year for a while and has been running TV ads for the last few years, too.
These videos very obviously link Google search to everything that happens, ever. It’s a bold form of advertising and one which only a product as fundamental to the way we live as Google could get away with.
Chrome has nearly 300 videos on YouTube. Again, many have run on television.
This one featuring Family Guy’s Stewie has had 25m views on YouTube.
The other Chrome ads in this series ran in Autumn/Fall last year. Here’s one of the best.
As with a lot of Google’s online video, they can afford to run it on TV if needed. And there are lots of ads that you wouldn’t necessarily think are right for TV, perhaps because they advertise a niche product. However, Google still runs a lot of these ads because they are so well produced they constitute great branding.
Here’s an example.
9. The Google Science Fair.
10. The Google Chrome Speed Tests
This video has a similarly innovative feel, which is something Google often aims for. The idea is to associate its products with scientific enquiry, a tradition of experiment and thought, and generally having that ‘mad scientist, prepared to fail’ persona.
There’s a nice tagline, too - ‘The internet. Chrome fast’.
This video has 9m views on YouTube and is the kind of thing Google works so well with agencies and collaborators on.
Not a campaign as such but let’s take a look anyway.
The screenshot below is from a Google search. As it’s Google’s own service, you’d expect it to be spot on and it is.
But as good as the Gmail meta-description is, the Yahoo, Hotmail and Outlook metadata isn’t quite good enough. As usual, Google does things a little bit better.
Here’s a search for ‘email’.
I’ve highlighted clunky bits of meta-description below, but they include:
- Yahoo’s meta-description is too impersonal. ‘Official site for the service’ – duh!? ‘Interface for international users’ – is this really something that needs pointing out, and what does it mean?
- Hotmail includes ‘What’s this?’ and ‘email@example.com’. These shouldn’t be in the meta-description.
- Outlook has a typo – ‘Outlook is free modern email service..’
Gmail trumps them all with:
The ease and simplicity of Gmail, available across all your devices. Gmail's inbox helps you stay organized by sorting your mail by type. Plus, you can video chat ...
And for good measure, below is the SERPs for ‘free email’.
Hushmail isn’t bad. Nor is mail.com. But I’d argue the Gmail meta-description is the best for this term.
Lots of free storage. With 15GB of free storage across Gmail, Google Drive and Google+ Photos, you won't need to delete emails to save space. More about ...
(Click to enlarge)
12. Branding through new projects - Google Glass, asteroid mining, green technology
Google has a history of experimenting and then having a big headstart on rivals when developing a product. In fact, the company is more like an inventor in that regard. Google Maps is a great example. It just started doing it, early. Lots scoffed who now use the tool on a weekly basis. That must feel good.
Anyway, the point is that a lot of these projects go on to be streams of revenue (some don’t) but whilst they’re in development they receive tons of publicity. See this blog for Google Glass.
This publicity helps to focus the public on the idea that Google is a different beast to Yahoo and Bing. Which it is, of course.