As Coronavirus changes the way all of us are working, offers abound for free software and extended trials. SaaS companies, martech platforms and more are quickly switching their marketing objectives from sales to audience building with the aim of hooking you into their services for free, then upselling as markets stabilise.
To help you avoid magpie-syndrome, we’ve put together this list of the marketing tools from Google that will continue to be free long after we’re back in the office.
If you’re not using them already these are the tools we recommend you add to your stack immediately, and insight into specific ways we’re using them to support our clients through the current crisis.
Google Analytics tracks and reports on the sources, behaviour and conversion paths of your website traffic, so you can easily understand key pages, acquisition channels, performance across devices and more.
How are we using it at the moment?
Google Analytics should be a core insight tool for any organisation with a digital presence, and regularly reviewed to identify opportunities for performance improvement and optimisation.
Right now we’re paying extra attention to these key reports:
Landing Pages (Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages)
We’re using the landing pages report to identify where users start a session on our website, so we can ensure that our key messages reach them, and evaluate which pieces of content are gaining the most visibility.
Channels (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels)
The channels report gives a breakdown of the ways that users are reaching out site. By looking at trends over time and comparing data to the same period last year, we can monitor changes and take action accordingly.
Language (Audience > Geo > Language)
The languages report shows the system languages of users who are visiting our website. This is a good way of prioritising translations of key messages for an international audience.
Google Trends lets you research and compare the changes in search behaviour, pairing the data with seasonal triggers and geographical insights.
Using Google Trends during the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly useful for content managers, and search marketers that need to adapt their paid search and SEO activities. The pandemic is causing unprecedented behavioural change across the world, Google Trends gives you a window into how that manifests in different search behaviour.
How do we use it?
Our biddable team uses Google Trends data to help make decisions on paid search, display & paid social advertising campaigns.
We can see breakout terms that are rising quickly in popularity, and also review the wider context of these searches so that we can adapt our messaging to be sympathetic to searcher need.
Google Keyword Planner
While it may seem similar to Google Trends at face value, Keyword Planner functions very differently and is intended for different marketing activities.
The most notable difference between the two is how they report on search volume. Google Trends gives you the number of searches in a specified time period, whereas Keyword Planner will forecast estimated search volumes.
This allows you to decide which keywords to go after in your PPC campaign. Not only that, Keyword Planner helps uncover new keywords.
How do we use it?
We use Keyword Planner almost daily at Itineris due to the vast amount of Paid Search campaigns we set up, manage and optimise. It plays a crucial part in ensuring we are getting the best results from our client’s budget.
Now, we aren’t saying you should be using Keyword Planner to uncover keywords around COVID-19 – although you could if you wanted to! Instead, we suggest leveraging the historical metrics for keywords.
For example, you may want to check whether searches for your brand and/or product have changed YoY since the pandemic began. This could help re-align budgets and product priorities, but also give insight on how COVID-19 is affecting your business.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool offered by Google for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google. The business listing is a great way for you to connect with potential customers across Google Search and Maps.
How do we use it?
Google My Business is an important tool for all organisations in reaching their online customers, this is why we closely monitor the performance of GMB listings and optimise when we see opportunities.
With Covid-19 affecting many industries right now, we are currently focused on understanding to what extent this will also affect businesses’ digital presence through Google My Business, for example:
- Google has removed the ability for users to leave reviews on listings and has also disabled the review replies feature meaning businesses are currently unable to respond to existing reviews.
- This has created somewhat of a gap in business-customer relations, meaning it is crucial for businesses to find other social channels to reach their customers right now and continue that relationship.
- Google has removed the Questions & Answers
section from the listing meaning customers have less access to valuable
information they might need and are missing a place they could easily ask
- This further emphasises the need to be active on as many social channels as possible where customers could ask for assistance.
- Google has limited features like adding and
claiming listings as well as editing business information. This is because
currently priority for these features is being given to health-related
- We encourage organisations to actively manage their listings to make sure they are always up to date, however if some details on listings are currently incorrect it is best to group all changes together and make them in one sitting to facilitate Google in processing them as quickly and easily as possible.
Google Tag Manager is a free tool that allows you deploy and manage marketing tags (snippets of code or tracking pixels) on your website or mobile app without developers.
How do we use it?
Find out more about how we are currently using Google Tag Manager here.
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s visibility in Google Search.
You don’t have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google’s search results, but doing so will provide critical insights into how Google sees your site, and reveal the fastest ways of increasing your organic search traffic.
How do we use it?
Find out more about how we are currently utilising Google Search Console here.
Alongside these must-haves, Google offers a number of additional products designed to help digital marketers benchmark their performance, test their pages and more.
Discover them at https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/tools/digital-marketing-tools/.