When we hear the word ‘Google’, all of us know what it is. The ‘G’ logo alone is very much recognisable to the public—the word has also been made known in the urban dictionary to be used as a verb slang. Google it up—it’s true.
Google is more than just a search engine.
Being one of the most successful companies in the world, Google’s marketing techniques are a big part of its success. Despite the attempts to ‘boycott’ or to “de-Google” the most commonly used services on the Internet that we’ve heard of, there’s no denying that Google hosts so many useful services that we can barely use our devices without them (yes, even iOS and MacOS users).
While this is generally fine, the question remains: how does Google use its market power to get users to pay for its subscription-based apps? We’re speaking of any subscription service from Google—Google One for cloud storage and extra Google Photos editing features, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music for ad-free and background plays (as well as offline plays), and also Google Play Pass where users are given access to hundreds of premium games and apps without ads or in-app purchases (somewhat similar to Apple Arcade).
Google uses a variety of marketing techniques to promote its services and get people to subscribe to them. Google is very well-known for collecting user’s data—that’s how it remains free for us to use, even if we opted out of the paid subscription services. But let’s see what brings the people to pay for the subscription services by Google.
Google’s products and services are highly in demand.
Google’s products and services, such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Docs, are used by billions of people around the world. This is because Google’s products and services are easy to use, reliable, and often free. This, in turn, slowly builds trust for every service provided by Google itself, including organisations.
Big organisations, like universities, need more than the free services and products offered. A few gigabytes of storage for Google Drive might not be sufficient enough, so they are going to need more. This is where it leads to them opting for the paid services (Google One), so they can have the benefits offered for the paid services—upgraded storage, for example.
Speaking of Google One, Plus, collaboration is made much easier with that particular service offered. Students in universities get their own Google accounts should their universities opt for it. They can use the account for hosting and joining meetings specifically under the same domain (so you won’t expect outsiders to join and bombard your classes). If they choose, universities can also provide Google accounts for all students and lecturers with upgraded storage, so that is a plus if you have a large number of photos and videos stored in your laptop specifically for assignments (we’ve been there).
Oh, and students get to enjoy discounts from other paid Google services as well if they use the accounts provided by the universities. So it’s a win-win for both the customers and Google.
Google has a strong brand reputation.
We all know that Google is a well-known and trusted brand and that people are more likely to subscribe to a service from a company that they know and trust. Say you have other businesses offering the exact same services at a much lower cost—chances are you are less likely to be a part of it. Dailymotion and Vimeo, for example, are two of the commonly heard video-sharing websites, with the former being a close competitor to YouTube. Even then, Dailymotion is nowhere close to being as popular as YouTube itself. Of course, one of the reasons is that people are generally afraid of change and prefer the need for control and predictability.
Building trust takes forever, but convincing others to not trust the other is more difficult. No matter how others are trying to reveal Google’s nature for their methods in luring in customers, Google always triumphs for being reliable and ‘trustworthy’.
Google uses a variety of marketing channels.
Google markets its services through a variety of channels, including search engine marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing. This allows Google to reach a large audience and promote its services to people who are most likely to be interested in them. This is also how Google got to where it is now—there is just a countless number of products and services that use Google services to market theirs.
One easy way of thinking about how big Google is when you’re in a foreign city and need to know the nearest coffee shop: Google Maps is just the right medium for you to look for any nearby coffee shops, together with their operating hours and reviews from other users. They need Google services to make sure their businesses are recognised. Often this is the reason why other competitors have a harder time marketing their services as well as Google, because trust and varying marketing channels both play very well in getting that recognition they need.
Google offers free trials and demos.
‘Free’ has always sounded good. Of course, there is nothing truly ‘free’ in this world, and Google services are no different. In exchange for the services it offers, user data is sold to and used by third-party businesses. Many have been aware, but very few are genuinely concerned because Google services are not easily replaceable. Again, other competitors have tried. To truly eliminate the privacy concerns by not selling user data in exchange for the services, they just cannot reach a large audience as easily.
Apart from the free services, Google offers free trials and demos of many of its paid services. This allows people to try out a service before they commit to subscribing to it. It’s good for one thing—it helps to avoid the risk of buyer’s remorse. It’s a feeling of guilt and regret after you have purchased something. Kind of like when you go YOLO that one day in a shopping mall and regret your poor financial management skills in the middle of the month.
So, with the availability of free trials and demos, they can see what it feels like to have them momentarily. A lot of services do this, because of the effectiveness in getting trust from potential customers. Plus, it saves the buyers from making irrational decisions, too.
Google makes it easy to subscribe and unsubscribe to its services.
Apart from free trials and demos, Google also makes it easy for people to subscribe to and unsubscribe from its services. This makes it more likely that people will try out a service and then decide to subscribe to it. Knowing that they can easily unsubscribe to a service they know they won’t use for long, this in turn would influence them to be more likely to try these services out in the first place.
Maybe a student would have financial struggles now and then, and have to cut losses to make do. If they are subscribed to YouTube Premium before, they can opt out temporarily to save that little bit of money for the time being and jump back in once they are more financially secure. No hidden charges, no penalty fee for opting out, nothing. If you need to opt out temporarily or permanently, feel free to do so. There’s no worry or fear of getting a hidden contract when you’re subscribed to its services (unlike some of the businesses out there
like Adobe *cough* *cough*).
Recently, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) has cut down on the expenses for Google Workspace services as well. It’s one of the ways they can adjust accordingly to their current expenses, and Google’s convenient subscription options allow this. I’m not fond of the reduced budget, of course, but I do applaud the organisation for making use of this to compensate for the exceeding number of student intakes.
Google’s marketing techniques are indeed effective, and they have helped the company to become one of the most successful companies in the world. Google’s products and services are highly in demand, and the company has a strong brand reputation. Google also uses a variety of marketing channels and offers free trials and demos of many of its services. This makes it easy for people to try out Google’s services and then decide to subscribe to them.