There are literally thousands of paid and free marketing tools available these days. According to Scott Brinker, 8,000 to be exact.
Even if you had unlimited time to explore each one, not all of them are tools you need to use or even know about. Very few meet that criteria.
But there are a few tools that are absolutely essential for growth marketers to at least be aware of. And a handful of these free marketing tools are made by Google. Yes, the same Google that helps you find whatever you’re looking for in an instant.
Google is much more than a search engine; they are a marketing juggernaut. In 2019, advertising accounted for the majority of Google’s total revenue. We’re talking over $160 billion. So yeah, they know a thing or two about marketing.
What are the tools?
So glad you asked! They are:
Maybe you’ve heard of some (or all) of these free Google marketing tools, and maybe you’re already using them. But if not, it’s time to check them out.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what each tool does and why marketers need to give them a try:
Let’s face it, Google won the analytics game years ago. While there are other “enterprise” analytics tools out there like Adobe Analytics, Google is the de facto leader in this space.
As an interesting aside, did you know that Google didn’t technically create Google Analytics from scratch? No, the actually acquired a product called Urchin in April 2005, forming Google Analytics shortly thereafter in November 2005.
If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, here’s a short description in a nutshell:
Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand.
The two things that I like most about Google Analytics are that its free, and it’s so widely used, that there’s pretty much an answer for any issue or use case you might encounter.
So the bottom line is, if you want to get insights into your website visitors, there’s pretty much no justifiable reason to use anything else. Install Google Analytics and make sure you’re tracking what matters!
Google Tag Manager
It works hand-in-hand with Google Analytics.
Here are some typical use cases for deploying Google Tag Manager:
- Use it to install your Facebook Pixel
- Use it to set up and trigger events in Google Analytics
- Use it to install popular third-party scripts things like live chat widgets or popups
- Use it to keep track of who is adding what scripts to your site
Those are just a few examples. Google Tag Manager is much more powerful than this and when you really dig into some of the features such as the mystical “data layer,” the possibilities are endless.
And just like Google Analytics, there is a robust support community around this very popular tag management system, so whatever questions you might have can get answered by experts such as Chris Mercer or Simo Ahava.
Oh, and of course, it’s free too.
Google Search Console
For the next one, let’s start with a definition direct from the source:
Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site’s Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results
Back in the day (prior to May 2015), Google Search Console was known as Google Webmaster Tools. Yeah… I like the new name better too.
But its mission has always remained the same; to empower webmasters to control how their site is seen and displayed by Google in organic search results.
If your job has anything at all to do with search engine optimization (SEO), then you absolutely positively must be using this free tool to optimize your site and potentially improve your search engine rankings.
Here are just a few of the cool things Google Search Console can help you do, again taken directly from the source:
- Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site.
- Fix indexing problems and request re-indexing of new or updated content.
- View Google Search traffic data for your site: how often your site appears in Google Search, which search queries show your site, how often searchers click through for those queries, and more.
- Receive alerts when Google encounters indexing, spam, or other issues on your site.
- Show you which sites link to your website.
- Troubleshoot issues for AMP, mobile usability, and other search features.
And just like the others, it’s free and easy to set up.
In fact, if you’re launching a new project, I recommend you set up Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Search Console all at the same time and tie them all together. You’ll thank me later.
We’ve made it to the fourth and final marketing tool from Google on the list, Google Optimize. This also happens to be the newest of the bunch.
Here’s how they pitch this product, which launched in 2015, as a replacement for Google Analytics Content Experiments:
Engage your website visitors like never before. Create personalized experiences and run website tests — for free.
Probably the most popular feature from Google Optimize is their A/B testing capabilities. If you’ve studied conversion optimization best practices, you know just how important it is to always be testing new landing pages in order to continually improve your results.
Before Google Optimize, this wasn’t so easy. You had to either use Google Analytics Content Experiments which was clunky, or find a paid solution such as VWO or Optimizely. And whew, some of those can be expensive. Like I-could-have-bought-a-new-car expensive.
So, along comes Google Optimize, to do to the website testing and personalization world what it already did to the website analytics world. They offer a free product that is lightyears ahead of most paid solutions, while making money on the data and also on a super-premium version (called Optimize 360) which is positioned for enterprise clients.
Intrigued to give Google Optimize a try? Well if so, here are a few things you can do with it:
- Run an A/B or A/B/n test
- Run a multivariate test
- Deliver personalized experiences to your website visitors
- Edit a page for a test with their built-in visual editor
- Report on the results of your experiments
- Integrate your data with Google Analytics, Google Ads, and more
While Google Optimize is still relatively new compared to similar tools in this space, they’re on a very familiar trajectory to Google Analytics. This means that they will likely one day become the defacto testing and optimization platform for websites. I’m pretty confident about that. Optimizely, they’re coming for you.
That’s a wrap
Well, there you have it. 4 free Google marketing tools from Google that you can explore at your leisure. Hopefully, if you made it this far down the article, you have at least cool takeaway.
And if not, well then why are you still reading this?
But seriously, if you got any value at all out of my article, will you do me a favor and give it a share? Thanks so much!