Friday October 2, 2015

Should You Download Google Primer?

In October of last year, Google rolled out Primer – the app designed to help startups, small business owners and would-be marketers learn the basics of marketing strategy development through short, digestible self-paced lessons.


Until recently, I had only seen a few screenshots of the app, which indicated a very basic introduction to search engine marketing. (“Online searches give a lot of insight into who is doing the search and why they’re doing it.” Yes, thank you for that, Google.) 

Okay – so clearly the app isn’t designed for someone who’s been doing this type of work for years, but I decided to give it a test drive to see if it’d be potentially helpful to new business owners and/or aspiring marketers.

Clear approach to big picture strategy

For those new to marketing, figuring out where to start is a daunting task. The ever-changing landscape of tools, tactics, technology updates and algorithm overhauls is a lot to keep up with – and the seemingly endless number of “experts” and self-proclaimed “thought leaders” tripping over themselves to churn out tips and how-to’s can make getting a handle on things feel even more confusing.

Primer does a nice job of focusing in on what’s important as you develop your marketing strategy. The lessons guide you toward beginning with a clear understanding of your market, and they provide processes for determining how to make sense of data. Users also receive guidance on starting with the right resources before diving into tactical recommendations. Yes, there are recommended tools and platforms, but not an overwhelming number of them – and they all serve to support the development of a thought-out plan.

Good starting point for setting realistic expectations

In going through Primer’s lessons, the basic innerworkings of SEO, SEM, content and measurement come into focus. Without a handle on these fundamentals, SEO can seem like a dark art – which makes it difficult to know what to expect from it as a marketing channel. Especially with the countless emails bombarding us all with promises of getting our websites to “Rank #1 on Google!” it’s easy to think there are some easy levers that just need to be pulled to start capturing more search traffic. 

Primer walks through the high level work involved in these channels and even requires that you have marketing resources with the capacity to manage them before you can advance in the lesson. Whether you’re considering this work yourself or delegating it to a marketing team, having this insight from the start is crucial. 

Smart interface

Primer is easy to follow – but not too easy, which is a plus. Were every screen to require the same upward swipe to proceed, it’d be tempting to get into a mindless rhythm of swiping through entire lessons without paying close attention. With Primer, different screens prompt different actions – which helps keep your focus. And, the app’s design and tone manage to have some character without feeling too cute.

So, should you download it?

If you’re new to marketing – absolutely. It’s easy to use, requires minimal time and the lessons are useful and focused on developing a foundation that will be helpful to both business owner and beginning marketer. If you already have a handle on the fundamentals of marketing, you may pick up a couple new tips but most of the lessons will feel skippable (which should go without saying; the app is called Primer).

If you’ve used Primer, did you find it helpful? Are there other resources you like better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Written by Charlie Nadler |

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