I’m not too sure how I stumbled across the Primer app from Google, but having found it I now feel the obligation to share it with others, particularly those with an interest in marketing. For that’s what the app is all about – discovering and learning about various marketing techniques. In the current version the topics covered are Content Marketing, Search Advertising and PR & Media, but more are promised soon.
Each topic consists of 4 lessons that rely on a blend of storytelling and quizzes to convey the subject matter in digestible chunks. Each snippet of information is delivered on a single screen that the user can swipe through with ease, and humour is deployed to keep the experience breezy and positive. In one section “Google Analytics Acquisition reports” are mentioned but cutely followed by the warning “(official-sounding name alert)”.
It’s intriguing that it’s Google who are behind this app. If their invested interests in developing this app aren’t clear at first then it’s not long before they become apparent through the repetitive promotion of their proprietary products (Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Google Keyword Planner etc).
But cynicism aside, Google have long been propping up marketeers with their free analytic and SEO tools – silent partners (metaphorically) in many thriving London agencies – so it would be somewhat unfair of me to question their motives. Instead, let’s look to the positives of which there are many. Here’s a few:
It’s rare these days to find an app that doesn’t require some form of tutorial or virtual tour to introduce you to the functionality on offer, but with Primer the UI is intuitive enough that the user can dive straight in and start learning immediately.
Our brains are bias towards enumerated information because it requires less effort to remember. The bitesize delivery of content, coupled with a conversational tone, means Primer’s content feels accessible to all: an introduction to non-marketeers, and a refresher for those already in the industry.
Rewards of the Self
People enjoy understanding how they are performing on a set scale. As Nir Eyal notes in his book ‘Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products’, “’Rewards of the Self’ are personal forms of gratification that can be achieved by conquering obstacles or completing tasks.” Primer delivers ‘Rewards of the Self’ through pop-quizzes that are intentionally geared to be simple; if you don’t get a 100% score it’s because you haven’t been reading the 5 or 6 screens of information that came before (tut tut). This recurring form of positive feedback is good for encouraging the user to continue through the process.
Sure, Google will have known that developing Primer would give them a great opportunity to raise brand-awareness (as if they really need to!) and promote their useful products/tools. But it’s hard to deny that they’ve put the user’s needs first. Their target audience are those short on time, so they make sure there is no need for the user to think (Steve Krug’s first law of usability). The app is the perfect time-filler – or time-killer depending if you’re a glass half full or empty type of person – for the commute to work. Each lesson even lets you know how long the lesson will last to help curb any cognitive dissonance you may be battling with.
We could go-on but instead we recommend you download Primer and have a play for yourself. It’s free after all.