Google One Giving Away Free Google Home Minis to 2TB Users. One More Way Google Home Footprint Grows.
Voicebot published data this week that showed Google Home added 600,000 more new users than Amazon Echo in the U.S. in 2018. One of the tactics it has used successfully is bundled promotions of a product or service that includes a free or heavily discounted Google Home Mini. There are many examples of this. All or most of the attendees at the Google I/O developer conference last year received a device, Philips Hue LED starter kits last year came with two complementary Google Home Minis, and Spotify said it’s Google Home Mini promotion helped it exceed premium subscriber growth expectations in the fourth quarter of 2018. There are a lot of ways to drive unit volume shipments and promotional bundling is clearly a favorite Google tactic.
The latest promotional bundle isn’t really promoting the sale of a service, but instead is rewarding Google One subscribers with an unexpected Google Home Mini. Google One is the new name the company bestowed on the Google Drive storage subscription services in 2018. There are a number of tiers above the 15 GB free plan including a $1.99 / month for 100 GB up to $299.99 / month for 30 TB. The new promotion is being shared with the 2TB subscribers (and likely others) that pay $9.99 / month.
Closing the Gap with Amazon Echo
I’m sure it’s nice to get a Google Home Mini for free when you didn’t expect it. However, this is an interesting situation because it is not being used as an incentive to purchase something else. The promotion is about building goodwill with existing customers. Many people have suggested that Amazon and Google should just give smart speakers away because if the mere possession of a smart speaker can create loyalty to a specificc voice assistant, it will result in customer lock-in. Google One’s promotion looks like that type of giveaway — get more devices in the hands of potential users. And, I don’t recall Google Home Mini having any supply problems over the holiday shopping season. Maybe Google simply manufactured too many Minis and is looking for creative ways to distribute them to targeted customers.
Google’s U.S. user based still trails Amazon Echo by a wide margin with about 16 million compared to 40 million respectively. At 600,000 more new users per year, it will take Google 40 years to close the market share gap with Amazon. So, expect to see more promotions and more Google Home Minis in your friends’ homes.