As the COVID-19 crisis deepens and uncertainty continues to loom for small businesses unable to operate as normal, Google have stepped up to support their SME community by offering free Google ad credits for businesses who advertise with them.

This generous move will hugely benefit a range of SMEs with their marketing and communications throughout this unprecedented and very challenging period.

What are Google doing, exactly?

Google have set aside $340million worth of ad credits for SMEs to use on their site. This allows small enterprises to continue their marketing through the coronavirus crisis, even if they’re unable to trade or are trading in a different way. Whilst a marketing tool, the aim of this is to facilitate communication – so that businesses are able to communicate effectively and keep their customers and communities abreast of what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and any changes in basic operations. This could cover just about anything; from food retailers pivoting to contactless deliveries, online shops needing to advise on longer lead times or even brands advising of a temporary shut-down in services.

Google have also set up a fund for $20million worth of ad grants to help public service institutions communicate with their communities, and a further $15million in cash grants for non-profits.

What are Google ad credits?

Google ad credits are monetary credits against a business’ Google account which they can invest in advertising in various formats throughout the Google platform. These ads can be in the form of sponsored ‘top of the results’ listings, Google AdWords, classic banner ads or re-targetting campaigns; depending on what works best for your business.

As lots of advertising options on Google work around dynamic and ever-changing price brackets, there’s no ‘set price’ per ad option – so credits of block amounts make more sense and work more easily than charging a fee from a bank account every time an advert is placed (and in the current climate, lots of SMEs are struggling with internal cashflow anyway).

This is great – but what are Google getting out of it?

Well, they certainly have the cash, but also: SMEs are the backbone of Google’s business. Google rolled out their ‘Google for Small Businesses’ program just last year and continue to be the biggest search engine, and therefore biggest visibility platform for tens of thousands of SMEs worldwide. Whilst there’s definitely a need for SMEs to be able to communicate effectively during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, it’s worth noting that it’s in Google’s interest for these businesses to survive this period, so that they are there to invest again when life resumes to normal.

Is my business eligible for free Google ad credits?

If your SME has advertised with Google either directly through the site or with one of their advertising partner companies since 1st January 2019, you could be eligible. You’ll have to still have an active Google Ads account for your business, not be in debt to them and have followed the Google terms and conditions relating to adverts with those you’ve already placed. Ads placed previously can include YouTube and Display, as well as on Google, although these two will need to comply with the relevant regulations.

How do we get free ad credits, and how long will they last for?

There’s nothing to do! If your SME is eligible for these free ad credits, Google will notify you by email and place them directly into your account. This is an ongoing process as the team at Google HQ work through verification and eligibility, so is expected to take place over months rather than being done automatically overnight. Any free ad credits received can be used on advertising across any Google platform and will not expire until 31st December 2020. You can use as many or as few of them as you like at any point during 2020, and any unused credit will simply disappear as the clock ticks into 2021.

This is a fantastic opportunity for SMEs to improve their customer comms through the coronavirus pandemic and continue to demonstrate your willing to operate and service where you can. Don’t miss out – if you get some free Google ad credits, spend them, and keep the conversation open with your customer base.

Woya Digital is a digital marketing agency made up of experts in our various fields. We make business growth through digital marketing, affordable for any business!