Free Google Ad Credits for SMEs

Free Google Ad Credits for SMEs

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!

Temporary Disablement of Google My Business Features

Temporary Disablement of Google My Business Features

The ways in which the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all are still being realised, but online, you’ll have noticed social media and news feeds changing up the ways they prioritise activity and posts. Almost every website you use will likely now have a statement or signpost to further information on COVID-19. One business marketing facility however has made some major temporary changes – and that’s GMB (Google My Business).

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Google My Business refers to the overall management tool of a business’ presence on Google – through search results, maps and local listings. Qualifying business’ can claim their Google My Business listings for free and work from there to optimise their web presence. This includes standard SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) work, ensuring a mobile friendly offering and co-ordinating your business’ online presence across all digital channels, not just your website.

Temporary GMB Changes

There are several services within Google My Business that have been suspended currently. At present these include, but may not be limited to in the future:

  • New Reviews – Users will be able to publish and view their own reviews, but these will not be publicly visible
  • Review Replies – Entirely suspended. There will be no new reviews, but businesses will also be unable to respond to existing reviews on their profile
  • Q&A – Entirely removed. Existing Q&As have been removed and the feature has been suspended
  • Adding, Claiming and Verifying Listings – All businesses that are not health-related will be re-prioritised for these services and can expect delays
  • Editing Business Information – All businesses that are not health-related will be re-prioritised for these services and can expect delays

Although not confirmed by Google in their statement or other official comms, there is anecdotal evidence online to suggest that there may also be suspensions and/or delays in service in regards to the approval process of posts, user-generated content and business usernames (especially where reference is made to ‘delivery’ or ‘takeaway’).

Why is Google My Business Making These Changes?

Google officially released a statement on Friday 20th March 2020 detailing the changes that they would be making to Google My Business and explained why they were doing so. Put simply: Google are being a responsible employer and lessening any services that rely on their staff having to be IN the office to operate.

It’s fair to say that given the prioritisation of health-related businesses over other sectors, that Google are also being responsible toward the communities within which they operate and are supporting public health efforts, as well as looking out for small businesses who otherwise may be inundated with questions from the public on their protocol and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic disruption.

What Happens Now?

None of us can predict exactly how this current situation will pan out or how long it will last. Therefore, there is no set time scale for the reinstatement of these facilities back to their prior service levels.

What Can My Business Do About The Changes?

Realistically … nothing. If you’re a healthcare business, make it clear in the name and/or listing information of the company. Ensure your marketing and SEO is clear across all channels and that your website is mobile friendly and adaptive.

If you’re not happy with something specific in your Google My Business (GMB) online marketing presence and are unsure how to fix it, or at least to lessen its effects on your search engine results, get in contact with a digital marketing specialist, as they may be able to advise you further. You should also log your query with Google, but if you’re not a healthcare business, be prepared to wait for an official answer.

 

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!