Google Ad Credits to help SMBs get through COVID-19

Google is offering ad credits to small and medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) who have been advertising on Google since January 2019 for 10 of the 12 months in 2019 and also in January and/or February in 2020. These credits can then be used at any point until 31 December 2020, in any of Google’s advertising networks: Search, Shopping, Display and YouTube. This is part of Google’s wider response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Google ad credits

As we have learned to expect from Google, the announcement of free money is shrouded in ambiguity. Therefore, we asked our contact at Google if they could give us more details and have shared this inside knowledge in our post along with Google’s update on 20 April.

What criteria does Google use to determine whether a business is a SMB?

Google has not specified what they regard as an SMB. To compare, Facebook has their own offer of “small business grants” to help SMB’s during the COVID-19 crisis, in which they qualify SMB’s as businesses that “have between 2 and 50 employees” and “have been in business for over a year.”

How much will the ad credits be worth, in real monetary terms?

Google’s update on 20 April specified that the monetary value of the ad credits would depend on the advertiser’s spend history and the country and currency of the account. Moreover, each advertiser will receive one ad credit, even if the advertiser has multiple Google Ad accounts.

There is a total figure of $340 million that will presumably be shared among all eligible SMB’s. Considering Google’s own stated fact that SMB’s “represent about 90 percent of all businesses”, and that Google operates in many countries around the world, there will be a lot of businesses among which Google’s pot of credits will be shared. However, not all SMB’s have an online presence, and those that do may not have been advertising with Google since January 2019.

By what date should advertisers expect to get the ad credits?

Our contact at Google had said before 20 April that “customers will start to be informed in this quarter (Q2),” and Google’s update confirmed that credits would be given from late May.

How will advertisers be notified that they have been given the ad credits?

Our contact at Google had said before then that “customers will be informed in phases through email and interface notifications,” but Google’s update on 20 April clarified that eligible advertisers would receive a notification in their accounts. From our experience of running Google Ad Grants accounts, where Google gives non-profit organisations money to advertise in the form of credits, a notification appears in the Notifications area of the Google Ads account that is represented by a bell icon and looks like this:

Google credit example
Google credit example

We hope that we have given you a little more information about the Google ad credits, and hope that, if you are waiting to receive them, you will be notified soon!

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