Google and Facebook plan to offer SMBs ad credits to support them during the coronavirus pandemic. This is what you need to know to secure your share
On Friday the 27th of March, Google announced that they will be offering ad credits for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) who routinely advertise with them. Google have pledged $340 million in Google ads credit, to help companies “stay in touch with their customers during this difficult time” (Google Ads Help). More details have now been made available and this ad credit can be used at any point until the end of 2020, across any Google Ads platform.
On Monday the 20th April, Google provided updated information on their ad credit programme, particularly in regard to eligibility criteria. Those eligible for this programme are small and medium-sized businesses globally, who have spent with a Google Ads account in ten out of twelve months of 2019, and in January and/or February of 2020. Eligible customers will also be those who advertised directly with Google, or through a partner that adheres to its advertising policies.
Starting in late May, Google will begin rolling out the ad credit in phases. Those who are eligible will be notified, and will see the ad credit applied to their Google Ads account. This is an ad credit for future Google Ads spend which can be used throughout the year. It must, however, be used by the 31st December 2020.
In a further update on April 21st of most interest to US-based retailers, Google announced that Google Ads Shopping programme would offer free product listings that can be used to augment existing listings. Details of US programme, expected to be in place by 21st April.
Why is Google Providing ad credits?
Google has stated that they believe SMBs are the backbone of communities, representing around 90% of all businesses (according to World Bank). The coronavirus pandemic has meant that these companies are seeing a significant decline in revenue, as well as being forced to temporarily shut down.
In addition to providing $340 million in Google Ads credit, Google has also set up a fund to enable NGOs and financial institutions with what they need to provide small businesses with access to capital. Additionally, Google has provided $15 million cash grants to non-profit organisations to help bridge the gap for small-to-medium sized businesses.
SMBS, who, as Macy Edwards, Director of Digital Paid Media at ClickThrough puts it are “the vast majority of the businesses who advertise with Google, and who may not have the cash reserves that larger firms have to carry on advertising”.
Read Google's advice on applying for credits:
The key info is:
"Starting in late May, we'll begin rolling out the ad credit in phases. Over the following months, eligible customers will be notified and will see the ad credit applied in their Google Ads account".
Facebook ad credits for SMEs via Small Business Grants programme
Facebook has also announced financial help for small-to-medium sized businesses. For its part, Facebook will offer $100 million in Facebook ad credits, as well as cash grants to support up to 30,000 small businesses across 30 countries.
Read further details and check the 30 eligible countries on the Facebook COVID-2019 Small business grants information page.
As many businesses are currently treading a fine line between saving revenue and helping their consumers, it’s likely that the moves both Facebook and Google have made to support SMBs may soon be adopted by other large companies.
While customers don’t want their favourite brands to stop advertising altogether amid the coronavirus pandemic, they do want to see a shift in strategy that clearly shows how businesses are proactively helping against the spread of the virus.
As Macy Edwards points out:
“These schemes from Facebook and Google are not only a public commitment to the businesses who have helped them get to where they are, but will keep those brands active, support CPCs and use inventory that would likely remain unfilled otherwise.”
To make it as easy as possible for SMBs, the ad credit will be automatically applied to eligible customer accounts, meaning that there is no need to directly apply. Those who are eligible will be informed through an in-product notification, showing the credit amount once it is applied to the account. Unfortunately, Google cannot accommodate appeals from customers that did not receive a SMB COVID-19 ad credit.
Tiktok announces their SME scheme
Relative newcomers TikTok are also getting in on the act with their own program for SMEs. They intend to provide $100 million in ad credits to help smaller companies hit the ground running once normal business activity resumes. The program will be rolled out market-by-market in the upcoming months, with the timing dependent on the decisions of individual governments as to when normal economic activity restarts in each country.