Google COVID-19 Support

Free Ad Credit

Google announced quite early on during the COVID-19 crisis that they would be supporting small businesses worldwide with $340 million in ad credits. More details have now been released on how the scheme will work. Here's a summary:

Why is Google offering ad credits to small and medium businesses?

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our communities. They represent about 90 per cent of all companies and more than half of employment worldwide, according to the World Bank.

COVID-19 has posed a particular challenge to these businesses, which may be facing closures and declining revenue even as they find ways to support and protect their employees. The ad credit is our gesture to show support and solidarity with these businesses as they continue to engage with their customers.


In short, small business makes up a large slice of Google's ad revenue. With Facebook and Google cited to lose over $44 billion in ad revenue this year alone, it is not hard to see why they want to encourage businesses to start advertising again.

How will the ad credit work?

This is an ad credit for future Google Ads spend. It will not be applied to billed/invoiced past, or current Google Ads spend. These ad credits will be applicable across the Google Ads platform, including Search, Display, and YouTube as well as all campaign types.

Understandable, and this makes sense.

Starting in late May, we will 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.

Realistically the credits won't be ready until we move out of the current COVID-19 situation.

The ad credit amount will vary by customer based on past Google Ads spend, and the country and currency where the business and Google Ads account is set up.

Again, understandable.

How long are the ad credits valid?

This ad credit can be used throughout the year and must be used by 31st Dec 2020. After 31st Dec 2020, the ad credit expires and any unused portion will be removed from your Google Ads account.

Applying such a short timespan to the ad credits is a bad idea and should have been 12 months from the date they are issued.

Who is eligible for the ad credit?

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 February of this year. Eligible customers are those who advertised directly with us or through a partner and adhered to our advertising

Lot's of small businesses will fail to qualify, unfortunately, and this is where I feel the scheme falls. Most small businesses I know will not meet this criterion.


While I like many welcome the support of big tech companies, Google has fallen short with their offering. As I alluded to earlier, many small businesses will not meet the '10 out of 12 months' spending criteria to qualify for free ad credit. The Google offer will most likely apply for medium-sized enterprises and not small or micro-businesses that need help.

Remember, if you need support with your Google or Bing advertising during COVID-19 then do get in touch as I'm happy to donate up to 2 hours of my time free of charge to help and support businesses that need it.

Read our post on how to stay positive during these uncertain times.

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