Back in March, I covered the announcement that Google would be donating $340 million in Google Ads credits to active SMB accounts as a part of their $800 million COVID-19 relief fund. At the time, no one knew much about this initiative other than that Google planned to release the Google Ads credits shortly. I’m pleased to tell you that starting July 1st, Google began rolling out the first wave of ad credits. Here’s what you need to know about the Google ad credits for SMBs.

Who Qualifies for the Google Ads Credit?

According to Google, the Google Ads credit is “available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year.” To be considered an active account, you must “have spent with a Google Ads account in ten out of twelve months of 2019, and in January and/or February of this year. Eligible customers are those who advertised directly with us, or through a third-party partner, and adhere to our advertising policies.”

Who Qualifies as a Small or Medium-Sized Business?

According to Google, the goal of this ad credit initiative is “to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time[…] The ad credit is our gesture to show support and solidarity with these businesses as they continue to engage with their customers.”

Google has a global team in place to specifically support the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, and customers who are supported by this team — which could mean a local mom & pop shop or a company with hundreds of employees and multiple locations — are eligible for this SMB ad credit.

How Much is the Ad Credit?

The Google Ads credit amount varies by customer and is calculated based upon the following criteria:

  • How much your Google Ad spend has been in the past,
  • The country of your Google Ads billing address
  • The currency associated with your Google Ads account.

Despite these caveats, Google has stated that the maximum amount of ad credits a customer can receive is equivalent to $1,000 USD. All eligible customers are entitled to one ad credit. There is no application process to complete to get the Google ads credit; the Google ads credit is being applied to each eligible account automatically. Credits can’t be refunded, transferred, or split.

How Will the Google Ads Credits Be Applied?

Since July 1st, Google Ads credits for SMBs have been rolled out in waves and will continue to do so over the next couple of months. Eligible small and medium-sized businesses will be notified once the ad credits have been applied to their accounts.

While you can use the ad credits towards your future ad spend, the credits cannot be applied towards your past or present Google Ads spend. You can, however, use the ad credits towards any Search, Display, and YouTube campaign.

Be sure to use your Google Ads credits by December 31, 2020, because whatever you don’t use by that time, you’ll lose.

Once the credits have been applied, Google will send an email to the primary contact for the account. The notification may look something like this:

An example of the email notifying a manager account admin that Google Ads credits have been applied.

As mentioned earlier, Google is rolling out this initiative in phases, so don’t panic if you haven’t received yours yet.

If you have received the email notifying you that the ad credits have been applied to your account, you can find them by navigating to the Promotions page. To do so, click on the tool icon at the top of the page, and select the Promotions page from the Billing dropdown menu.

How are the Google Ad Credits Being Applied to Manager Accounts?

If you’re managing multiple accounts, here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 ad credits. Manager accounts with eligible customer accounts will be able to see which customers received the credit by looking at the manager account’s Notifications page. Manager account admins will also receive the notification email with a summary statement showing which accounts received the credit and how much was applied to the account. If you manage accounts with billing addresses in different countries, you may receive multiple emails as the credit initiative is rolled out to more countries.