Everything You Need to Know About Google’s Free Credits

  • 4 min read

Google has pledged $340 million in ad credits for its platform. This promise is to support SMBs (small businesses) during the coronavirus pandemic, helping companies to stay in touch and in front of their audience during these hard times. 

Google has committed a wide range of activities to support SMB’s. They have set up a fund for NGOs (non-government organizations) and financial institutions around the world to help provide small businesses with access to capital. 

The $15 million in cash grants they are already providing to nonprofits to help bridge these gaps for SMBs with the addition of $20 million more was also pledged in grant to community financial entities. This is for public service announcements, regarding relief funds and other resources.

Free credit commitment is part of the search engine's multi-step approach to help small and medium-sized businesses in the pandemic era.

Related: COVID-19 Impact on eCommerce (Data Digest)

With its support plan, Google aims to help companies communicate with their customers through advertising so that they can do business and survive these hard times.

Table of Contents

How Free Credit Works

Who is Eligible to Get Free Credits

When will Free Credits be Available for Eligible Accounts

How Many Credits Will I Get

What Will Be the Size of Credit?

How Long are the Credits Valid for

Why Should You Care

Google’s reaction to COVID-19 outbreak


How Free Credit Works

The credits can be used throughout 2020 on any Google Ads channel from Search to Display, and YouTube. All the campaign types are available. However, it cannot be applied to past spending, only future spending.

Advertisers will be notified and see the ad credits appear in their accounts automatically. There is no need to take any action to be considered for eligibility. 

How Google identifies a small or medium-sized business?

Google has created a global, specifically designed team to consult and support small and medium-sized businesses around the world. Google works with SMBs worldwide from local stores to companies with hundreds of employees and many locations.

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Who is Eligible to Get Free Credits

Initially, Google had said small and medium-size businesses would be eligible if they had been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019. They would also need to adhere to Google Ads policies. 

Now the company has provided details and clarification.  Advertisers need to have spent with a Google Ads account directly or through a partner in 10 out of 12 months in 2019 and in either January and/or February of 2020.

Brand-new accounts as of 2020 and those who didn’t spend anything this year, will be ineligible.

In case there is one manager level account that the other accounts link to, credits are distributed among ad accounts, not at the MCC level. 

If the MCC owner - Google Partner - also advertises his business using Google Ads, they are entitled to a separate credit. The requirements they have to meet are the same as other small and medium-sized enterprises.

Return to top of page or Check Out 5 Tips to Increase Online Sales During Coronavirus Pandemic

When will Free Credits be Available for Eligible Accounts

Qualified accounts should see credits towards the end of May. The credits will be introduced in stages over several months. Your account will be notified and you'll see a prompt in your Google Ads account.

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How Many Credits Will I Get

Even if you run ads in multiple accounts or run multiple campaign types in your account you will not receive multiple ad credits.

You can read on the help page does that if there are “multiple eligible accounts that roll up to one manager account, each of the eligible accounts will receive an ad credit.”

Return to top of page or Learn 4 Ways to Adevertise for Free During COVID-19

What Will Be the Size of Credit?

Google is currently non-specific on the size of the credits it will be handing out. The size of actual credit applied will vary depending on previous Google Ad spend and the country in which the ads are set up.

This is a global program, and credits will be allocated in correspondence with the currency of the Google Ads account.

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How Long are the Credits Valid for

Advertisers can use the ad credits for future advertising through December 31 of this year.

After that time, the ad credit expires and any unused portion will be removed from your Google Ads account.

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Why Should you Care

The Google help plan focuses on small and medium-sized businesses. This is because COVID-19 seems to be most disruptive for this size of the company. Because of COVID-19, many small businesses are forced to slam the door, potentially for good. The introduction of this scheme aims to prevent that.

According to the World Bank, small and medium-sized companies make up about 90 percent of all companies and more than half of employment worldwide. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Google has promised millions in ad credits. SMBs around the world represent a huge percentage of its own customers.

The great deal about credits is that they have no limitation and can be used towards anything on the Google Ads platform. That includes Search, Display and YouTube, along with any campaign goal or type within those.

Return to top of page or Download The Ultimate Google Merchant Center Handbook

Google’s reaction to COVID-19 outbreak

Google reacted to the Coronavirus outbreak in several ways. Free Credits are just a part of support concentrated on helping SMB’s. 

Besides this pledge, they introduced an option for free product advertising on Google Shopping Tab as struggling businesses cannot afford Google Shopping listings at this time.

Giant created ad grants for the World Health Organization and $200m investment fund to non-profits and smaller financial institutions.

A  $20 mln helping hand at infrastructure, research and institution entities who are working on treatments for COVID-19.

Google working on employee donations as well as on rolling out free access to “advanced” features for its tools.

Google’s commitment seems to be extensive and includes many communities and businesses in need. They act on diverse level to fight against pandemic and support those who are most at risk on these uncertain times.

Return to top of page or See How Other Big Brands Reacted to the Pandemic


At the moment, the best solution is to check whether you meet the criteria or not.

Once you know if you are eligible, you can start planning and devise your strategy so that you can make the most of it.

Check your account to make sure you have advertising spending between March 2018 and February 2019 or contact the advertising manager to make sure you qualify.

Also check: How to Profit Big Time with Google Shopping CSS [up to 20% discount for clicks]

Return to top of page or Learn How to Easily Transition Your Store to Online

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