Google and Facebook’s Small Business Grants: What You Need to Know

April 16th, 2020 by Myah Catanzaro

This post was updated in May 2020 to include additional qualification guidelines provided by Google. 

So far 2020 has proven to be quite the year. The news of COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on businesses came with the looming sense of “What’s going to happen next?” Thankfully, you won’t have to look much further than Google and Facebook for your answers. Although they are the biggest search engine and social network in the world, they too are human. Nobody could have seen this sudden and unforeseen halt of usual business and many companies feel a big strain. Google and Facebook hope to take the weight off of small businesses with the roll out of special grants programs. 

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Google’s Small Business Grant Program 

Google unveiled an $800 million plan to help support small businesses affected by the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. The company allocated $340 million of this money for Google Ads credits to small businesses so these businesses can stay in touch with their customer base.

Some may be thinking, “Why the big handout?” Well, during this decline in business advertising, the search engine that helps us get recognized every day could also be in danger. Google hopes that by providing small businesses with ad credits, those companies will invest that money back into Google’s  advertising efforts. During a time like, this having a “you scratch my back and i’ll scratch yours” relationship is priceless and appreciated. 

Qualifying for Google’s Small Business Grant 

The million dollar question: how does it all work? The good news is that you don’t have to do anything to apply! Is it just me or do you hear the hallelujah chorus, too?

  • In order to qualify to receive credits, your business must have been an active user of Google Ads directly or through a partner in 10 out of 12 months in 2019 and in either January and/or February of 2020.
  • There is no process in reaching out to obtain your credits, just watch your account. Credits will roll out in phases, beginning in late May. 
  • Businesses can redeem these credits until the end of 2020
  • The credits can be used across throughout 2020 on all Google platforms including Search, Display, and even Youtube, and for any campaign type. 
  • Each customer is eligible to receive one credit, even if you run ads in multiple accounts or multiple campaign types. 
  • The size of the ad credit will depend on past ad spend and the location of the account. 

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Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time. The company wants to help small businesses support their workforce, assist with rent, connect with more customers or cover operational costs. 

Eligibility for Facebook’s Small Business Grant

Although the grants are available in more than 30 countries, they have limited the number of U.S. cities to those near a location where Facebook operates. Qualifications: 

  • Check the available locations to see if your business is eligible. There is also a roll out process for application availability, starting in New York City and San Francisco, then the San Francisco Bay area, then to all other eligible cities. 
  • Your company must have between 2 and 50 employees and have been in business for over a year. 
  • You must be a for-profit company who has experienced challenges from COVID-19

Recommendations for Google Ad and Facebook Spend During the COVID-19 Crisis

In this time of economic uncertainty, you may wonder if anyone would convert or even be receptive to your marketing messages. The answer is yes! 

Google Ads are producing results for some industries. 

  • Less people are searching Google at this time, but that means your brand has the possibility to occupy a larger share of voice. 
  • Due to decreased competition in March 2020, a Search Influence medical practice client showed up in 27% more searches, resulting in the campaign’s lowest cost per lead since 2017. 

Search Influence has also seen combined success of Facebook and Google paid search for a continuing education school at a large private university. 

  • To this point in 2020, the client earned 47% of the inquiries they received in 2019, spending just 29% of their annual budget to this point. 
  • To tie this back to a key search trend, education is an area where one study noted very little decrease in traffic and conversions. 

If your business is not open, you are not able to move your services online, or you do not want to drive traffic to your website, now is a good time to plan for the future

  • Update your website and optimize your Google Ads strategy so you know how you want to allocate your Google Ads grant money and your website looks its best when you drive traffic there. 
  • Need advice on how to best utilize Google credits or Facebook grant money? Contact one of our strategists today.