Google has today announced an additional $200 million in ad grants to support non-profits as they deal with the expanded impacts of COVID-19, while it's also adding a range of new tools to help SMBs make better use of Google's promotion and ad options to maximize reach and exposure, and help them stay afloat amid the pandemic
First off is the expansion of Google's Ad Grants program, with an extra $200 million being allocated for non-profit organizations, taking the total available Ad Grants funding to $1 billion.
As explained by Google:
"This $1 billion helps nonprofits around the world that are tackling pressing issues like COVID-19 response and recovery, especially in developing economies."
Google announced an initial $800 million in support for COVID-19 related causes, and impacted small businesses, back in March. This new commitment expands on this, and will provide more ways to non-profits to raise awareness and support through Google's various options.
In addition to this, Google is adding a range of tools to help businesses mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 shutdowns.
As per Google:
"As people spend more time at home, we’ve seen searches for local services, like “carpet cleaning” or “air conditioning repair” increase by 50% in recent months. We’re now making it easier to book these services directly in Google Search on mobile through Local Services Ads in the U.S."
The option will streamline the connection process, direct from Google search, which could make getting that top search result even more important for local service businesses.
Google's also adding new notifiers in its Shopping tab listings which will display local store information - "including product availability, locations, and fulfillment options like delivery and curbside pickup."
Google added similar listings to Google My Business profiles last month, but users will now also be able to get the same context within the Shopping tab display.
Google says that searches for “curbside pickup” and “in stock” have surged by more than 70% in recent months, underlining the need for more info on its various display surfaces.
Google's also giving US businesses access to 'Grow My Store', which has been available in Europe for some time.
With Grow My Store, businesses can enter their eCommerce business URL and get a custom report on key trends, and pointers on how they can improve - with a full report available with email sign-up.
"In Europe, Grow My Store has been an effective way for many small retailers to get quick tips on how to improve their online store and understand how they are doing compared to peers in the industry."
And lastly, Google has also expanded its Smart Campaigns option to 150 countries, and is now looking to make it easier and faster to sign-up using the Google Ads app.
"And starting today, you can use Smart campaigns to display a prominent, square-shaped Google Maps pin with your business category logo, highlighting specific services that you offer, like curbside pickup or delivery."
The new Promoted pins for Smart campaigns are available for free through the end of September.
In addition to these updates, Google's also hosting a series of virtual product roundtables throughout the US Summer, with various product managers taking part to announce new additions, and share insights. These experts will also appear in Google's new 'The Update' video series which we previewed last month.
As outlined above, Google has already announced a range of new tools and features for SMBs to assist in their promotional efforts as they push through the COVID-19 pandemic. But the process is ongoing, and as consumer behavior adjusts, and businesses try to find new ways to connect, Google's looking to add more options to assist, and maintain connection through the new limits and restrictions.
For all businesses, Google remains a key connector, and it's worth taking note of the various options on offer to help maximize your digital opportunities.