Google has announced it is giving £25m worth of free ad spend to British small businesses as part of a wider SME help package.
Qualifying UK small businesses will be awarded up to £800 ($1,000) in ad spend grants, applied to their existing Google advertising accounts.
The gift is part of a wider package of help for British small businesses including help for getting businesses noticed in internet searches and 10,000 hours of free business mentoring for UK SMEs and charities.
The £800 ad credit can be used for future Google ad spend, including search, display and YouTube advertising.
To qualify, small businesses must have spent through a Google Ads account in 10 out of 12 months in 2019, or in January and/or February of this year.
The ad credit must be used by December 31, 2020.
However, the headline £25m figure is being shared with Government agencies and NGOs. Google was unable to say how much has been specifically ringfenced for British small businesses.
Google itself will ascertain which customers are eligible for the free ad credit, so there is no need for you to do anything. The credit will appear in your Google Ads account dashboard.
You can find out more about the £25m worth of Google ad credits and grants here.
10,000 hours of mentoring
Meanwhile, Google is partnering with Digital Boost to offer 10,000 hours of free 1:1 mentoring and support to UK small businesses and charities. Advice will be offered on how to use Google to boost visibility, how to use social media and how to increase customer sales. You can find out how to sign up here.
Sherry Coutu, founder of Digital Boost, called Google’s small business help package “transformational” to the UK economy.
Coutu said: “In the past, many leaders of small businesses and charities have struggled with building up a significant online presence. COVID-19 has exposed this lag in digitalisation in dramatic ways. I’m excited that this partnership with Google allows Digital Boost to provide hope: you can turn to us for multiple digital skills boosts to survive the COVID-19 crisis and these boosts will also ensure you have the digital skills to be competitive in the long-run. The gift of mentoring doesn’t last a day, a week or a month – the skills and knowledge imparted last a lifetime.”
Greeting the overall Google small business programme, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our small businesses form the backbone of the British economy, fuelling growth and creating jobs in communities across the country. This has been a difficult time for them. Google’s initiative to support our smallest firms is a great step forward in getting our economy back on track.”
And Google’s small business initiative also has the support of the Federation of Small Businesses.
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, said: “The first-place many consumers turn to when looking for a product or service is Google, and helping small firms to be more visible as they reopen will go a long way to helping them get back on their feet.
“The mentoring courses and webinars on digital skills and advertising credits all being offered for free will be crucial and have a positive impact on the small business community. They won’t just help in the short-term but will help firms make their mark as they navigate a new normal, which will be defined by greater digitisation over the years ahead.”