Done right, Google Ads can be a powerful marketing tool. Google points to research to assert that advertisers derive $2 in value from every dollar spent on Google Ads. Whether or not your small business can achieve those kinds of results from an online advertising campaign depends on many factors. But over time, Google ads have continued to be an important part of many digital marketers’ advertising strategies.
It is easy to set up, run, and analyze Google Ads. Plus, Google will often give Google ads credits, which is basically a way to get free advertising. These promotional credits are designed to help businesses get started or increase their advertising efforts. But these ad credits (sometimes referred to as a voucher, promo code, or coupon) may not stretch very far for ecommerce marketers who spend a lot of money on digital ads.
Typically Google ad credits offer “$100 off your ad campaign when you spend $100,” types of deals. It’s the advertiser’s version of a BOGO. For small businesses or nonprofits, these credits are likely to be a lot more helpful than for larger companies that spend thousands of dollars weekly or daily on digital ads. Big spenders will want to look for other ways to optimize their ad spend such as using cash back credit cards to help make their Google Ad campaign spend go further.
What are Google Ads Credits?
If you have a Google Ads account (formerly called Google Adwords) you have probably received emails offering Google Ads credits. These Google ad credits (formerly known as Google AdWords credit) offer an opportunity to get discounted or free Google ads.
All Google Ads campaigns start in a similar way: you decide what your campaign will be, whether it is search, display, shopping video, etc then you choose your advertising goal(s). The goals are different for each campaign type, but some you will see across the different options are sales, leads, and website traffic.
The next step will be to decide your targeting method (i.e. keywords, placements, topics, or audiences). Once all this is set up, you can create your ad, select your budget, submit your ads for approval, and then run your campaign.
Ads credits come into play when you get to the billing section. No matter what you set as your daily budget, or if you decide to manually choose your CPC (or not), the ad credit will come into play in the billing section. The billing section is where your payment method for the ads will go in. You will need to enter a payment method (such as a credit card) and your promotional code if you are using one.
How Google Ads Credits Work
Eligibility for Google Ads promo codes is very simple and straightforward. Google often offers ad credit when you sign up for a new Google Ads account (not to be confused with a Google Analytics account) or will email existing Google Workspace customers or those with Google Ads accounts. The email will offer free Google Ads credits, and will typically require a specific amount of ad spend to earn credit toward additional ads.
Once you receive an offer, you will need to redeem it. If you receive a Google Ads coupon in your email you can click on it and the offer should automatically populate once you get to the billing page. Otherwise, you can redeem these credits by going into the billing section of your Ads account, selecting promotions, and entering the code that you’ve been given. The promotions section of your account is where you will check to see the status of your coupon, including whether it is expired, active, or if you still have to spend more money before the promotion kicks in.
There are two more things you should keep in mind as you look into using Google Ads credits. The first is that Google ad credit can only be used for future advertising costs. So you will need to plan ahead, especially if the credit is getting close to expiring. For heavy advertisers this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’ve paused your campaigns you could run into a situation where a coupon code is about to expire.
The second consideration is that you will need to put a payment mehtod on file, regardless of how much you plan to spend. For many business owners, that will be a credit card, though you can also use a debit card or a bank account. Choosing the right credit card to keep on file can be a smart move, as we’ll discuss in a moment.
Note that here we’re talking about Google Ad credits which are different from Google Ad grants. The Google Ad grants program gives qualifying nonprofits access to up to $10,000 per month in search ads shown on Google.com.
Where Google Ads Credits Fall Short
Google offers a PPC model (pay-per-click); which means that every time someone clicks on your ad, you’ll pay for that click. You can set a budget and a timeframe for your campaign, but Google ad budgets can quickly add up, especially if you’re in a competitive category where you’re paying $1– 2 or more per click.
For a very small business, or one that’s just getting started, a coupon code of $100 or even $500 may allow them to dip their toes into Google ads, and see what works. But for businesses that do a lot of advertising and spend business 200 clicks is not a lot, especially since we all know that 200 clicks doesn’t mean 200 new customers or conversions.
In short, yes, you can still use these credits to save a few hundred bucks here and there. But, overall Google Ads credit will not go far for companies that spend thousands to tens of thousands a day on Google advertising. Many of these companies would probably be better served getting cash back on their ad spend instead.
Earn Cash Back on Google Ads Spend
Cash back is not the same as an advertising credit. Ad credits can only be used for a specific platform and will be limited to the amount offered. Cash back is much more flexible.
But for the sake of understanding ad credits compared to cash back, let’s pretend they are the same thing. If you spend $100 on Google Ads and get a $100 Ads credit in return that is 100% ‘cash back’ but as you spend more, that reward as a percentage of spend gets smaller and smaller until it hits 0.1% after you spend $100,000.
With cash back on a credit card– assuming you get unlimited 1.5% back on all spending– that $100,000 spend will earn you $2,000 back you can spend on advertising, or however you choose.
Dash.fi for High Google Ads Spend
Digital advertisers who find success on platforms like Google often run up against inflexible credit card policies that limit how much cash back they can earn. Even business credit cards that offer unlimited cash back aren’t truly unlimited, because credit card limits will stop them from spending. Credit card companies may also flag high ad spending as potentially fraudulent, cutting off use of the card during a successful campaign.
Dash.fi offers truly unlimited 3% unlimited cash back for the first 60 days followed by unlimited 1.5% cash back after that. Even better, dash.fi works with cardholders to help ensure they can continue to use their card as campaigns scale, allowing them to capitalize on successful campaigns. Whether the business chooses to invest cash back in more ads or in other areas of the business, it provides confidence the business will earn valuable rewards on the money they are already spending to grow their business without the worry of card failure.