Hey Digital Marketing Vendor: Where are My Google COVID-19 Ad Credits?!?!?
Quick question: Did your digital marketing vendor send you an email detailing the hundreds of dollars Google just credited to your Google Ads account?
Well, then you must be paying Google directly and you got the credits directly applied to your account. So, you’ll enjoy these credits against your next Google invoice, right?
Oh, your agency pays Google and you pay your agency?
Well, before we get into these ad credits – which for most automotive retailers are in the hundreds of dollars – we need to address how you’re paying for Google ads.
ALWAYS PAY GOOGLE!
ALWAYS PAY GOOGLE!
ALWAYS PAY GOOGLE!
There is never a reason to pay a digital marketing company for Google Ads beyond that agency’s admin fee. Every penny you spend on Google (whether for paid search or display ads) should be paid directly to Google, NEVER TO YOUR AGENCY!
This is the only way you can be 100% certain you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for. I know this will shock some of you, but we’ve caught automotive ad agencies being less than honest with their dealer-clients and padding their Google invoices. Shocking, right?
If your ad agency tells you that you must pay them for Google Ads, then you should run, not walk, until you find an agency that insists you pay Google directly for these. (If you’ve got 73 minutes to kill and want to know how to spot and stop SEO and SEM waste and fraud, feel free to watch this free video.)
The Google Covid-19 Ad Credits
In March, Google announced they would be providing credits to all Google advertisers because of the business disruptions created by the pandemic. Today (June 18, 2020), they started rolling these out; and your agency should’ve received an email alerting them to your credits. (Quick note: It looks like it might take up to a week for Google to roll out all credits; but it doesn’t hurt to let you agency know you’re expecting the credit – it will keep them on their toes.)
For honest agencies who insist their dealer-clients pay Google directly for their ad spend, the credits will be applied automatically to a future invoice. These dealers will simply pay less that month.
If you pay your agency for Google Ads, it’s likely your agency may keep some or all of these credits themselves. That is, while Google will apply the hundreds of dollars to your Google Ads account, you may never see these credits on your agency’s invoice.
Oh, and if you changed agencies, and your old agency was paying Google for you, then it’s more than likely you’ll never see these credits. In either scenario, you could be losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. That’s why I insist you ALWAYS PAY GOOGLE!
Yikes! What Should We Do?
If you’ve been working with the same agency for some time, ask them how much your credit is and when they plan to apply it. Also, ask them to show you the credit in your Google Ads account so you’ll know the exact amount.
If you’ve recently switched agencies, it’s important to know that the dollars are not transferable. This means you can either ask your old agency to spend these credits on your behalf (perhaps with some display ads) or simply move on without the extra ad dollars. (If the old agency wants you back, they may just spend these for you without charging a management fee – as a gesture of goodwill.)
Oh, and in case your agency claims they have no idea what you’re referring to when you ask about the credits, you might want to let them know about the email Google sent them regarding these. Here’s most of what that email said:
A Google Ads credit has been applied to your account for future ad spend
We’ve applied an ad credit to your account. This is related to the COVID-19 announcement Google made at the end of March.
We know that businesses of all sizes have been facing unique challenges as a result of COVID-19, and we also understand that many of these businesses continue to rely on Google Ads to help them reach their customers. As a gesture of support we’ve funded eligible accounts with an ad credit to be used towards future ad spend this year. After December 31, 2020, this ad credit will expire and any unused portion will be removed from the account.
You can find your ad credit on the “Promotions” page in your Google Ads account. To view it, log in and click the tools icon at the top of the page, then under “Billing,” select Promotions.
Once your agency knows you’re aware of and expect these credits, all but the slimiest operators will be sure you get the free ad dollars Google intended for you to use.