Google is one of the few companies that has an impact on almost all of our lives on a daily basis. It's where we go to find the best restaurants when we're traveling. It's where we search for local plumbers, or the closest hardware store, or where to buy vegetables to plant in a garden. That, of course, explains why more than half of all internet traffic originates with Google.
It also explains why Google is such a valuable place for small businesses to find new customers. The combination of organic search and the paid ads associated with those searches has made it easy for businesses to target their audience based on meeting the exact things they're searching for. It's also made Google a massively profitable trillion-dollar company.
Now, in a blog post by Sundar Pichai, the company's CEO, Google says it will pitch in to help small businesses and other organizations make their way through the current health and economic challenge facing us all. That help comes in the form of an $800 million program that includes both direct financial assistance, as well as grants.
We're committing $800M+ in new #COVID19 response efforts, incl $340M in @GoogleAds credits for SMBs worldwide, $250M in ad grants for @WHO & 100+ govt orgs globally, a $200M investment fund for NGOs & banks to help small businesses access capital, and more https://t.co/oVj6MMs9Bl-- Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 27, 2020
For small businesses, that means $340 million in credits for Google Ads that the company says can be used throughout 2020 across any of Google's advertising platforms. According to the company, the goal is "to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers."
There's no sign-up or application process. Instead, credits will automatically be added to active Google Ads accounts.
In addition, Google says it is providing $250 million in ad credits to the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other government health agencies that provide information about slowing the spread of Covid-19. Google had already said it would provide $25 million, but has significantly increased that amount with this announcement.
An additional $200 million will be provided to both NGOs and financial institutions "to help provide small businesses with access to capital." The company says it is focused on "people and communities underserved by mainstream financial institutions."
Lastly, Google is providing $20 million in Google Cloud services to researchers who are studying vaccines and treatment for Covid-19.
It's worth mentioning that Google is reportedly already seeing declines in advertising spending as businesses are forced to temporarily close down in communities across America. There's a chance that many of those businesses will struggle to reopen without help, which gives Google an incentive to help since those businesses are its customers. In addition, a credit is often an effective way to drive additional spending, which helps Google's bottom line at a time when it, too, could use a boost.
That's not to say that Google shouldn't get credit for these efforts. Google is in a unique position to actually help in a way that matters. Providing small businesses with the combination of advertising help as well as direct financial assistance in some cases could easily mean the difference between some businesses taking a short-term hit or getting knocked out.
Preventing that is something we should all get on board with.