Posted by Zach Hendrix on Jul 7, 2020 1:25:15 AM
Zach Hendrix

What to know about Google’s Ad Credits for Automotive Dealers in the United States

Are you an automotive dealer who spends money on digital advertising, specifically with Google? Or maybe, you are an automotive dealer partnered with a provider or vendor who advertises on your behalf with Google. If so, you could be eligible to receive a credit to your Google Ads account due to the impacts of Covid-19.

In March 2020, Google announced a plan to distribute $340 million in Ad credits for Small and Medium-sized businesses. This is part of a larger commitment from Google to support SMBs, health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic. Google began distributing those credits on June 18th 2020. Good news for Automotive Dealers. Most automotive dealers are eligible to receive Google Ad credits.

  • Are you an automotive dealer eligible for a google ad credit?
  • How much is the ad credit?
  • Will you receive the ad credit directly from Google or will your agency receive it?

Here are some details specifically for automotive dealers regarding the Covid-19 Google Ad Credits for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses.

Details about Covid-19 Google Ad Credits for Automotive Dealers

Is my Dealership Eligible?

Initially, Google had said dealerships would be eligible if they had been active since the beginning of 2019 and adhere to Google Ads policies. Since then, now (6/28/2020) Google clarified that dealerships would need to have spent money in 10 out of 12 months in 2019 and in either January and/or February of 2020.

Simply put, the dealerships who will be receiving ad credits are dealerships who have been active, consistent, and are committed advertisers in 2019 and 2020 prior to the coronavirus reaching pandemic status.

When should my dealership expect these ad credits?

The credits will roll out in phases, which began on June 18th 2020. By July 1st, 2020 these ad credits will be auto-applied to all eligible dealerships globally. Eligible dealers will receive one ad credit allocation per account. For example, if you have combined multiple rooftops and brands into a single ad account you will only receive one ad credit allocation. Good news, most dealers and agency partners today have separate accounts for each rooftop or OEM they represent.

There is no action to take to be considered for eligibility. As Google previously announced, dealers or dealer advertising partners will be notified and see the ad credits appear in their accounts automatically. Dealers can use the ad credits throughout 2020 on any Google Ads channel — Search, Display and YouTube — and campaign type. These ad credits expire December 31st, 2020.

(image of Google Ad Credit)

Advertisers can use the ad credits for future advertising through December 31 of this year.

How much credit should I expect?

The ad credit amount will vary by dealership based on past Google Ads spend, the billing address of your country, and currency of the dealership’s Google Ads account. Each eligible dealership will receive a one-time credit, ranging from $1-$1000 USD.

Google does not provide an equation for how the credit amounts are calculated or how they arrive at a number. For context, most dealers will see ad credits ranging from $100-$750 with outliers and heavy spenders receiving slightly more.

How will the ad credit be distributed to my dealership?

Eligible dealerships can see the applied credit on the “Promotions” page of the Google Ads account by clicking the tools icon at the top of the page, then under “Billing” select “Promotions”. The amount used per billing cycle can be viewed on the Transactions page in your account.

What can my dealership do?

  1. Check your dealership’s Google ads account. Your dealership can see the applied credit by clicking on the “Promotions” page of the Google ads account by clicking the tools icon at the top of the page. After clicking the tools icon, under “Billing” select Promotions.
  2. If you are partnered with an agency or provider, reach out to your account manager for an overview of your eligibility or applied credit. Your agency partner was sent a notification email indicating eligibility.
  3. Use the ad credit for future ad spend. The Google ad credit is not mailbox money. Google will not be sending your dealership or agency partner a check or cash. The Google ad credits can only be used for future spend on one of Googles ad properties including Search, Display, and YouTube as well as all campaign types.

Aside from the Google Covid-19 Ad Credits…What can my dealership do to ensure transparency between my agency and my dealership?

If you are partnered with an agency chances are that your agency pays for your total dealership ad spend plus management fees upfront and then bills your dealership with a consolidated monthly invoice.

  • Dealers should consider paying Google directly by providing their agency partners with an approved credit card, ACH, or PayPal account that can be easily inserted into your dealership’s account. Progressive partners and agencies, like Driven Data, showcase transparency by having dealerships provide direct payment to Google and by providing itemized billing for every transaction that takes place.
  • Communicate with your agency partner. Many agency partners suggest at a minimum a monthly client review. Do not take these minimum monthly discussions for granted. We encourage you to work with your existing agency partner to better understand billing, results, and future strategy.
  • Consider an alternative agency partner. If your agency is unwilling to provide transparent billing or requires you to use their payment method, consider exploring an alternative agency that promotes transparent billing practices.


By July 1st all Google Ad Credits will be distributed to dealerships across the nation. This is part of a larger commitment from Google to support SMBs, health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic. For additional updates regarding the Google Covid-19 Ad Credit Program go to Google Covid-19 Ad Credit Updates. If you would like more insights into the impacts of Covid-19 as they relate to the automotive industry and advertising, we encourage you to visit Driven Data Covid-19 Updates .


Topics: Marketing, Paid Search, attribution

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