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3 Best Ways to Spend your Google Ad Credit

Below are three ways that you should prioritise spending your free Google Ad Credit to maximise your investment.

As part of their Covid-19 relief effort Google issued ad credits to businesses who use its platform.

If you qualified and you recently got the credit, what are the best ways to use it?

I’ll share a list of ideas along with tips on how you can turn a temporary financial boost into a long term and proven way to get more results from your Google Ads investment.

Option 1: Go Hard on What Works for You

During uncertain times, focussing the limited resources at your disposal on things that are already proven are simply just common sense.

So, if you have a high-returning Google Ads campaign, that was delivering results you wanted before, simply spending this credit on these campaigns will help you get more of that for free.

The first place to start is to make sure that you are not losing Impression Share by running out of campaign budgets for the campaigns that are meeting your targets.

As a reminder, budget optimisations also apply to campaigns that are automated with Smart Bidding and Smart Campaigns.

It should also be noted that the automation in PPC shouldn’t be set and forgotten about, so don’t overlook the opportunities that automated campaigns offer.

Here’s how to identify what drives your profitable sales and leads:

  • Filter the campaigns so that you are left only with those meeting your targets for CPA or ROAS.
  • Sort out the remaining campaigns from best to worst CPA or ROAS.
  • Go down that list and make sure “Search lost impression share (budget)” is a low number.
  • If Lost IS due to budget is high, refer to the status column and use the “Budget Explorer” to estimate the additional traffic you could get with different budgets.
  • Increase the budget if you like what the Budget Explorer forecasts.
The Google Ads Explorer shows the difference in performance across different budgets
The Google Ads Explorer shows the difference in performance across different budgets

If you only want to increase your budgets until you have spent the ad credit, you need to divide the ad credit amount by how much you want to increase your daily budget by. You will then need to set yourself a reminder to restore the previous budget levels after that number of days.

Budget increase calculation

Better yet, why not create an automated rule that will revert back to the old budget on the day when your ad credits are supposed to run out?

Automated Rules can be set up in Google Ads so that budgets revert back to their old figures on a specific date
Automated Rules can be set up in Google Ads so that budgets revert back to their old figures on a specific date

Hopefully, you will be able to drive enough new leads and sales to convince your stakeholders that a permanent increase in budgets is worth it.

Even if they don’t want to increase the budget permanently, consider achieving the same level of optimisation by moving budgets away from lower-performing campaigns.

So, for every pound/dollar/euro (or your chosen currency) added to the daily budget of a well-performing campaign, remove the same amount from the daily budget of an underperforming campaign.

You should also find that your overall account performance should improve when you do this.

If your client is budget sensitive, be sure to use a tool or an ad script to help you stay within the allotted budget for your client or company.

Option 2: Try Something Different

If you are already managing to capture most of the Impression Share for your campaigns, the ad credits can be useful in testing a new strategy on an existing campaign.

The goal here is to spend the ad credits available to you on a more aggressive strategy, one that under normal circumstances you would be reluctant to test with your own money.

Putting a more aggressive strategy in place may lead to you discovering new pockets of valuable traffic that you can continue to benefit from long after your ad credits run out.

Here are 6 ways to target growth for existing campaigns:

  • Increase geotargeting.
  • Increase CPC or target CPA.
  • Decrease target ROAS.
  • Add query coverage with looser match types.
  • Test responsive ad formats.

The first three ways are relatively quick settings that you can change. The last two require a bit more work but are still relatively quick in comparison to creating an entirely new campaign.

Bidding more aggressively allow Google to show your ads for a larger set of search terms (the change in bidding causes a change in query mix).

Looser match types will achieve a similar change in query mix.

Adding responsive ad formats, somewhat counterintuitively, also lead to incremental gains to leads and sales. This is because they help Google to achieve a higher Quality Score for search terms where expanded text ads weren’t relevant enough to the search topics that are used.

As a result of this, responsive ads can increase the ad rank and make your ads eligible to show on queries that were unattainable with a lower rank.

Option 3: Try Something New

The third way that I recommend using the ad credits is to test an entirely new strategy.

This is ideal if you are in a position where you are already capturing all the impressions for profitable campaigns and you have exhausted all of your immediate options for optimising them.

This is a great way of using Google’s money to test something that maybe your boss or client considered or even your budget allowed.

Unlike tweaking existing campaigns to make use of the ad credits, this option requires entirely new campaigns that may take more time to create and set up properly.

New campaign types you can try:

The amount of credits that Google is issuing is limited so you will have to be focused on how you use them so that they deliver enough data so that you can make an informed decision to keep the campaigns running or not when you have used the credits.

This means that you should keep these trials pretty focused, even if you are using a new campaign type. Dynamic search ads tend to be the easiest to try.

This is because they can be set up as a campaign or a new ad group that automatically finds relevant queries for pages on your website. Plus, Google handles the targeting and part of the ad text, and with automatic bidding, they’ll also handle bids.

As a retailer, shopping ads are an absolute must.

Thanks to the engaging platform and the inclusion of a price, they are responsible for 63% of paid search clicks for retailers in the US according to Merkle. As an added benefit, Google is now offering some free listings on their shopping search pages to any company that has their data in Merchant Centre and who have enabled their products to be shown across all surfaces on Google.

Retailers who submit their product data to the Merchant Centre and enable all surfaces across Google can get free listings on the Shopping tab.
Retailers who submit their product data to the Merchant Centre and enable all surfaces across Google can get free listings on the Shopping tab.

The third campaign that I suggest you try with your ad credit, is using a YouTube video ads campaign that is focused on performance.

You can start with an in-stream ad format, with a goal to get sales and leads to your site. Not having any video ads is no longer an excuse not to try video ads since YouTube recently launched a free and easier way to create video ads, called Video Builder, that allows you to create and launch your ads

A recent PPC Town Hall with video ad experts Cory Henke and Joe Martinez covered several tips related to video advertising.

Experiment with Google Ads

If you are going to use the Google ad credits to try something that is new or different, make sure that you will come away with reliable results about the performance of what you tried.

If you are going to create an entirely new campaign, the results of that campaign in comparison to your other campaigns will be your main indicator of whether it will make sense to keep the new campaign running when your own money is at stake.

On the other hand, if you’re testing something new in an existing campaign, don’t rely on before and after metrics to make your final decision, this is because PPC is too volatile, to make a decision based on test data where you don’t have a control group.

The best way to make sure that you get reliable data is to use Drafts and Experiments where you can split test your results.


Usually, you will only receive ad credits from Google when you first open your account. However, with many of the changes that have been made to the platform since many of us first started using it, that it is almost like a new platform.

Along the road to this evolution, users may have skipped trying some new capabilities because we simply couldn’t justify the potential cost if the experiment didn’t go well, this is especially true if you have a tight budget.

Thanks to Covid-19 relief credits that Google has issued to advertisers, users now have some (albeit limited) scope to try new strategies with the free money in our accounts.

Clearly, Google will benefit the most in the long run from us discovering new strategies that work well, but in the end, we will benefit too so it is worth making sure that you use the money well and not just waste it hoping to get a return.

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