Google revealed new tools and resources today aimed at helping nonprofits and small and midsized businesses begin the recovery process from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company added $200 million to its annual Ad Grants, bringing its total to $1 billion for nonprofits dealing with pressing issues such as Covid-19 recoveries (particularly in developing economies) and fighting racial injustice, vice president and general manager of ads Jerry Dischler said in a blog post today.
Google also took the wraps off several features for SMBs ahead of a companywide event to share tips, training and new products for those businesses, set for June 22-27.
Some consumer search trends have surged in light of lockdown orders, including searches for local services such as carpet cleaning and air conditioning, which have climbed roughly 50%. Google, looking to further monetize those searches, now allows those services to be booked directly via Google Search on mobile devices through Local Services Ads, which have been around since November 2017.
The ad units enable people to discover and connect with local professionals backed by the Google Guarantee, in which businesses that pass a screening and qualification process are covered by Google in the U.S. and Canada for up to $2,000 in those countries’ respective currencies to refund customers who found the businesses through Google but were dissatisfied with the work that was performed.
Dischler said a mobile site will debut later this month in the U.S. and Canada to allow people to find, compare and book local service providers even quicker.
With searches for curbside pickup and in stock rising by around 70% in recent months, the Google Shopping tab will display real-time information from local stores such as product availability, locations and options like delivery and curbside pickup.
This update was added in all countries where the Google Shopping tab is available.
Retailers in the U.S. and Europe can now use a new tool called Grow My Store. After entering the URL for a website, brands will receive custom reports containing tips on how to improve their online presence and compare benchmarks with peers.
Another new tool, Local Opportunity Finder, provides personalized suggestions on improving Google Business Profiles including making sure hours are current, adding information on services like curbside pickup and uploading an image to represent the business.
Finally, Google’s Smart Campaigns were expanded to 150 countries, and they can now be set up more easily via the Google Ads app. Through Smart Campaigns, Google serves a company’s ad to potential customers in the geographic area who search for phrases related to the business on Google Search or Google Maps.
Starting today, businesses can use Smart Campaigns to display a pin with their business category logo on Google Maps, highlighting services such as curbside pickup and delivery.
Promoted Pins on Smart Campaigns will be available free of charge through the end of September.
“In the past few months, businesses have been impacted in profound ways. I’ve been inspired to hear how technology has helped organizations large and small from around the world stay connected with your customers,” Dischler wrote. “In response, we’ve moved quickly to help those that are hardest-hit by the pandemic. I believe technology can play a central role in supporting our communities through this crisis—this is core to my team’s purpose.”