Google’s Continued Plans to Support Businesses & Nonprofits in 2020

June 18, 2020

Google had a busy morning yesterday in ad land, making several announcements in their plans to support businesses’ recovery from the challenges presented in 2020 by COVID-19. 

The focus is largely on supporting local businesses connect more with customers and provide marketplace insights. 

Here are the key takeaways:

Google Marketing Live, Google’s annual conference to announce new products, planning roadmaps and thought leadership is shifting to several virtual forums this year. They’ll host “virtual round tables” to introduce new products and insights.  More to come on when those will be held. Check out our team’s GML recap from 2019.

In addition to the round tables, a new weekly video series called The Update on Think with Google will feature case studies, trends, and more.  The first two videos are available now and focus on how businesses are responding to COVID-19.  A tentative topic line up can be found here at the bottom of the article.

See upcoming planned events below:

More products to support local businesses are being introduced:

  • A new ad format called Local Services Ads allows consumers to book services on their mobile devices directly in Google Search. Business must be a Google Guaranteed Provider first.  Sign up here to get the process started if your business meets the category, background, insurance and license requirements.  This product is Google’s next step in creating an easier customer experience that allows consumers to complete their journey directly in the Google mobile experience.

• The Google Shopping tab will now show local store information like product availability, store locations and delivery and curbside pickup options. This update is a continuation of the Surfaces Across Google initiative that kicked off earlier this year. The local store information is housed in the Google Merchant Center and Google My Business.

Google is also releasing some new tools to help retailers grow and connect to their customers. All of the tools noted below are free.

  • Grow My Store helps business improve their retail website by analyzing the customer experience and providing recommendations on how to improve. This tool has been helping small businesses in Europe get quick tips for improving their site and how they compare to their peer set.  The report reviews the following elements on your site and gauges how your site performs for each: product information, store details, personalization, frictionless shopping, flexible fulfillment, customer service, security, and mobile experience. Details are clear, concise and easy to understand.
  • Local Opportunity Finder makes recommendations on how to make maximize your business’ visibility through your business info, responding to reviews, and using photos and posts on Google My
  • Google Smart Shopping is expanding to 150 countries and will offer free promoted pins in Google Maps through the end of September. If you aren’t familiar with this ad format, it’s the newest “smart” / automated shopping ad unit that’s gaining traction in the US.  Results for Smart Shopping are proving successful for small to mid-size retailers and offer more real estate but less control compared to standard search Shopping campaigns.  The additional free support in Google Maps is a great feature for local retailers and for user experience.


Finally, specifically for nonprofits, Google is increasing its annual commitment to Ad Grants by $200 million for a total of $1 billion worldwide.  At this time, we don’t know if this is to allocate Ad Grants to more organizations or change the contribution amounts to existing programs.


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