If you haven’t noticed, Google AdWords coupons (usually for $100) are the new AOL CD. They’re everywhere and you probably have 5 of them already. Alas, it appears that Google is going a little more Grinch. I just received an email from Google making me aware of “some important changes to AdWords coupons and how they’ll work in the future.”
All Current Coupons Expire September 30th
Yes, you heard that right. All coupons for $100 of free AdWords advertising on new accounts (no more than 14 days old) are about to become useless. The alternative – in Google’s own words –
Beginning today (September 25th, 2012), you’ll be able to offer your clients advertising credit after they spend their first $25 on AdWords. We believe businesses that invest a small amount in their AdWords campaigns are more likely to be successful, especially with your expert guidance.
Okay. I can live with that. My clients are committing much more than $25 to their paid search efforts and the $100 has always been a nice little bonus anyway. However, they’re also getting a little stingier with the terms:
To qualify for the introductory offer your client must spend $25 in AdWords advertising within 31 days of entering the promotional code.
Again, not a deal killer, but it does make it a little harder on the little guys out there. So why did Google make the move?
Make More Money
As I often point out, Google is a publicly held company with a fiduciary responsibility to increase shareholder value (all that buzz and you half expect to get stung). Basically it means that Google needs to make money. And they can’t just make some money, they’ve got to make more money than “analysts” expect. This means they have to constantly come up with new ways to earn revenue. This policy will do it. Here’s how:
I’ve known several people to set up a new Google account, get a new AdWords account, apply the promotional code and spend only the $100 of free clicks to test an idea. All of these people will now have to put in $25 of their own money to play that game. Still a good deal mind you (4-1 matching on your first “donation”) but if there are thousands of these accounts being created it can provide a nice little boost to the revenue numbers.