Google is letting businesses add links to their GMB listing that customers can click on to purchase gift cards or make donations.
Businesses can link directly to a gift card purchase page on their website.
If a business does not have a dedicated page of gift card offerings, they can sign up with one of Google’s partners which includes Square, Toast, Clover, and Vagaro.
In order to allow businesses to accept donations via their GMB listing, Google has partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe.
Support links will be visible to consumers later in search results later this month.
Google is not charging any additional fees for this service, though there may be fees charged by Google’s third-party partners.
This feature is first rolling out to a “subset of businesses” in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
Google aims to prevent misuse of this feature with a slow rollout. It will be expanded, in a “responsible” way, to more countries, merchants, and partners over the coming weeks.
How to Set Up a Gift Card or Donation Campaign
Businesses must create their own gift card or donation page before utilizing this feature.
Gift card links can go to a supported provider or a page on their own website. Donation links can only go to a supported provider.
Eligible businesses can create both gift card and donation pages and link to both of them at the same time.
To set up a gift card or donation campaign:
- On your computer, sign in to Google My Business.
- If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage.
- From the menu, click Posts and choose “COVID-19 support.”
- Alternatively, click “Get support from customers” directly on the Google My Business home page.
- Enter a message to customers and at least one link.
- To save your changes, click Post.
Google’s Tips for a Successful Campaign
When setting up gift card and/or donation links, businesses can add a personal message to inform customers what their financial support will be going towards.
Google offers the following suggestions when crafting a personal message:
- Be personal and positive: Connect with customers and wish them well.
- For example: Hello, friends. We can’t wait to serve you again when we reopen.
- Be focused and specific: Clearly communicate what kind of support you want clearly: a gift card purchase, a donation, or both.
- Example: Please buy a gift card to put toward future dog walks.
- Example: We’d appreciate a donation to help us continue to pay our staff.
- Be brief: The ideal length of a message is between 250–300 characters. The maximum character count is 500.
Who is Eligible to Display Gift Card & Donation Links?
As mentioned, Google is putting measures in place to prevent this new feature from being misused.
Some of those measures involve imposing strict eligibility criteria.
Business eligibility criteria currently includes:
- Businesses must be verified before March 1, 2020.
- Businesses must have a physical storefront.
- Owners and site managers of the Business Profile can use the posts feature to add gift card and donation links.
- Businesses must be located in select countries.
New listings are not eligible
Businesses cannot claim a GMB profile today, for example, and begin accepting donations.
This feature is only available for businesses that verified their GMB listing before the month of March.
While that may shut some businesses out who truly need the support right now, it also prevents bad actors from abusing these new features.
It appears that’s a trade-off Google is willing to make right now, though it’s always possible that policies could change in the future.
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand. When he’s not ferociously following and covering the search industry, he’s busy writing SEO-friendly copy that converts.