7 min read

This month for Google Marketing Platform Sydney and Singapore we talked about Content in the Covid-19 Era. As always, we also covered the latest Google news with a focus on Google Coronavirus related updates. Read on to find out what’s changed at Google or watch the video below.

Google Coronavirus Related Updates

Google pushed back the launch of New Partners Program to 2021

Google Partners updated rules:Partner GooglePartner

  • Evaluation of accounts – following Google’s optimization score recommendations
  • Having minimum of $20,000 ad spend in last 90 days
  • At least 50% of users must have updated Google Ads certifications in Search, Display, Video, and Shopping

“As we continue to adapt to COVID-19 across the globe, we understand that this state of uncertainty can be difficult for you, your families, your business, and your customers. To help you focus on what matters most, we’ve decided to postpone the June 2020 launch of the new Google Partners program and new badge requirements until 2021.”

 How will current Google Partners be affected?

  • Partners will retain their current status and specialization badges
  • Current agencies can still earn their Partner status as before
  • Not applicable with the new requirements
  • The old requirements and spend thresholds will still be in place until the change in 2021
  • Agencies that have ended specialization last January 1, 2020, will be re-granted their former status until 2021

Why is COVID-19 affecting the launch?

  • Companies/clients cutting budgets; spend will be hard for agencies
  • Account recommendations agencies can’t accommodate due to restrictions, budget restraints, or other unforeseen issues
  • With team members at home, changes in staffing, and other team-related challenges
  • The 50% threshold for users to have certification may have also created daunting challenges

Additional help to SMBs

  • Google announced they will be providing $340 million in ad credits, in addition to $15 million in cash grants to nonprofits
  • They have also earmarked $20 million in ad grants to community financial institutions specifically to fund public service announcements on relief funds and aid for SMBs

Google Search News

Search behaviour has changed

Google has published data on recent search trends, revealing the top 5 ways search behaviour is changing during the pandemic:

  • Assembling critical information
    • Google notes that search interest is spiking for the following topics:
      •  Retail
      • “Can you freeze” different types of food
      • Home delivery
      • Short term work employee
      • Mortgage rate suspension
  • Discovering new connections
    • In light of social distancing, Google users are finding new connections and nurturing existing relationships more
  • Adjusting to changes in their routines
    • There have been spikes in search interest for topics such as “do it yourself,” “stationary bicycles,” and “dumbbell sets”
  • Praising everyday heroes
    • Google has noted a spike in search interest for “thank essential workers”
  • Taking care of themselves and others
    • Search interest is spiking for activities that can help ease boredom, anxiety, and uncertainty

Virtual healthcare option in Search, GMB and Maps

  • Google is now displaying virtual care options for Google My Business profiles
  • There is now a virtual care platform in search results
  • As a result of many healthcare providers offering virtual visits

Google adds features to connect with virtual healthcare providers

Google Search includes COVID-19 special announcement schema

  • Google now supports the new structured data markup for a special announcement in search results related to COVID-19
  • Aside from the regular snippet description, Google adds the COVID-19 special announcement
  • Rich results contains a short summary that can be expanded to view more

COVID-19 Announcement Google Schema - Google Coronavirus Related Updates

Only certain sites are eligible for COVID-19 rich results

  • Only health and government agency sites are eligible for rich results
  • The rich results are only for important updates:
    • School closures
    • Stay-at-home directives
    • Event cancellations
    • Changes to business hours

Google Coronavirus Related Updates


Two options to implement Coronavirus special announcements

  • Structured data on the web page
    • Add structured data to individual web pages
  • Submitting announcements in Google Search Console
    • A new tool in Search Console (beta testing): site owners can fill out a form and submit a special announcement

COVID-19 announcement

Google Ads News

Ad spend performance during COVID-19

Media spend decreased and benefited from budget reallocation due to COVID-19.

Ad spend performance during covid-19

Source: eMarketer

Other Google Coronavirus Related Updates

Google Reviews is out of quarantine

Just 2 weeks ago, Google announced the removal of Q/A and replying to reviews.

“Review replies are now available. New user reviews, new user photos, new short names, and Q&A will gradually return by country and business category.”

Google reviews out of quarantine

New type of post listing design for announcements related to Coronavirus

  • Temporary closures
  • New operating hours
  • Changes to regular services, such as moving to takeout/delivery only
  • Safety precautions being taken by the business
  • In-stock, low stock, or out of stock announcements for high demand products

Further details around COVID-19 posts

  • Posts will be published for 14 days
    • But if the information remains relevant after 14 days, the same post will have to be published again
    • This may change depending on the ongoing status of the pandemic
  • Available to all Google My Business listings
    • COVID-19 posts are available to all listings (healthcare organisation or a local restaurant, etc.)
  • Text only
    • COVID-19 posts are text only
  • Desktop only
    • COVID-19 posts can only be published from the desktop version of Google My Business
Paul Hewett

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