In an effort to make its Google AdWords product more appealing to small and midsized businesses, Google announced yesterday the launch of AdWords Business Credit, a credit card that lets business owners purchase AdWords campaigns, Google's pay-per-click and site-targeted advertising offerings.
More than 1,400 businesses from various industries tested the credit card in a pilot program last July. In a blog post, Brent Callinicos, vice president and treasurer at Google, wrote that the feedback was "overwhelmingly positive," and 74 percent of the respondents now use AdWords Business Credit as their "primary form of AdWords payment."
For now, AdWords Business Credit is only available to businesses in the United Kingdom. It will be extended to U.S. businesses later this month, according to Google. To issue the cards—which are MasterCard-based cards—Google teamed up with Barclaycard in the U.K. and Comenity Capital Bank in the United States. The AdWords Business Credit card in the U.K. will have a variable 11.9 percent interest rate, and the U.S. version will be at 8.99 percent. Neither card will include annual fees.
Google AdWords is Google's main source of revenue. In its Q2 earnings report, Google reported its advertising revenue was $10.96 billion, a 21 percent increase from last year's second-quarter revenue report.
The search giant is not alone in targeting the advertising budgets of small and midsized organizations. Twitter, which is expected to earn approximately $288 million in ad revenue in 2012, according to eMarketer, this year launched a self-serve advertising platform for small businesses. Facebook is also going after the small business owner. The social network, which reported $992 million in advertising revenue for Q2 of this year, has introduced a guide for its ad creator tool, making it easier for businesses that can't afford to hire a consultant to make better use of Facebook's ads.
Research and consultancy firm BIA/Kelsey estimates that by 2015, 70 percent of small business marketing budgets will be spent on digital media.