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All about Google AdWords Promotional Codes

[ Edited ]
Community Manager
# 1
Community Manager

All about Google AdWords Promotional Codes or Coupon Codes


Hi All,


In the last couple of weeks, we noticed that our Community users had many questions on promotional codes. So, here we are with a three-pronged approach for some dedicated help.


  1. Rising Star Ahmed Ali has put together some FAQs and best practices from a user-perspective. Thanks Ahmed.
  2. AdWords Support specialist Sarah has graciously agreed to help with complex promotional code issues. Thanks Sarah.
  3. Community team is happy to address any account-specific promotional code issues. 

So, please ask all your promotional code questions right here on this thread. 





Over to Ahmed for the FAQs and best practices...

1 Expert replyverified_user

Warning: AdWords interface instructions or screenshots in this thread may be out of date as we move to the new AdWords experience.


Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author Mini-CM
November 2015

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

[ Edited ]
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆
# 2
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆

Hi Friends,


To help you all with any promo code issues, I put together some FAQs and best practices. I hope you find them useful. After reading the FAQs if you still have any issues or questions, don't hesitate to ask.


What is an AdWords promotional code?


A promotional code is a code that offers you a free credit to use in your AdWords account. The main purpose of a promotional code is to encourage new advertisers to try out AdWords and see if it could benefit their businesses before deciding on a bigger budget. However, advertisers can use the free credit only after spending a minimum amount. This is to make sure AdWords users are serious users.


How do promotional codes work?


Every promotional code has requirements you first need to fulfill in order to be eligible to receive the credit. When you get a promotional code, you want to review the ‘Terms and Conditions’ to make sure your account is eligible for the offer.

For example: If the offer is "Spend $25, get $50." You'll have to enter the promotional code within 14 days of creating your account and then accrue at least $25 worth of clicks in your account after entering the code. After accruing this $25, you see the $50 credit appears in your account (usually within 5 days).


Where can I enter the promo code?


You can enter the code in your AdWords account on the promotional code management page, which you can find by clicking the gear icon and from the drop down, select Billing. Click the blue hyperlink that says “Manage promotional code” to get to the promotional code screen.

To enter the promotional code, you can click the red “+ Promotional Code” button. Make sure to type in the promotional code as-is with the dashes and with capitals. Here’s also a quick video with steps:



Where can I see the promotion code credit?


5 business days after your account meets the requirement specified in the offer, you'll be able to see it in your account in the following locations:

  • Transaction history: To get there, click the gear icon and choose Billing. Then look in the table.
  • Promotional code history page: To find it, click the gear icon and choose Billing. Click the “Manage Promotional Codes” link under “How to Pay” section. Then, click the History tab.
  • You will also see a notification in your account.


How do I get a promotional code?


You can’t request a promo code directly from Google. Google discourages asking for promotional codes directly. However Google and its partners give out promotional codes as a part of special offers. Sometimes these can come via email, postal mail or from Google partners directly. Most offers require you to meet certain criteria before the credit shows up in your account, and most promotional codes are typically for new advertisers with new accounts.


How do promotion codes work with my payment method?


Automatic Payment (Post pay):-  If you’re using automatic payment, this means that you’re automatically charged after your ads run. After your account spends the required payment amount in the offer, you will get the credit. For example, promotions like “Spend 25$ , Get 75$” you need first to spend at least $25 to see the $75 credit in your account. However, you may think that your ads will stop once your code is exhausted, but this is not the case with automatic billing. Your ads will keep on running until you stop them and you will be charged for any further clicks.


Manual Payment (PrePay):- If you’re using manual payment, this means that you add funds in your account before your ads can run. In order to redeem the coupon you first need to add  the required payment amount in your account. For example, promotions like “Spend 25$, Get 75$” you have to add at least $25 to your account. After spending that $25, you get the $75 credit. Once that $75 credit is exhausted, your ads would stop serving.


Do promo codes have an expiration date?


A promotional code typically has a date by which you have to enter it in your account and it can also have an expiration date. After that date, it expires and cannot be used. Check the Terms and Conditions on your promotional offer to see the expiration date.


Can I use one promotional code for more than one customer?


No, promotional codes can be entered just once and can't be shared with other accounts. They are typically limited to one per customer per account. Make sure to check the terms that came with your promotional code for details about your offer.


Why do I need to submit my billing information when I have a promotional code?


You first need to submit your billing information and choose your payment method in order to activate your AdWords account and to be able to redeem the promotional code. This is to ensure that new accounts are created purposefully. It also ensures that your account is set to go with valid payment information in case you decide to continue advertising after you've used your free credit. Make sure you read the terms and conditions, that clearly states Advertisers will be charged for all advertising that exceeds the promotional credit. Advertisers can suspend their ads anytime before the promotional credit amount is exhausted if they do not wish to receive additional advertising charges. Advertisers will not be notified once the promotional credit is exhausted.”


I don’t want to spend more money than what is offered in the promotional code. How can I do that?


The easiest way is to enter an end date under your campaign settings, so your campaign stops  once the promo code is used up. For example, if your promotional code is spend $25 and get $75 and you want your campaign to stop running after your coupon is exhausted, you can calculate the end date by simply dividing your the total value of the coupon (25+75=$100) by the campaign daily budget (let’s say $10) which will give you the number of days you should have your campaign run for (100/10=10 days). This can then be reflected in your End Date and you can assess how well AdWords is working for you after you have used the promotion.


My promo code doesn’t work, AdWords says it’s invalid. What should I do?


If your promotional code didn't work, you might have entered it incorrectly. It's worth trying again, paying attention to any capital or lowercase letters in the code. Additionally, you might want to check the terms and conditions to make sure it hasn’t expired.


Am I eligible for the promo offers in different countries?


Your billing address must match the country or region specified in the offer details. This means if the offer is restricted to advertisers in Canada and your billing address is in the US, you are not eligible for that offer.


Can I add promo codes to my old existing AdWords account?


Promotional codes are often intended to help new advertiser get started with AdWords. Most offers are for AdWords accounts which are less than 21 old days. Again, read the details included with your offer for its specific limits on age of the account.


Can I get another promotional code after my last code is exhausted?


If you recently earned a promotional credit, your account isn’t eligible to use another promotion yet. Some promotional codes can be entered after you've already earned a previous credit. However, there's usually a minimum time you need to wait between earning one credit and entering a new promotional code. See the offer details for more information on how long you need to wait.


I’ve cancelled my AdWords account, can I request a refund if I’ve money left over from a promotional code?


No, promotional credit is good for advertising only. If you cancel your account before spending the entire credit, the remaining balance cannot be refunded. However, you can refund the money left over in your account from the other payments you've made and your refund will get credited back to your bank account or the credit card associated with your account.


Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes or Coupon Codes

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭


This is a well written article.  Very easy to understand and follow.  Thank you for breaking down the information.  You've help me understand a the purpose of promotional codes and coupon codes.  I'm a little fuzzy in terms of the billing, credits, etc., part of the process and how it ties in with the content of my sites.  I'm a newbie. Presently, I'm not looking to make money; however, when I get the chance I do research to improve my skills and knowledge.  I still don't understand how a URL is written when setting up my profiles.  Some day I'll be an advertiser.  Right now, I've got to get back to developing my sites, organizing the content and understanding how the different components work together.  I look forward to your next article.  Thank you again.  

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I'm currently having a back and forth discussion with support. I had a $75 ($84 in CDN as I'm Canada) coupon promotional code. I accrued $59 in actual spend, received my coupon promotional code amount... BUT, strangely the $84 promotional code amount was minused from the accrued amount and I was left with a credit of $24. I found this odd given the details of the coupon said that the promotional code would not go against accrued spend. But that's exactly what it did.

Then at the end of the month Google charged my credit card $59. The explanation I have been given is because the promotional code amount was never to go against my previous accrued amount so Google had to charge my credit card to get what was owed to them.

That's where I get lost. If I was given the full value of the promotional code than I can understand why Google would charge my credit card $59, but I was never truly given $84... Google took $84 - $59 and left me $24. Then Google proceeded to charge my credit card $59. If you follow the events that happened to me I'm actually left with a NET PROFIT of $24 in free ad spend... However, I thought it was supposed to be $84 ($75 US) in free ad spend.

I'm still going back and forth with support on this issue, no one seems to understand what I'm saying or pointing out here.

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I entered the coupon you sent me in the mail and it never was recorded and now Google has charged this small online company an extra 100.00 because they would not honor their offer. I called support and they said I never entered the coupon code which is not they would not refund the 100.00 and on top of that essentially called me a liar. I didn't realize I would have to screen shot everything because their system conveniently did not register the coupon. I get these coupons all the time in the mail and in my email but what the hell good are they if you will not honor them. So I am cancelling the adwords account, and I am really disappointed in their policy and it would seem that a mega company like Google could afford to refund 100 dollars to a small company that is trying to get off the ground. Very unsatisfied with the results of the campaign too, it did not get one conversion even after I call and consulted with a supposed expert in adwords. Not a very good advertisement for adwords service.

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I have had promotional $100 coupons not accepted on two separate occasions. The latest one seems to be unjust and unfair, contrary to me abiding by the terms and conditions. The promotional code was provided to me by my web-host and is valid until Dec. of this year. When I restarted a new campaign I tried using the coupon within the 14 day expiry period. By default I kept getting the following error: 'Your billing address doesn't match the country or region specified in the offer details'.
Terms and Conditions of the Coupon were stated in the following link:
There was no mention of region specifications anywhere on the terms, so I successfully disputed this. After many lengthy chat support requests, the rejection of the coupon was changed to not validating it within 14 days. However, this contradicts the terms of the coupon which clearly states: You are eligible for promotional credit if you (a) are new to AdWords and have an AdWords account which is less than 14 days old at the time you enter your promotional code; or (b) are an existing Google AdWords customer and you enable a new feature or product in AdWords or reactivate an inactive account, as specified by Google in the voucher.
I had at the time enabled a new product and a new campaign costing me $600 a month. However, it is disappointing to find out that Google does not honour its promotions, despite the high costs I incur and frankly not receiving my investment value back.
I have since paused all my campaigns as I cannot tolerate broken promises and bait advertising.

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I'm glad you spoke up.

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I'm getting a "Promotional codes don't work with manager accounts. Please enter the code in one of your managed AdWords accounts." when I enter the code, where do I put the code if you're using a manager account and for one client? thx.

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Derek. I noticed the same thing with my account. My promo was spend $25 and get $100 in credit. When I logged in the $25 was taken out of my my promo code and it showed $75 left in ad credit. I understand what you are saying. Especially because my terms say that the promo will not go into affect until the $25 is spent. But then it is taken out of $100. It's seems odd. So based on what you wrote I fully expect to be charged $25 dollars at some point in the future. I hope someone at support. Maybe we are missing something?

Re: Demystifying the Google AdWords Promotional Codes - Resolve your i

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Cheri, I came across the same issue. However, I was never charged the $25 since it was technically taken out of the promo code.

If i spent $25 and then was given $100 in credit. I would have $125: $100 promo credit and $25 out of pocket expenses.

On the other hand, what Google does is : spend $25 then you are given $100 credit. They then take the $25 spend out of that $100. So in the end you still get $100, you just don't spend anything out of pocket.

Does that make sense?