The Best Credit Card Rewards For Google Ads and Search Advertising
Published 7/16/08 (Modified 3/25/13)
Editor's Note: These limited-time offers on this page have expired.
Updated List Of The Best Credit Card Cash Back Rewards For Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and MSN AdCenter
As a personal finance blogger and a dot com mogul-super affiliate tycoon wannabe (I'm joking), I regularly spend sums of money on domain name registrations, web hosting services, and home office computer supplies. However, the bulk of my tax deductible business expenses consist of expenditures for online advertising through top search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN. While compared to the big boys (and girls) my advertising budget is comparatively puny, I still seek to maximize my money however I can, whether that means utilizing free promotional coupons for extra savings and free online advertising, or taking advantage of credit card offers to earn cash back rebates on Google AdWords purchases.
Online Advertising Through Pay Per Click Works, But It Can Get Expensive Depending On Subject Niche
Those who are familiar with online advertising know that there are a variety of ways and methods to get your website brand or blog name into the search engines and thus into the public eye for maximum traffic. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that all of the methods are created equal. Currently the most popular search engine with the most capability to leverage the most search traffic by far is run by Google. But while the Google AdWords program's certainly the most dominant player in the online marketing world, there are also other lesser options worth mentioning - most notably Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft's MSN AdCenter. Neither Yahoo Search nor MSN AdCenter are likely to topple the 800 pound gorilla of Google AdWords anytime soon, but the smaller search sites still own a small, albeit dwindling piece of the search engine pie.
For those who spend money on internet advertising through Google, Yahoo, or MSN, probably the bulk is spent on paid text link advertising or pay per click (PPC) promotional campaigns. Both paid text links and PPC advertising are used by many bloggers and website promoters to generate traffic needed to convert organic search traffic into profitable affiliate sales. Personally, I highly advise against engaging in buying or selling paid text links, and refuse to engage in paid text link buying or selling myself. The frowned upon practice is a form of marketing suicide in my opinion, and is the number one way to incur the wrath of Google, which sees the buying and selling of paid backlinks as a form of guerrilla attack on the integrity of the Google search engine algorithm.
In contrast, pay per click advertising and the purchasing of approved advertisement links through Google, Yahoo, or MSN's network of publisher banners and ads are proven and permitted ways to drive website traffic. However, as anyone who engages in pay per click advertising or other affiliate marketing means through Google AdSense or Yahoo Ads knows, the cost to promote a successful PPC ad campaign isn't cheap. While newbies to internet advertising are unlikely to spend much money initially (a few hundred dollars a month at most), larger scale promoters frequently spend upwards of hundreds to thousands, or even hundred thousands, of dollars on monthly pay per click advertising alone.
Use Credit Card Rewards To Save Money On Online Business and Advertising Expenses (Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, MSN AdCenter)
Smart business types should always try to find ways to minimize business expenses and utilize as many discounts and promotional offers as possible to net the greatest overall profit. One of the best ways for bloggers and affiliate marketers to save money in this area is to maximize and strategize their use of credit cards with rewards. Presuming you are savvy and responsible with your usage of credit, and maintain a respectable FICO credit score to boot, reward credit cards are essential ways for online entrepreneurs and advertisers to maximize their small business spending. Surprised that there are credit card reward programs dedicated and suited for web based businesses and online marketers? Don't be! While Yahoo and Google credit card advertising rewards are not as well known as say, credit card discount programs for groceries and gas, the area is a steadily growing (albeit not fully tapped) segment of the credit card rewards market. Currently, most of the best cash back credit card rewards for bloggers, webmasters, and internet marketers are not widely advertised, and to get the details requires some digging, which I've done below.
For the tax minded business folks who wonder if there is an income tax on credit card rewards or aren't sure whether one is obligated to report all cash back rewards and point rebates earned through the use of credit cards, rest assured - there is no such tax. Credit card rewards earned by consumers and businesses are viewed as purchase incentives by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the nature of discounts and coupons, not subject to personal income tax liability. So don't miss out on the cash back savings and discount potential of specialized credit card incentive programs designed to help you finance and pay for your online advertising and promotional efforts.
1) Google AdWords and AdSense Pay Per Click Advertising - Get Up To 5% Cash Back With Reward Credit Cards
Until the day Google announces the release of its long awaited Google credit card and starts up its own Google credit card rewards program, the following card offers are your best bet when it comes to earning cash back for money spent on Google advertising. Personally, I can't wait for Google to come out with its own Google credit card and would be the first to camp out in line for something like that - I'm quite the Google fan. Just the thought of earning Google rebate rewards on a percentage of all AdWords expenditures and the ability to redeem points for either cash or Google branded products like T shirts, mouse pads, and even portable Google fridges would be quite lovely. I used to carry around a Yahoo credit card back when Yahoo offered its own card program. When they eventually discontinued the Yahoo credit card rewards program, I was sad to see it go. It was pretty neat being able to redeem points for cool Yahoo T-shirts and other merchandise - techie stuff you couldn't get anywhere else.
In the meantime, for those of you who spend a lot of money or even just a little bit on Google AdWords and Google AdSense advertising, here are the best credit cards cards to help you save money and get cash back rewards on your PPC advertising efforts. The rewards you earn can be used for whatever you wish, including plowing them back into more PPC marketing. While Google does not currently have any special deals with any particular credit card issuer to offer Google discounts, there are a few specially suited cards for such purposes.
- Advanta Platinum Business Card For Online Marketers - Also known as the Advanta Platinum Business Card With Customized Cash Back Options, this card offers cardholders the ability to earn as high as 5% cash back on all online marketing expenditures. It's probably the best overall reward credit card for new bloggers and affiliate marketers who are just getting into the PPC advertising scene. The expenditures that are covered include Google AdWords, Yahoo, MSN Search, and eBay fees. The Advanta rewards program also covers office expenses as well. The high 5% rebate rate is only provided for the first $1,500 of qualified expenditures, and after that it's a tiered 1% cash back on everything spent.
- Advanta Kiva Business Card - With the Kiva business credit card offer, online marketers get to earn up to 5% cash back on money spent on online advertising services like Google AdWords or Yahoo Search. There are no restrictions as to which affiliate or ad network must be used. The card also earns up to 5% cash back for business office related expenses like gas, computers, utilities, and even charitable contributions. There is also a nice 0% balance transfer offer for 15 months.
- American Express Plum Card - With the highly advertised Plum Card from American Express OPEN (the Plum card yogurt commercial is everywhere on TV these days), you get an astounding 2% cash back rewards on everything purchased with the card if you pay within 10 days of your billing cycle. The catch is you'll need to spend above $5,000 a month with your Plum credit card. Anything less and you'll only earn 1% cash back. Of course, the card was designed for big time spenders and small businesses with high expenses. If you spend a lot of money on Google AdWords or other forms of advertising, you may want to think about the Amex Plum card. There is a hefty $185 annual fee that's waived for the first year, but it's easily worth it if your business spends a lot of money on online advertising or other business expenses.
- Fidelity Rewards Signature Card - While the card requires a Fidelity Investment broker account to maximize rewards earning potential, if you've got one or are willing to sign up for one, you can earn 1.5% cash back on all your online advertising efforts. Actually, coupled with a Fidelity account, the card allows you to earn an effective 1.5% cash back on all products and services you purchase with the card, with no category or store limitation. Most comparable card programs only offer 1% back for general purchases so if you are a major spender, this is an ideal and recommended card to get. The Fidelity Signature is one of the reward cards I use on a regular basis.
- Chase Business Cash Rewards Card - With the Chase Business Cash Rewards offer, online entrepreneurs and small business owners can earn up to a tiered 5% cash back on all purchases with no merchant or category restrictions. Your rewards earning potential is unlimited and there is no restriction as to how much you can earn. Your cash back percentage rate rises and falls depending on how much you spend per month. For online marketers who expect to spend more than $2,000 a month on Google Adwords (that's when the high 5% kicks in), this is a nice card to have.
2) Yahoo Search Marketing - Get 5% or More Cash Back Savings Using American Express Business Credit Cards
Currently, savvy online entrepreneurs have the ability to take advantage of American Express' OPEN Network Business credit cards to net themselves more than 5% cash back rewards when they spend money on Yahoo Search Marketing services. Through a special partnership between Amex and Yahoo announced not too long ago, American Express business credit card users will now get to enjoy a 5% discount on all their Yahoo based advertising and web promotional expenditures simply by using their Amex business cards. This not only includes pay per click advertising using Yahoo's Search Marketing, but also includes Yahoo publisher services ranging from web site hosting, e-commerce, to domain name registration.
While Yahoo is not the most popular or even a serious contender in second place, its PPC advertising fees are substantially lower than that charged by more popular services like Google AdWords where greater bidding competition among advertisers drives up promotion costs - making Yahoo a cheaper, but still viable alternative. Besides, it's good to diversify one's advertisement methods. One can even take credit card rewards one step further. Currently, there are certain select Amex business cards that offer even more lucrative rebate rewards on top of the existing 5% discount for Yahoo services. All of the following American Express OPEN business credit card offers below offer additional cumulative rewards on top of the 5% discount on Yahoo Search Marketing:
- Blue Cash For Business Amex Card - With this high earning business credit card offer, you have the potential to earn up to a tiered 5% cash back rebate on eligible special category purchases. For everything else, including PPC advertising expenses, you get a tiered 2.5% cash back rewards rate. The special purchase categories include gas stations, drug stores, and supermarkets. In addition, Amex business cardholders also get to enjoy the usual Amex OPEN network savings on free hotel stays, car rentals, and airline travel.
- American Express Business Gold Rewards - This popular premium small business card with no preset spending limit can help you earn points on your business expenses. There is an unlimited rewards earning potential on purchases and your Membership Rewards never expire.
- American Express Platinum Business Card - This business card from Amex is a popular choice to earn purchase rebates redeemable for retail, entertainment, and dining rewards. There is no annual fee and there is no limit to the number of points you can earn.
- American Express Simply Cash For Business - You can use the card to earn 5% cash back on wireless services and home office supplies (like laptops and office gadgets). You also get 3% cash back on gas and 1% for everything else. There is no annual fee and no rewards limit.
3) MSN AdCenter - Get 3% Cash Back Rewards By Using MasterCard Business Credit Cards
Currently, Microsoft's MSN AdCenter has a partnership with MasterCard's network of business credit cards to offer MSN AdCenter advertisers 3% cash back rewards on money spent. While American Express is the card of choice for most business owners, the MasterCard partnership with MSN AdCenter makes MasterCard sort of a must have for heavy or even mild users of MSN's advertising network.
To be eligible for the 3% cash back savings, MasterCard business credit card holders need to register and enroll their cards into the MasterCard Easy Savings Network. While fairly straightforward, you can review the MasterCard Easy Savings FAQ if you need more info about the program. Keep in mind, along with the 3% rewards you can earn on all MSN AdCenter expenditures, you still get to earn the usual credit card rewards (if offered) on top of that. This has the potential to effectively boost your total reward earning percentage way past 3%. Here's a list of the best MasterCard business credit cards for MSN Ad Center affiliate marketers and pay per click advertisers:
- Advanta Platinum Business Customized Rewards MasterCard - This business credit card option by MasterCard is your best bet when it comes to maximizing your MSN AdCenter savings and online advertising spending in general. Along with the ability to earn 3% reward savings on all MSN AdCenter expenditures, you also get to earn an extra 5% cash back rate (with purchase limits) on top of the 3% for money spent on fees with online advertisers and merchant sites like Google AdWords, Yahoo, and even eBay. You also get cash back rewards for money spent on utilities and telecommunications, not to mention additional business savings for computer electronics and related office supplies as well.
- Chase Business Rebate MasterCard - Earn up to 3% cash back on office supplies, restaurant dining, gas, hardware, and home improvement expenditures. Currently there is also a long 15 month 0% APR balance transfer promotional period as well.