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Google Ads vs AdSense What's the Difference? You Should Know

AdWords and AdSense are two separate advertising platforms offered by Google that have very different use cases. Often used in the same context, it’s

AdWords and AdSense are two separate advertising platforms offered by Google that have very different use cases. Often used in the same context, it’s easy to mistake one for the other. 

Let’s take a look at the three major differences between them and how you can start using both today.

 What Is Google Ads?

Google Ads (formerly called Google AdWords) is a service where advertisers make bids to place ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) or the Google Display Network (GDN) to drive traffic back to their websites.

According to W3Techs, 98.4% of websites belonging to a known advertising network use Google Ads, accounting for 46.1% of all websites.

See Also; Best Hosting for WordPress Websites 2022

Ads in the SERPs are text-based and often appear above the primary Google search results for a keyword phrase. For instance, we searched for the phrase “web design,” and the following Google Ads appeared on the search results:

By contrast, GDN ad placements appear on websites, apps, and anywhere else Google displays ads appear.

Plus, display ad campaigns have a reach of 35 million websites, apps, and Google properties like YouTube.

These ads can help you find new customers or engage with existing customers by exploring new audience segments. The system is designed to encourage more clicks and conversions using an automated targeting process.

Automated targeting finds audience segments that perform well and delivers your ads to them when the system feels they are at the right stage of the sales funnel. You can set a variety of goals as well, which include:

  • Boosting sales
  • Increasing leads
  • Bolstering website traffic
  • Building brand awareness
  • The system relies on machine learning to deliver better campaign results.

Additionally, automated bidding adjusts the bid for your ads to display in the GDN to stay within your predetermined budget and maximize your conversion rate.

What Is Google AdSense?

Website owners can place ads on their websites, apps, and other spaces with an AdSense account. You can designate specific areas or web pages on your website as ad space.

Publishers receive a commission in exchange for the advertising space and displaying AdSense ads. That ties directly into what we previously discussed about Google Ads: Website owners and publishers are also part of the Google Display Network. So it’s these spots on a publisher’s website that advertisers bid on within Google Ads.


The Google AdSense program is one of the top ways bloggers monetize their websites and is often deployed right alongside affiliate marketing campaigns to diversify revenue streams.

There is a multitude of ad campaign display options available to publishers. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options as well as the numerous types of ads available for publishers’ websites:

  • Display ads
  • Video ads
  • Game ads
  • Matched content native ads
  • In-feed native ads
  • In-article native ads
The customization goes further still. Once you’ve selected an ad type, you can also choose ad sizes. Google suggests a few fixed ad sizes to use in most cases as they’re pre-configured to look the best.

Can I use Google Adsense and Google Adwords together?

Can I use AdWords to promote my website so that more people will visit and click on my Adsense ads and make money? NO. This used to be the case in the past but not anymore.

What some marketers did in the past was to run AdWords ads to get traffic to a website and then aggressively place AdSense ads on the page so that they get more clicks and make a profit from the difference they paid for the AdWords ads and what they received from Adsense.

This no longer works and should be avoided because:

Adwords has now more strict policies on what you can advertise on their platform. The system is mainly for businesses that sell real products and services online and not for affiliate or MFA (Made For Adsense) type of websites.

Adwords does not allow the landing page to have Adsense. This means that while it’s ok to run Adsense on your website and also use Adwords, the landing page (this is the first page visitors will see when they click an ad and enter your website), should not have AdSense.

This is a very important rule that should not be violated in any way because you risk losing both your Adwords and AdSense accounts and then you will be looking for AdSense alternatives.

Adsense ads placement policies do not allow for aggressive placement of ads. It is recommended not to show more than 1 ad above the fold (that’s my recommendation and not the official Adsense rules. You can read them here), and this will reduce the number of clicks your ads may receive thus reducing your earnings.

Do I have to use the same account for Adwords and Adsense?

That’s another difference between the two. Your AdWords and AdSense accounts may use the same Google login but they are totally different and independent.

For example, you may end up losing your Adwords account but still have access to AdSense and the opposite.


Both Adsense and AdWords are great tools you can use to make money and also promote your products and services online.

Adsense is the best option to monetize your content-rich website and AdWords is one of the most efficient ways to advertise your businesses to a well-defined targeted audience.

About the Author

Graphic Designer, Web Developer, Ethical Hacker, Programmer, and Content Creator is what I am and overall a Biochemist with the aim of bypassing all restrictions that separate me from my objectives

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