Difference between Google AdSense and Google Ads

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Google AdSense is one of the most well-known advertising services and for a good reason. They offer you a large selection of ad sizes, delivery methods, reporting tools, and most importantly prompt payouts.

What Is Google Ads?

Google Ads

Google Ads — formerly known as Google AdWords — allows advertisers to make bids for ad placements to drive traffic to their websites. These placements can be in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) or the Google Display Network (the network of sites, apps, and more that show Google display ads).


The search ads that appear in the SERPs are a great option if you know there’s a demand for your product and your audience is using search engines to satisfy it.


The Google Display Network ads — also known as banner or display ads — are more visual, perfect for grabbing attention as you “rent” space where your audience hangs out online.
Google actually has another advertising program that they released three years after Google Ads’ inception. It’s called Google AdSense.

What Is Google AdSense?

Google Adsense

It is the easiest way for bloggers or publishers to start earning money with their websites after adding codes to their website. The AdSense robot scans the blogger’s website for content to see the category of ads to be added to the site, to display targeted text, videos, or image advertisements. It is basically when someone views or clicks on the ads published by Google on the blogger’s website then they start earning money based on formats/campaign types: pay per click or pay per view(per thousand impressions)

The post content size which has been given is very important to get relevant and high-quality AdSense ads. We must understand that our readers will click on ads that are related to the article and the information they are looking for.

Publishers make the ad space available

Once a publisher makes the decision to monetize their website using AdSense, they must paste code on the site and choose where they want the ads to appear.

Advertisers bid for the ad space

The advertisers who create the ads bid in a real-time auction to be able to show in a publisher’s ad space. The highest bidder’s ads will show on the site.

Publishers get paid

Google processes the billing of all advertisers and pays publishers directly.

What’s the main difference between Google Ads and AdSense?

The main difference is that Google Ads is used by advertisers and AdSense is used by publishers.

Google Ads lets people advertise on Google.com, the Google Search Network, and the Google Display Network (content sites that are not search engines). Businesses use Google Ads to drive targeted traffic to their website, in the hopes that some of this traffic converts to sales. Advertisers pay Google a certain amount per ad click.

AdSense lets publishers monetize their websites or blogs by earning money from relevant Google Ads ads displayed next to their content. The publishers receive a small payment each time one of these ads is clicked on. If your site has enough readers, this can be a simple way to generate a revenue stream from your content.

What are some other differences between Google Ads and AdSense?


Google Ads has been around longer. Google launched AdWords (now Google Ads) in 2000, while AdSense began in 2003.

Ease of setting up an account

It is very easy to set up a Google Ads account. You just need to create a Google account, sign in to Google Ads with your Google account email and password, and then set your time zone and currency preferences.

With AdSense, registering requires more steps. You must submit an application that includes your:

  • Website URL
  • Website language
  • Account type (individual or business)
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number

You also must agree to various AdSense policies. They include:

  • Not placing ads on sites that include incentives to click on ads
  • Not placing ads on sites with pornographic content
  • Not clicking on the Google ads you’re serving through AdSense
  • Certifying you’ve read the AdSense Program Policies
  • Acknowledging you don’t already have an approved AdSense account
  • Acknowledging you’re at least 18
  • Certifying the name you use matches the name on your bank account

Once you submit this information you can either decide to use an existing Google account for AdSense or create a new Google account. Once you sign into your account you’re told your application is being reviewed, and you’ll receive an email in one to two days.

Google Ads vs Adsense – Key Differences

Google Ads and AdSense differ in a lot of aspects. The only similarity is that these are both Google products meant for advertising. Other than that, they are completely different.

Here are the key differences between both the platforms that you should be aware of if you’re considering using either of them.

1. Use Case

The key difference between Google Ads and AdSense is that businesses use Google Ads while publishers and website owners use AdSense. That is the most significant difference between both of these advertising platforms; each platform is designed for a different user and use case.

Businesses use Google Ads to advertise their brands and products. They can create and display these ads across Google’s affiliated sites and on Google.com.

The purpose of Google Ads is lead generation, and businesses spend money on these to drive traffic to their website and get conversions.

Publishers or website owners use AdSense to allow advertisers to display ads on their websites.

2. Payment

With Google Ads, businesses and advertisers need to pay money to get their ads displayed. Whereas in the case of AdSense, publishers get paid to allow advertisers to place ads on their website.

So, you get money through AdSense platform, and you spend money on Google Ads.

Advertisers can select a budget for their Google Ads campaigns and pay a certain amount for their campaigns; with Adsense, publishers get paid for each click on advertisers’ ads on their website.

So, with Google Ads, you can control the amount of money that you want to spend. However, publishers get paid for each click, and all they can do to earn more is to get more site traffic.

Also, advertisers can select whether they want to opt for a “cost per click” or “cost per impression” payment system on Google Ads. Publishers have no choice on what payment system is followed and will get paid based on whatever model the advertisers are supporting.

3. Places Where Ads are Displayed

Google Ads are displayed on Google and Google affiliated sites like AOL and Ask.com that are a part of the Google search network. These ads can also be displayed on Google’s display network, which includes content sites excluding search engines.

The most popular form of Google Ads are the ones that are shown at the top of Google’s search results. These appear as any of the other search results, but actually, are sponsored ads and are usually displayed right at the top.

With AdSense, ads are displayed only on the website of the publisher who is using AdSense for their website.

4. Limits on Number of Ads

AdSense earlier used to limit the number of ads that could be displayed on a page, but that policy has now been lifted. According to the latest AdSense policy update, the only caveat is that the ads should not exceed the valuable content on a page.

So, excessive advertising on any web page is discouraged, but other than that, there is no limit on the number of ads that can be placed on a page.

However, with Google Ads, advertisers can have only one of their ads displayed on a page at a time. It is possible that users will see different ads from a single advertiser, but Google Ads will never display two ads from an advertiser on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

In fact, Google Ads follows an ad rotation policy where they serve different ads based on how likely each is to get clicks and search query. But, in any case, only one ad is displayed at a time.

5. Ad Optimization

Another crucial difference between Google Ads and AdSense and is especially crucial for advertisers.

Google Ads is a handy advertising platform that provides ad optimization options to help advertisers achieve the best results from their ad campaigns. Google Ads leverages Google’s machine learning technology to optimize ads and serve ads that are more likely to perform better.

It looks at a lot of factors like search term, device, location, keyword, and more to determine which ads to be displayed for each search query and user.

So, different people might see different ads from the same advertiser. This is akin to split testing that advertisers perform to check which of their ads perform well and which don’t. And, it is a very useful feature as it helps them improve their advertising strategy.

However, the same is not true for AdSense as there are no such ad optimization options for AdSense.

6. Set-Up Process

The process to set up Google Ads account differs from that for AdSense as these are two different advertising platforms offered by Google. The process to set up an Google Ads account is much simpler and can be done in a few minutes. All you need is a Google account using which you can sign in to Google Ads and select your currency and time zone. And voila! You can start advertising by creating your campaign.

Setting up an AdSense account requires a few more steps than that. You need to fill the following mandatory information before you can register for AdSense.

  • Your website URL
  • Account type
  • Language
  • Your name and address
  • Phone number

Apart from that, you also need to go through the AdSense policies to understand the basic dos and don’ts of using AdSense.

Once you agree to the policies and sign up for AdSense, you can then select the type of ads that you want to display on your website. These could be text ads, video ads, image ads, etc. You can also select the ad placement on your web pages and choose where on a page do you want to allow advertisers to display their ads.

The best part about using AdSense is that once you have set up your account, you don’t need to worry too much about which ads to place on your website. Google will help you with that and find the most relevant and profitable ads for your website automatically. All you have to do is set up an AdSense account, and Google will handle the rest for you.

But remember, that not all websites are eligible for a Google AdSense account and you need to meet specific criteria to qualify for that. And, advertisers also prefer to display their ads on websites that are relevant and get a certain amount of site traffic.

7. Control Over Ad Content

When using Google Ads, advertisers have complete control over ad design and content. From text to image or any other ad element, they can design and create different ads. They can create one or more ad sets from scratch or by using Google Ads templates and serve them across the Google network.

Publishers using AdSense cannot control the content of the ads that are displayed on their website. This is because they are only allowing advertisers to display advertisements on their website, but do not have a say in the design of the ads. However, they can still control the ad formats and placement on their website.

So, Google Ads provides much more design flexibility than AdSense.

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