Having experience both with Google Adsense and especially Google Ads and making money with both networks, I would like to share if and when one these advertising platforms (or the other) may better for your online business.
With Google Ads:
My general experience has been that when it has worked for me (Made about $100k), it made me a lot more money.
Now this anecdotal but I do know a lot of people who make a lot of money also using Google Ads for their business.
With Google Adsense:
My overall experience was that I didn’t make nearly as much (A few $100), but this was for websites I ran that didn’t get too much traffic and this type of result is expected.
And just like with Google Ads, when it comes to Adsense, I also know more than a few people who make good money with this platform.
So while I am comparing both networks, it’s important to understand their differences, and for whom they are best suited for and that is what I’ll explain in this article.
If you’re completely new to both of these networks, let me explain what they are:
What is Google Ads?
It’s an advertising branch of Google where you can promote your website on the actual search engine by targeting specific keywords. In other words, your ad will appear right on Google’s search when a person types the keyword you’re targeting.
I have experienced many benefits (and issues) from using Google Ads and have helped a few clients with their campaigns on this network too and I can tell you that if Google allows your ad to run and you use the correct marketing tactics, that you can amass a crazy amount of traffic and make good money.
But it is also a lot more strict and there’s many ways your account can get closed or suspended (such as with bridge pages).
What is Google Adsense?
Adsense is another ad platform that’s run by Google, but in this particular case, you don’t run any ads. Instead, what happens is that Google places ads on your website and pays you for each click the ad gets (here’s more info on Google Adsense).
With Adsense, you don’t really have much control here over the type of ads that run on your page though and this can actually lead to more cons than pros if you understand things like bounce rates, and Google ranking factors. But contrarily this doesn’t change the fact that using Adsense can be a good way to make money off your website.
A very important difference between Adsense and Google Ads you need to understand:
With Adsense, you don’t spend anything on the program when you sign up and use it with your site but with Google Ads, you do spend money.
Here is also an official article comparing both these these networks.
For Adsense, how does Google benefit from this if it pays you through this program?
Well the ads that run on your page/s are actually people advertising through Google Ads. In that program, there is an option for people to promote their business on what’s known as the “display network” (it may be called something different now), but basically that extra feature of adwords is actually Google putting your website up on Adsense friendly sites.
In other words, people use and pay Adwords to run their ads on not just the search engine, but also websites that allow Google ads to be run on.
Let’s also not forget a “little” place called YouTube:
Now in addition to websites having the adsense option, YouTube also has this. In other words, if you make YouTube videos, one of the ways to generate revenue is to allow this program to run on your videos.
You may notice nowadays that when you watch videos, prior to them starting or in several parts of the video (typically more so on longer videos), you’ll get advertisements shown. Well many times, this is also adsense in action. But I would argue, that if you want to go with YouTube, these methods I use to make money on YouTube personally would make you more.
Adsense vs Google Ads: Which platform generates more money?
Well that depends. For Google itself, it is the Google Ads network.
Which platform can make you more money? Adsense or Google Ads?
But if you are debating between using one of the other, the answer will depend on the type of site you’re running, and how much can be earned through using one platform or the other. And in certain cases, you may actually stand to benefit from not using either.
This is actually how it is for me personally, although this is not because I don’t want to use either platform, it’s just that I prefer it this way and I can make more money without either.
Situations where using Adsense is better for your website than using Google Ads:
In my experience, broad, but high traffic generating pages that don’t really aim to sell anything personal, be it affiliate promotions or services will benefit much more from using this program.
I typically use examples of pages that have recipes and/or things like general information such as health advice, something where the type of information that is written is given away for free with the intent to JUST share, not profit.
Those types of pages in my opinion are better suited for the Adsense platform. BUT I also discovered better platforms like Mediavine which would pay you FAR more.
Now in terms of how much money this can make, it all depends on 2 things:
- The amount of traffic the broad and informative page/s gets.
- The amount of money earned per each click the visitor makes.
Situations where using Google Ads is better for your website than using Adsense:
Honestly, in recent years, I would say local business websites. I used to do affiliate marketing through the Adwords program, but it is much more difficult nowadays to use that. Local business pages on the other hand should definitely be utilized in combination with it.
These types of pages typically get a lot more approvals from the program to be run on the search network and furthermore, if you examine how often people look for businesses (typically food related businesses) on their phones and computers, you will see a lot of businesses are showing up. This is evidence that it’s a popular platform for them to advertise under.
When will a website not benefit from either network?
In my opinion an affiliate website, but it depends on a few things:
- I always recommend ANY affiliate website at least TRY to get approved to use Adwords. It’s a great extra traffic resource and you can make so much money from this network if you understand traffic, how to set up ads and promotions. Those sorts of things. Get training from my top recommended program called Wealthy Affiliate.
- If you are promoting products which typically make low commissions and it benefits your website more so (given the traffic numbers) to run adsense (or Mediavine if you can get enough traffic), then you should use that instead.
However, if an affiliate website is not approved or not profitable enough to be used by either platform, you can depend on the following:
SEO. Organic traffic has always worked for me and it has been exclusive of either platform, meaning that if I wasn’t approved for Google Ads or Adsense, I could still rely on organic traffic.
- You can also depend on the commission rate you get or other websites like YouTube to make you more money potentially.
- Even if you have a YouTube channel, you can still use affiliate marketing with and without adsense to generate money.
Additional platforms worth noting (there’s more options outside of Adsense and Google Ads available):
If you aren’t able to use either of the main programs, consider Bing Ads as a great alternative. I personally use it for my affiliate site/s.
My final thoughts:
- I’ve personally seen (and have experienced) much more money being made from using Adwords on my affiliate sites in the past and nowadays more so for local businesses.
- I have also seen websites that use adsense make a lot money because of the factors I mentioned above.
It’s not that 1 program is superior to the other, it’s just that one suits you better and like I said, sometimes you can make more without either.
Both programs are amazing opportunities if the circumstances allow for it. If you understand how both are used, you can also become a middleman in helping people who DON’T understand them help them set them up so they make money and pay you for providing the service (there is also a lot of money in this type of business as well).