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Google Ads and Google Adsense - Differences you need to understand

A lot of people often wonder what is the difference between AdWords and AdSense. For starters, both seem similar. And a lot of people think both as two names refer to the same thing.

Remember that Google Adswords has changed its name to Google Ads.

However, the truth is far different. AdWords (currently known as Google Ads) and AdSense are two very different advertising platforms provided by Google. Both have their own benefits and are intended for different users with different use cases.

If you've ever faced the dilemma between AdWords (PPC) and AdSense and you don't know which one to use, this post is for you. We emphasize the main differences between both platforms and what they are used for.

So let's take a closer look at AdWords and AdSense to understand the difference between the two.

Adwords vs Adsense – The main difference

AdWords and AdSense vary in many ways. The only similarity is that both Google products are for advertising. The rest are completely different.

Here are the main differences between both platforms that you should know if you are considering using either platform.

1. Use case

The main difference between AdWords and AdSense is that businesses use AdWords while publishers and website owners use AdSense. That is the most significant difference between these two advertising platforms; Each platform is designed for different users and use cases.

Businesses that use AdWords, now simply referred to as Google Ads, to advertise their brands and products. They can create and display these ads on Google's linked sites and on

The purpose of Google Ads is to generate leads and businesses that spend money on these things to drive traffic to their websites and get conversions.

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

2. Payment

With Google AdWords, businesses and advertisers need to pay for their ads to be displayed. In the case of AdSense, publishers are paid to allow advertisers to place ads on their site.

So you get money through the AdSense platform and you spend money on AdWords.

Advertisers can choose budgets for their Google AdWords campaigns and pay a certain amount for their campaigns; With Adsense, publishers are paid for every click on the advertiser's ad on their site.

So with Google AdWords, you can control the amount you want to spend. However, publishers are paid for each click and all they can do to make more money is to get more website traffic.

In addition, advertisers can choose whether they want to select 'cost per click' or 'cost per impression' on the AdWords billing system. Publishers have no choice of payment system, they must follow and will be paid based on any type of advertiser support.

3. Where ads are displayed

Google ads are displayed on associated Google and Google websites such as AOL and, they are part of the Google search network. These ads may also be displayed on the Google display network, including content pages except for search engines.

The most popular forms of Google advertising are those displayed at the top of Google search results. They appear as any other search results, but are, in fact, sponsored ads and often displayed right on top.

With AdSense, ads are only displayed on publishers' websites that are using AdSense for their sites.

Demo Google Ads
Example of Google Adsense

4. Limit on number of ads

AdSense was previously used to limit the number of ads that can be displayed on a page, but that policy has now been removed. According to the latest AdSense policy update, the only warning is that the ad must not exceed valuable content on a page.

Therefore, excessive advertising on any website is not recommended, but in addition, there is no limit to the number of ads that can be placed on a page.

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

In fact, Google AdWords follows an ad rotation policy where they serve different ads based on their ability to receive search clicks and queries each time. But, in any case, only one ad will be shown at a time.

5. Optimize ads

Another important difference between AdWords and AdSense and especially important to advertisers.

Google AdWords is a handy advertising platform that provides ad optimization options to help advertisers gain the best results from their advertising campaigns. AdWords leverages Google's machine learning technology to optimize ads and ad delivery is more likely to perform better.

It considers many factors such as search terms, devices, location, keywords and many other factors to determine which ads will be shown for each query and user searching.

So different people may see different ads from the same advertiser. This is similar to the split testing that advertisers perform to check which of their ads are performing well and which are not. And, it is a very useful feature because it helps them improve their advertising strategy.

However, the same thing doesn't happen with AdSense because there is no such ad optimization option for AdSense.

6. Setup process

The process of setting up an AdWords account is different from the AdSense process because these are two different advertising platforms provided by Google.

Setting up an AdWords account is much simpler and can be done in minutes. All you need is a user-friendly Google account that you can log into AdWords or Google Ads and select your currency and time zone. And hooray! You can start advertising by creating your campaign.

Setting up an AdSense account requires a few more steps. You need to fill in the following required information before you can sign up for AdSense.

  • The URL of your website
  • Account type
  • Language
  • Your name and address
  • phone number

In addition, you also need to go through AdSense policies to understand the basic rules of what should and should not be used at AdSense.

When you agree to AdSense policies and signups, you can choose the type of ads you want to display on your site. These can be text ads, video ads, image ads, etc. You can also choose ad position on your webpages and choose the position on the page where you want to allow advertisers to show their ads.

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

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

7. Control advertising content

When using AdWords, advertisers have complete control over the design and advertising content. From text to images or any other advertising elements, they can design and create different ads. They can create one or more sets of ads from scratch or by using AdWords templates and serving them on the Google network.

Publishers using AdSense cannot control the content of ads displayed on their websites. This is because they only allow advertisers to show ads on their site, but don't have a say in the ad design. However, they are still able to control ad formats and placements on their websites.


Google Ads or Google Ads, is a platform used by businesses and advertisers to run advertising campaigns to drive traffic to their websites. They can choose budgets, ad design, ad content and have a lot of control over the entire process. And, of course, they need to pay Google to run advertising campaigns displayed on the network of Google websites.

On the other hand, AdSense is a platform used by publishers and website owners to make money from their website by placing ads on it. They do that by allowing advertisers to advertise on their site and get paid every time a website visitor clicks on the ad.

So now you know the difference between the two options which one can meet your requirements. If you are an advertiser, you should use Google Ads. And if you have a website you want to make money with, sign up for AdSense.

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