AdSense vs AdWords: The Difference

AdSense vs AdWords: What's the difference between these two Google offerings? Simply put, AdWords (now more commonly known as Google Ads) is a system that allows businesses to bid for advertising space in Google search results and on other Google-affiliated sites. AdSense is a system that allows publishers and website owners to sell advertising space to businesses. In other words, you have to pay to use AdWords, but AdSense can make you money.

Still confused? Let's go into a little more detail...

Advertisers use AdWords to create and place ads on Google. Google has 75% of the search market and generates 71% of its revenue from ads. As you can imagine, AdWords is very popular and, when used correctly, very profitable. How is AdSense specifically different? We'll explore that. 

AdSense vs AdWords: The difference

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Google Ads vs AdSense: The principal difference    

Conceptually, the main difference between Google Ads and AdSense is this: Google Ads is for advertisers, while AdSense is for publishers. By "publisher" I mean anyone who owns a website, is willing to sell ad space on it and is primarily interested in publishing regular content (as opposed to selling products and services). The New York Times, for example, would be considered a publisher.

If you're familiar with the Display Network, in which Google Ads users pay to serve ads on websites, you can think of AdSense as the platform that allows website owners to accept ads on their site in exchange for money. But it does not just display ads. AdSense matches display and text ads to your site based on your content and who is viewing it. You don't give up total control either - AdSense lets you choose what the ads on your site will look like and where they will be displayed.  

google adsense and adwords difference

Google AdSense vs AdWords: 3 key differences you need to know

AdWords and AdSense are two distinct advertising platforms offered by Google, whose use cases are very different. Often used in the same context, it's easy to confuse them.

Let's look at the three main differences between these two platforms and how you can start using them today.

1. AdSense is for website publishers, and AdWords is for businesses

The fundamental difference between AdWords and AdSense is the audience for which they are intended. AdWords is for advertisers and AdSense is for publishers, i.e. website owners.

AdWords allows businesses and marketers to advertise on the Google network (search, display, etc.).

AdSense allows publishers to reserve space for AdWords placements on their website (text, video, images).

AdWords and AdSense work together to complement Google's large advertising network: website owners reserve space for Google ads (AdSense) and businesses set budgets and ads to display on Google's ad network (AdWords).

2. AdSense pays website owners, and businesses pay AdWords

The second major difference between the two is that AdWords is used to buy advertising from Google, while AdSense is used to sell advertising space to Google.

With AdWords, businesses pay Google to place their ads on Google's search and display network.

With AdSense, website owners are paid by Google to provide valuable space on their website for AdWords placements.

Businesses that use AdWords pay Google a fee based on their campaign budget. AdSense allows publishers to monetize their websites by displaying relevant Google AdWords ads. Publishers are paid when visitors click on the ads.

google adsense and adwords difference

3. The configuration processes of AdWords and AdSense are different

To start using AdWords or AdSense, you must sign up for a separate account for each.

To sign up for AdWords, you can create an account and start advertising in just a few minutes. All you need to get started is:

- Your Google Account
- Sign in to AdWords using your email address and password.
- Set your preferences

Now you're ready to create campaigns and run your ads on Google's ad network.

To sign up for AdSense, Google asks for a little more information about you and your website. You will need:

- Your website's URL
- Language
- Account type
- Your name and address
- Your phone number
After you sign up for AdSense, you will be able to:
- select the type of ads you want to display on your website (text, image, video, etc.)
- Select the location on your web page where you want the ads to appear.

The great thing about AdSense is:

- How easy it is to use and how automated it is once you set it up.
- Google automatically selects the most relevant and highest paying ads for you.
- That sums up the three main differences between Google AdWords and AdSense.

Do you know how Google AdSense works?

Since the ads on your site are served through Google Ads, advertisers are jockeying for your coveted ad space through Google Ads auctions. This means, you guessed it, that you sell a billboard to the highest bidder.

This, in theory, allows you to receive the most money possible. Google also does all the billing for you, so it's incredibly easy to sell ad space on your site, watch the money roll in, and believe you're getting the most for what you're giving up: a utopian ad-free site for your readers. But while AdWords allows advertisers to optimize their ad campaigns to maximize their ROI, AdSense doesn't offer publishers that luxury.

As for the money you can make with AdSense, you're somewhat dependent on the effectiveness of Google's advertisers when it comes to advertising. You get paid when someone clicks or views your ad, depending on the type of ad you allow on your site. Ad design, ad relevance: It is the advertiser's responsibility to create an ad that is as attractive and relevant as possible so that the user clicks on it. And if they do, you lose a site visitor. For this reason, you should only choose AdSense over AdWords if you are not selling any products or services.

What types of ads does Google AdSense display?

However, publishers have some control over the types of ads that appear on their sites. They also have some control over the appearance of those ads.

Publishers can choose from three types of ads: text ads, display ads, and rich media ads.

google adsense and adwords difference

Google allows you to choose from a list of pre-defined ad styles or create your own. By choosing to create your own ad style, you have the ability to select the text, background, and border details that complement your website. AdSense users should be wary of creating ad styles that blend too much into the fabric of their website, however. This could very well result in fewer clicks and less money.

How much does it cost to start?

Nothing! AdSense costs nothing to get started. If you choose to use AdSense and support Google advertising on your site, you'll be able to see your account reports immediately to see how well the program is working for you. You'll also be able to choose to change the styles and formats of your ads to see which ones are making you the most money. To sign up, simply submit an application.

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