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AdWords vs AdSense: What are the 3 Major Differences?

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AdWords vs. AdSense: What’s the difference between these two advertising platforms set by Google? Even though these two terms sound similar but they’ve stark contrasts. In simple words, AdWords (also known as Google Ads) is a platform that enables businesses to bid for advertising space in Google search results and on other Google-affiliated domains. AdSense is a platform that enables publishers and website owners to sell advertising space to businesses. In other words, AdWords requires payment whereas you can make money with the help of Adsense. 

AdWords is a tool that allows advertisers to develop and run adverts on Google. Google controls 75% of the search market share and earns 71% of its income from advertising. As you might expect, AdWords is quite popular and, when utilized appropriately, extremely profitable. So, how exactly does AdSense vary from AdWords?

Google Ads vs. AdSense: 3 Major Differences

1. Advertisers use AdWords and Website Publishers use AdSense 

The primary difference between AdWords and AdSense is that AdWords is for advertisers, whereas AdSense is for publishers. AdWords allows businesses and marketers to advertise on Google’s network (search, display, etc). When it comes to publishers, we mean anyone who has a website, is prepared to sell advertising space on it, and is primarily engaged in producing regular content (as opposed to selling products and services). GeeksforGeeks, for example, would be classified as a publisher.

Advertisers use AdWords and Website Publishers use AdSense


If you’re acquainted with the Display Network or Search Network, where Google Advertising users pay to run display ads on sites all over the web, AdSense is the platform that enables website owners to accept display ads in exchange for a fee. It does not just display advertisements, either. AdSense links display and text adverts to your website depending on your content and who is seeing it. You’re not giving up complete control, either—AdSense allows you to customize the design and placement of the advertisements on your site.

To simplify it more, both AdWords and AdSense complement Google’s larger advertising network: 

  • Website owners provide space for Google’s advertisements – AdSense. 
  • Companies choose their budgets and ads to appear on Google’s advertising network – AdWords.

Related Article – Difference between google AdWords and google AdSense

2. Website Publishers Get Paid by AdSense, AdWords Pays Businesses

The second major difference is that AdWords is used to purchase advertising from Google, whereas AdSense is used to sell advertising space to Google. Organizations use AdWords to pay Google to have their advertisements appear on Google’s search and display networks. Google AdSense compensates website owners for providing website space for AdWords ads. 

Businesses that utilize AdWords will pay Google a fee based on the amount of money allocated to their campaign. Publishers may monetize their websites using AdSense by displaying relevant Google AdWords advertising. Publishers are compensated when visitors click on the advertisements.

As a website owner, when you set up AdSense, you can bid your space to the highest bidder in the Google Ads auction where marketers compete for the valuable ad space that you offer on your website, the higher the visitor rate it has, the higher bid goes on it. You’re essentially selling a billboard to the highest bidder. In principle, this would enable you to receive the highest money you can possibly earn. Google also handles all billing for you, making it exceedingly simple to just sell some ad space on your site, see the money go in, and think that you’re getting the most for what you’re giving up—an ad-free, utopian site for your users.

When it comes to the question, “How much does AdSense pay?”. Well, how much revenue you can generate with AdSense is somewhat dependent on how good Google advertisements marketers are at, well, advertising. You are compensated when someone clicks or watches your ad, depending on the sort of ad you allow on your site. Ad layout and ad relevance are very crucial when it comes to earning good ad revenue. It is the advertiser’s responsibility to create an ad that is as enticing and relevant as possible so that your user clicks on it. If they do, you will lose a site visitor. As a result, you should only use AdSense instead of AdWords if you don’t sell any items or services.

3. AdWords and AdSense Set Up Processes are Different

Just like the terms are different, the way to sign up for these advertisement platforms is also different. It is necessary to sign up for a separate account for AdWords and AdSense before you can get started.

Within minutes of signing up for AdWords, you can start advertising. To get started, simply follow these steps:

  • Your Google Account
  • Sign in to AdWords using your preferred email and password
  • Set your preferences

With this step completed, you are ready to begin creating campaigns and placing ads on the Google advertising network. Whereas, you will need to provide Google with a bit more information about your website when you sign up for AdSense. What you’ll need is:

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

When you register with AdSense, you will be able to:

  • Display the type of ads you want on your website (text, image, video, etc.)
  • Place the ads on your webpage where you want them to appear

AdSense’s biggest advantage is the ease of installation and full automation once it’s set up. However, it’s important that Google approves your website first. Once it’s set up, you will be shown the most relevant and highest-paying ads automatically by Google. Aside from that, AdSense is completely free to use. With AdSense, you can check your account immediately to see how the program is doing for you if you decide to use it. If you want to make the most of your ads, you might want to play around with the styles and formats you’re using. A simple application is all that is required to join.


The concept of AdWords vs. AdSense is quite tricky to discuss. Growth and revenue can be generated by using AdWords and AdSense on content-heavy websites. In the end, how you use the content on your site will determine whether or not this approach is suitable for your site.

FAQs on AdWords vs. AdSense

Q-1. Which is better Google Ads or AdSense?

Ans. Both Google Adwords and AdSense is better but in different scenario and for the different target market. If you’re a marketer, go for AdWords to advertise your product or services on Google’s first page.  Google AdWords is a terrific method to drive traffic to your website, but before you begin a campaign, you need to have a set of well-stated goals. Here are a few reasons why you may execute an AdWords campaign:

  • Raising awareness
  • Increasing conversions
  • Obtaining leads
  • Increasing your fan base

If you’re a publisher and want to rent blank ad space, go for AdSense. 

Q-2. Can I use AdWords and AdSense together?

Ans. This is a tricky question. Yes, you can use AdWords and AdSense together but only in a few cases. If you’re a travel vlogger with a website that showcases your travels, you may sign up for AdSense to earn your platform by displaying advertising for travel apparel, accessories, and other necessities. These advertisements contain goods that readers may find useful, but they do not detract from the site’s travel hacks and suggestions.

In this case, the webmaster may conduct short AdWords advertising to increase their following and obtain the page views required to succeed on AdSense.

Q-3. Is AdWords still called?

Ans. According to Google, in 2018, Google AdWords rebranded itself as Google Ads.

Q-4. What is Google AdSense & how does it differ from Google Ads?

Ans. Google AdSense is especially for publishers who want to rent their website blank space to advertisers and marketer and auction it to the highest bidder. Google Ads (previously known as Adwords) is especially for advertisers and marketers who want to put advertiser to attract conversion, leads or increase awareness of their products or services. 

Q-5. Is Google AdWords free?

Ans. Creating an account is free of charge. You’ll only be charged when your customers follow through on your ads, such as visiting your website or calling your business. To help you succeed, Google will give data and insights so you can track the performance and expenses of your ads. Additionally, storing keywords in your Google Ads Keyword Planner is free. Google, on the other hand, requires your billing details to register a Google Ads account because you will need to pay to conduct any keyword advertising.


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