So, in a nutshell, the difference between Adwords and Adsense is that for one you are paying for an advertising campaign and with the other you are being paid for placing advertising on your website or blog, like this one to the left. Both are operated on a PPC (pay per click) basis.
A longer version of that is:
- Adwords is an advertising campaign that is set up through Google to drive highly targeted traffic to a blog or website. Google positions the ads on the websites or blogs of participating webmasters, including their own search results pages. Each time the ad is clicked Google get paid by the advertiser and share some of that revenue with the site owner where the advert was placed and clicked on. Unless of course it is their own site in which case they take all the revenue.
- Adsense is an advert that is displayed on a blog or website relevant to the subject of the site. Google place Adsense adverts on the site of participating webmasters which are generated by Adword campaigns. If the ad gets clicked on the participating webmaster receives a small commission. The term for this as mentioned previously is called Pay Per Click or PPC.
So you see, it is actually the two sides of a coin, you can either pay Google to run your adverts by placing them on websites on your behalf (Adwords). Or you can choose to host adverts on your site that are placed there by Google and for which you can receive a small commission if they are clicked on (Adsense).
In truth there is nothing to stop someone on the one hand paying for Adwords to drive traffic to their site and on the other having Adsense on their site to generate income. In practical terms you would need to be seeking more than Adsense revenue to justify running Adword campaigns because it is unlikely the revenue you would get back from Adsense would be more than the cost of the Adword campaigns. In theory it may be possible to bring traffic to your site using low cost ads and when they arrive for them to click on much higher value ads so that you make a profit, but in practice that would be very difficult to achieve.
The reason most people run Adword campaigns is to bring highly targeted buying traffic to their site where they are being very specific about exactly what it is they are selling. So the main objective of an Adwords campaign is to bring people looking to purchase a specific product or service to a website that offers that specific product or service. The products or services could be offered as direct sales or perhaps through affiliate relationships but the crux of the technique is that it must cost less than the profit that can be made from the sales generated.
The biggest mistake anyone using Adwords can make is to offer a false promise. The reason being that each time their advert gets clicked they have to pay for the service, if the person then lands on their site to find that the product they wanted is not there, the most likely outcome is they will leave without making a purchase, consequently you will have incurred a cost for no reward.
Equally as important is that when a potential customer lands on your page they are able to find the product they are looking for. So the design and layout of the landing page is another critical component of Adword campaigns. Get the landing page wrong and you will lose sales.
The Adwords advert is of a very limited size and number of characters, also some subjects cost much more to advertise than others. There is a great deal of skill involved in selecting the keywords that will give you the most bang for your buck i.e. you want to attract visitors looking to make a purchase for the least cost.
If you are considering running an Adwords campaign, then you should really seek expert advice on how to set up and implement a campaign. Otherwise you may find that you very quickly expend a lot of money for no tangible results.
Terminology Associated with Adwords and Adsense
- PPC – Pay per click, this is when the host of the advert gets paid when someone clicks on an advert and conversely when the advertiser pays for a click
- Sponsored Link – these are the adverts placed on websites that are participating in Adsense and how Google differentiates on their search results page between standard search results or results from Adword campaigns
- Impressions – this is the number of times an advert is displayed on a web browser
- Click Through Rate – this is the number of times an ad is clicked on versus the number of impressions it has received e.g. 100 impressions with ten clicks equals a click through rate of 10%
As a final point, if you do want to participate in Adsense advertising but are concerned that the ads placed are too competitive, you should be aware that it is possible to filter out specific ads using the ‘Competitive Ads Filter’ that comes with Adsense.
Visit the Adsense Page to sign up for Adsense or the Adwords Page if you want to start an Adwords campaign. But don’t forget that expert advice if you do decide to start using Adwords; there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.