LinkedIn vs Google Ads: Choosing Where to Start

As experts in the field, we know that marketers are often given limited resources for paid advertising and are expected to achieve results that are not always realistic. Determining where to channel your efforts is always complicated. But today, this is trickier than ever as the digital landscape is constantly shifting alongside business owners’ expectations. 

If you’re looking to grow your business, ads are by far one of the strongest instruments in the marketing mix. When done well, you’re able to get great results with just a few clicks. However, it can be hard to evaluate which platform to spend your money on. That’s why today we’re focusing on whether and how to use LinkedIn and Google Ads effectively.

Both of them offer opportunities for great results. So, how do you choose what is really worth your time? Based on our years of experience, we’ve put together everything you need to know to make an informed decision for your next ad campaign.

A Few Thoughts on Paid Advertising

Google Ads may be the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions paid advertising, but it’s not the only effective instrument. When it comes to paid ads, we recommend not putting all your eggs in one basket. 

Firstly because it makes you more vulnerable to unexpected changes to a single platform. Something like a new platform policy or an algorithm update can quickly cause enormous problems and it’s best if you can respond in the short-term by shifting resources to another platform. Additionally, you could be missing out on potential leads. 

LinkedIn Ads In Action

Running ads on LinkedIn is great for lead generation, especially for B2B companies. The professional audience of the platform is very suitable for promoting your brand and getting quality leads. Let’s take a look at how LinkedIn Ads can be beneficial for your brand.

Benefits of LinkedIn ads list


A wide variety of targeting opportunities

Contrary to what many assume, LinkedIn offers more in-depth targeting than Google. Users list a lot of personal information in their profiles like employment, education, experience, industry, interests, hobbies, etc. When you’re trying to target a narrow buyer persona, that data is pure gold.

Based on their interest, you can be one step ahead of users’ intent and show them what they need without them even realizing it yet by highly targeted ads that match your exact buyer’s persona. 

Easy to get started

If you’re about to run your first ad ever, don’t worry about getting overwhelmed at the start. The platform is very intuitive and even first-time users are usually able to set everything up without frustration and confusion.

High-value prospects

With businesses and professionals being the primary active users on the platform, LinkedIn is ideal for B2B marketing. For example, if your goal is to establish brand awareness among industry professionals and gain B2B leads, then LinkedIn will definitely be the better (but not the only) choice for advertising.

Account-based marketing opportunities

ABM (account-based marketing) is a tactic that focuses marketing efforts on specific target accounts. Messages are tailored based on each user’s specific attributes and needs in order to engage with an ad. There’s plenty of user information on LinkedIn. On top of the personal information we mentioned, users often join groups and have conversations on a wide variety of topics. That data is priceless when it comes to account-based marketing as it enables you to target highly specific audiences.

In addition, with the Matched Audiences feature, you can match your email lists and website visitors with LinkedIn users, enabling you to target even more precisely.


Narrow and specific audience

B2C businesses and businesses with broad audiences may want to hop on Google for paid advertising. LinkedIn isn’t as affordable and effective if you don’t apply in-depth, specific, and very niche targeting.

Audiences who often don’t intend to buy products or services

In contrast to Google, the audience you target on LinkedIn likely isn’t on the platform with the intent to buy something. This makes it difficult, but not impossible, to attract qualified prospects. Usually, users go on LinkedIn for industry news and networking. Occasionally as a result, no matter how much effort you’ve put into your ad campaign, it’s possible that you won’t get the results you’ve expected.

Higher CPC

Compared to Google Ads, LinkedIn has a much higher CPC (cost-per-click). This can be a roadblock for businesses with smaller advertising budgets. While these numbers change all the time, at the moment the average CPC on LinkedIn is $5 compared to $1 for Google.

Lack of robust reporting and analytics tools

Unfortunately, LinkedIn’s in-built analytics don’t deliver everything you need to iterate on and improve your campaigns. In most cases, you’ll need the support of another analytics tool, and not having all the data in one place only makes it more complex to track.

Google Ads In Action

When it comes to paid advertising, Google is at the top of the list. With its massive audience and opportunities, businesses can get results even with a smaller budget. Let’s see what benefits make it such a preferred choice for many and what value you can get from it.

Benefits of Google ads list


Wider audience

The audience reach on Google is massive – about 4 billion people. It’s very likely your target audience is using this search engine. With the right segmentation, your ads have a great opportunity of getting a lot of quality leads without exhausting your budget.

Lower CPC

Google’s average CPC is $1 which is lower than LinkedIn’s $5 per click which makes it a great option for advertising on a tight budget. 

Audience with the intent to convert

In most cases, users go to Google to find a product or service. So, with Google Ads, you can deliver relevant advertising at the right moment to users who already know what they’re looking for.

Many ad types

Google offers a far wider variety of ad types than LinkedIn, including text, responsive, image, app promotion ads, video, product shopping ads, showcase shopping ads, and call-only ads. The result is that you have many more options when choosing how to target your audience.


A high learning curve for advanced options

Setting up the right targeting when doing ads can be difficult the first time around. This could lead to costly mistakes if you don’t know what you’re doing. For example, if you don’t optimize your ad campaigns with the right targeting settings, you could end up spending the entire budget without generating any long-term results or leads. In addition, Google offers many ways to automate your ads, however, the automations more often optimize the ads for Google, not for you which can harm your campaigns as well.

Fewer segmentation opportunities

Businesses that need in-depth segmentation of their audience may have difficulty with Google Ads. The targeting options the platforms provide are:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Affinity
  • Technology
  • Buyer behavior
  • Interactions with your website or app

Despite knowing your buyer persona well, sometimes avoiding poor-quality leads can be inevitable. This inaccurate targeting can have a negative impact on your digital ad campaign spending.

Competitive platform

There’s a good chance nearly all your competitors use Google ads to promote their products and services. This makes the platform a highly-competitive space to run ads on. A keyword’s price depends on the competitive score of that word, so it can be hard to rank for some keywords without spending more. 

Google ads vs LinkedIn ads table

Which One to Choose?

The answer to “which one is better, Google ads or LinkedIn ads?” is actually both. There isn’t one size fits all approach to anything in marketing and there probably never will be. The right choice is strictly individual and depends on the type of business, budget, audience, and strategy. 

However, you don’t necessarily have to commit to only one. Most businesses use multiple platforms for all the reasons we’ve mentioned. You can maximize your ROI by diversifying your paid search efforts on different platforms if you have the funds.

Google AdsLinkedIn Ads
User intent Intent-driven searches – users already know what they’re looking for, at the exact right moment.Users are looking for industry news and networking rather than having the intent to buy something.
Audience reach4 billion500 million
Targeting & SegmentationBroad Narrow
CostLess expensive – $1 avg. CPCMore expensive – $5 avg. CPC

We Can Help You Make the Right Choice

The digital marketing landscape is more competitive than ever before. Thriving in it calls for expertise and experience. Fortunately, our team at Automagically has been running successful LinkedIn and Google ads campaigns for years. Our clients have experienced 10x results from our Agile, transparent, and high-quality services. Get in touch to see what we can achieve for you.

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