LinkedIn Ads Vs. Google Ads

LinkedIn Ads vs. Google Ads: When is best to use each platform?

Are you new to the magical world of digital marketing, LinkedIn Ads or Google Ads? 

Or have you dabbled with them but realised that you are just fluttering money down the drain?

If you have answered yes to one of these questions then this article is for you!

So let's embark further into this article so you can start to increase your click through rate (CTR) and conversions.

You want to be visible on the touch points where your customers are active, correct?

Well, I think it goes without saying that choosing the right ads platform is of supreme importance. Your whole digitial ads campaign can either prosper or fail if you get this decision wrong.

In an ideal world, every ads channel would bring inspiring results.

However, we do not live in an ideal world do we!

The search engines are competitive. The bidding wars are intense. 

At the end of the day, each ads platform has its pros and cons.

Depending on your niche or industry, you will more than likely want to concentrate on one sole ads platform or two at a push.

LinkedIn Ads vs. Google Ads

User intent

I recently wrote an article explaining how Bing Ads can help you increase your ROI.

Nevertheless, I still reiterated that Google Ads is the best platform for targeting intent-driven searches.

On the other hand, Bing Ads naturally possess a lower cost per click (CPC) and is perfect for a certain demographic.

In fact, when you deliver Ads that are relevant to the searcher then you are more than likely to procure a click from searchers that already know what they want.

Getting your Ads at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) means that you are visible at the exact right moment when that potential customer is looking for a company like yours to buy from.

The below two graphs further reinforce this point. 

The graphs indicate that Google represents a little over 75% of the desktop search engine market share. Subsequently, they also boast owning just over 89% for mobile search.

Google Ads vs LinkedIn Ads search desktop share

Google Ads vs LinkedIn Ads search mobile share

It is clear to see that Google are a dominant force within the search engine industry.

Whereas, on the flip side. What about targeting customers who do not know what they want yet?

Entering the ring in the blue corner is LinkedIn Ads. 

LinkedIn Ads can resonate with the scenarios such as:

  • A popcorn and fizzy drink advertisement in a cinema right before a movie starts
  • The advertisment you saw on TV when you were a child, showing you the latest Action Man or Barbie Doll that you didn't know existed before and now you have to pester your parents to get you it

This is what LinkedIn prevails in where Google doesn't!

LinkedIn Ads enables you to capture customers even before they’ve showed intent.

We all know that LinkedIn is a social media platform for businesses, academics and professionals.

So, it’s reasonable to assume that relevant Ads will be business-to-business (B2B) related.

On the other hand, Google Ads can be a blend of business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B. 

Thereby, in the case of LinkedIn Ads Vs. Google Ads, it’s fair to say that depending on your situation - Google Ads trump their social media counterparts.

Although, LinkedIn does naturally provide enhanced perceived values within their Ads.

Your audience may not show current intent towards your product/service but you can easily persuade and influence thatcher elusive intent.

Refined targeting on LinkedIn allows you to make the need known to them.


One of the benefits of setting Ads on Google is that the reach is broader than LinkedIn.

As a result, you can reach your target audience easier even if your comapny is B2C or B2B.

On the other hand, if you are not optimising your advertisements with the appropiate targeting settings then you may as well flush your Ad budget down the toilet.

As aforementioned, LinkedIn is fantastic for B2B marketers. As its sole purpose is to bring businesses together with other businesses.

Thereby, the majority of LinkedIn users engage on the platform to develop social relationships, collaborate with like-minded people, represent their company, or seek new business opportunities.

Targeting options

The one thing that I do like about advertising on LinkedIn is the advantage of 'account-based marketing'

Just like any social media platform, users submit personal details that are displayed on their profile.

Such as:

  • Job title
  • Company name
  • Company size
  • and so forth...

Having such data to be used ethically by digital marketers to display personalised and tailored messages to the right audience.

One example can be seen below where Lighter Capital has done exactly this...

Google Ads vs LinkedIn Ads targeting job title

In addition, LinkedIn also offers:

  • Audience templates — Pre-populated with an array of targeting options to aid advertisers reach their desired audiences more easily and efficiently
  • Matched Audiences — For advertisers to match their website visitors, company lists, and email lists with LinkedIn members

In comparison to the LinkedIn matches audiences, Google provides their own version: Customer Match.

This database enables marketers to carefully place thier product/services to their desired customers. 

Marketers can advertise across a whole array of Google products, such as: Search, Shopping, Gmail & YouTube.

Furthermore, alternative Google targeting options include:

Audience Targeting

  • Demographics 
  • Affinity
  • In-market
  • Custom Intent
  • Similar Audiences
  • Remarketing

Content Targeting

  • Topics
  • Placement
  • Content Keywords
  • Display Expansion for Search

Ad types

In terms of ad types, Google trumps LinkedIn on this front...

Google provides marketers with extensive ad type options.

Nevertheless, both platforms do offer unique formats

Google ad types include:

  • Text — Ads with the sole purpose of using text to reach customers actively searching on Google
  • Responsive — Text/image ads that automatically alters size, appearance, and format to fit available ad spaces
  • Image — Static or interactive graphics to reach customers on Google partner websites
  • App promotion ads — Utilised to drive app downloads and engagement on Google related services such as: Google Play, and websites and apps that partner with Google
  • Video — Individual or in-stream ads that reach customers on Google partner websites
  • Product Shopping Ads — Used to show consumers a photo, title, price, store name, and more details about your product
  • Showcase Shopping Ads — An image and description that expands when clicked to show several related products and information about the store
  • Call-only ads — Direct click-to-call ads that appear only on devices that make phone calls

LinkedIn ad types consist of:

  • Sponsored/Direct Sponsored Content — Native ads that directly appear within the LinkedIn feed
  • Sponsored InMail — Personalised and tailored advertising messages sent to highly targeted users
  • Text Ads — PPC ads that display in the side margin or inline
  • Dynamic Ads — Dynamically generated & personalised ads appearing on the right rail that appear on desktop only
  • Lead Gen Forms — Ads with pre-filled forms that are available in Sponsored Content & Sponsored InMail, only on mobile

One ad type stands out that shares a commonality among both advertising platforms.

Can you quess what it is?

Display Ads.

These types of Ads gives marketers the power to expand their reach and brand awareness.

This is acomplished by targeting audiences both on and off the platform.

Google display ads vs. LinkedIn display ads

Google display ads aid marketers to reach audiences while watching YouTube, checking Gmail, using mobile devices and apps, and browsing other sites online such as news pages, blogs (who utilise Google Adsense).

Here’s a Taboola banner ad located above an Entrepreneur article:

Google Ads display vs LinkedIn Ads

With display ads, you can ultimately decide between an image or rich media ads with accompanying interactive elements.

These are easily optimised with keywords, demographics, locations, remarketing and so much more.

LinkedIn display ads are available in two formats: LinkedIn onsite display and Network display.

With LinkedIn onsite display, marketers can precisely target users with IAB-standard ads, as well as LinkedIn-unique formats such as Spotlight Ads, Join Group Ads, and Follow Company Ads:

Network display advertising leverages LinkedIn data to accurate target audiences wherever they are online, similar to Google display ads.


The four primary functions of Google Analytics are:

  1. Audience - Who are your visitors?
  2. Acquisition - Where are your visitors coming from?
  3. Behaviour - What are your visitors doing on your website?
  4. Conversions - Statistics on how your campaigns are performing - sales, lead generation etc

Google Ads analytics vs LinkedIn Ads analytics

LinkedIn Analytics are split up into three sections:

1. Updates

  • A table displaying recent updates and specific data on those updates (audience, impressions, clicks, interactions, followers acquired, engagement, etc.)
  • A graph that showS trends on the number of times updates were seen daily, both organically and paid
  • A graph showing the number of clicks, likes, comments, and shares of content in both organic and paid campaigns


  • Total followers (updated once daily)
  • Organic followers
  • Acquired followers
  • Follower demographics (seniority, industry, job function, company size, etc.)
  • Follower trends over time
  • Number of followers compared to other companies

3. Visitors

  • Page views
  • Career page clicks
  • Unique visitors
  • Visitor demographics

LinkedIn Ads analytics vs Google Ads analytics

Which is better: LinkedIn Ads vs. Google Ads?

In all honesty, there is not a plain sailing answer to this question.

Both ad platforms have its strengths and weakness (as detailed below).

They both possess opportunities great exposure for your brand.

Nevertheless, neither platform provides a one-size-fits-all solution for your brand.

The right platform for your campaigns is dependent on what your goals and ambitions may be.

A general rule of thumb indicates that prior to an advertising campaign, you should udnerstand the specs of ads that are involved on both platforms.

Need more advice on your paid marketing campaigns? 

Contact me to arrange a FREE consultation call!

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LinkedIn Ads vs. Google Ads: When is best to use each platform?
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LinkedIn Ads vs. Google Ads: When is best to use each platform?
Getting your Google & LinkedIn Ads right is crucial in order to maximise your ROI and generate high intent leads. Discover which platform you should invest in.
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