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Google Ads vs LinkedIn Ads

Which platform gives you the best return?

Have you ever wondered what method tends to perform better between Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads?

Paid advertising, when implemented correctly can be one of your company's best tools to grow your revenue and client base. When implemented correctly, paid ads can generate fast results that result in turning leads into clients. Having said that, if you are just starting out, it can be difficult to figure out where you should dedicate your money and how.

And that is the aim for this article, to help you determine which platform tends to perform better: Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads. by the end of this article, you should have more clarity on not only which platform tends to perform better, but which platform is better for your unique needs.

Which Is Best? Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads?

One of the main issues with identifying which pay-per-click (PPC) platform will generate the highest return on investment (ROI) and more leads is that everything is contextual. This means that generating more leads form your ads will depend on factors such as:

  • Audience

  • Stage of awareness

  • Segmentation options

  • Cost

  • Budget

To keep the comparison fair, let's take a look at both Google and LinkedIn ads through the above context.


It's no secret that Google is the largest search engine in the world, with over 90% of the market share. In comparison, LinkedIn has a user base of almost 800 million which is nothing to shy away from however, it is but a drop in the ocean compared with Google. Having said that, a huge audience like Google's may actually work against you if your campaigns are not implemented correctly.

Comparing this with LinkedIn which is a smaller audience to start with and comes with an audience that is already much more specific.

As LinkedIn is a professional networking site, LinkedIn ads can help you get your campaigns in front of the right decision makes while they are active on LinkedIn. Understandably, if they are not active on LinkedIn, they won't see your campaigns.

In contrast, Google ads allows you to target an audience that is already searching for what you offer. Therefore, this may result in a lower cost per lead and, potentially a higher degree of quality which will help you grow your revenue and client base faster.

Stage of Awareness

Whether you choose to use Google ads or LinkedIn ads for your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns will depend on your target audience however, that is only part of the criteria to consider.

As briefly touched on before, one of Google's strength is that it gets your campaigns in front of the people who are already solution aware. In other words, Google ads gets you in front of people who already know their problem and that a solution exists to solve it. As a result, they have turned to Google to help them narrow down the solution that is best suited for them.

For example, consider a UK Expat who we shall call Paul, has several private pensions that he has accrued over a 20 year period. Paul has since left the UK and started working in the USA with no intentions of returning back to the UK for retirement. Paul would like to explore his options of consolidating his UK pensions and moving them to the USA in a tax efficient manner considering the British Pound GBP has plummeted against the dollar. Paul then opens a search on Google trying to piece together what he may need. That is where Google ads is useful as it gets you in front of his searches.

Compare this scenario with LinkedIn whereby Paul is not searching on Google and instead you opt to use LinkedIn ads to target an audience that is similar to Paul. Paul is not necessarily aware of his issues with the UK pension therefore, may react to the campaign, and may not.

As a result, your LinkedIn ads need to be able to capture the attention of your target audience at an early stage in their solution awareness stage, which is a much tougher task.

By no means does this indicate that Linkedin ads do not work for lead generation, because they absolutely do. It may require more planning and preparation as what works on Google ads might not work on linkedIn ads, and vice versa.

Audience Segmentation Options

Knowing exactly who you want to talk to means the lead generation campaigns can be extremely targeted with images, messaging, landing pages, and really optimise the whole ad campaign to get as many conversions as possible.

Above we briefly touched on LinkedIn's targeting options however, it may be worthwhile exploring this point a bit more. LinkedIn has one of the most refined audience segmentation of any pay-per-click (PPC) advertising channel.

People literally give the platform plenty of information about themselves, including who they work for, what their current role is, what their previous employment was, their level of education, experience, current location, previous location, interests etc. This takes a step further once users start to join groups and commenting on discussions, LinkedIn gathers a whole lot more data that can be used to get your ads in front of the exact people who will most likely react to your campaigns.

Understandably, Google has more than enough data on its users as well however, the segmentation options are more limited for Google Ads than for LinkedIn Ads. With both platforms, you need to know what you are doing to get your ads in front of the right people.

Even when your audience segmentation is done correctly, you are more likely going to see clicks from people who are never going to become clients with Google than with LinkedIn. Of course, each of those unqualified clicks drives up the cost of your advertising campaign, so the fewer unqualified clicks you get, the better. Having said that, the same does occur on LinkedIn however, with a varying degree.

Reducing this argument to ease of use, LinkedIn does come out on top as getting the audience for your Google ads right requires a lot of skill and experience, whereas LinkedIn is much easier to get started with.


No matter where you are running campaigns, advertising does cost money. The amount of money spent does have a correlation to the reach of your campaigns and the results. While in theory, the return from your ads is more important than your actual spend, you still have a budget to work with therefore, the cost might well be a deciding factor, especially for smaller businesses.

Both Google ads and LinkedIn ads run on an auction model meaning, your lead generation campaigns are competing with other advertisers to get in front of your target audience, As a result, the exact price of your campaigns will vary depending on your target audience and how competitive your niche is.

Both platforms do allow you to choose whether you want to be billed by clicks or impressions. A key difference with LinkedIn is that it allows you to send your campaigns directly into people's inboxes which will result in a charge per send.

Google ads allows you to set a monthly budget cap therefore, you can be sure you will never spend more than you can afford.

LinkedIn does have budgeting tools however, these are designed to pace the spend to optimise the campaign's reach. In other words, somes days your ad spend will exceed your target daily budget by as much as 50%. On other days, your ad spend will be much less. This means your entire spending for the campaign will be within your budget limit.

Comparing Google ads and LinkedIn for cost, Google ads typically works out cheaper than LinkedIn on a ratio of around 1:5. For example, you could expect to spend £1 per click on Google however, using LinkedIn and targeting the same audience, you can expect to spend £5 per click.

Whether that increase in spend per click is justifiable does depend on your audience. If you are targeting B2B with a very specific target audience, you may find that LinkedIn conversions are higher.


You have probably guessed it, there is not right or wrong answer when comparing Google ads vs LinkedIn ads as this does depend on several factors.

For example, many of our clients within the Financial Adviser sector tend to achieve greater results using Google ads instead of LinkedIn ads however, our partners targeting B2B tend to achieve greater results usings LinkedIn ads instead of Google ads.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss your needs and our services, feel free to contact us.



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