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November 28, 2023

Posted by: Sean Tomlinson


Google Ads vs. Google Local Ads: A Tale of Two Platforms

In today's digital age, online advertising has become an indispensable tool for businesses looking to expand their reach and attract customers. The local services realm can be particularly competitive. 

Google is a leading player in the digital advertising space, offering many powerful platforms. Google Ads and Google Local Ads are two tools that can be utilized by businesses to boost brand awareness. Both options provide unique advantages, and choosing between takes an in-depth knowledge of pretty nuanced platforms.

Considering small businesses focus primarily on quality service, it seems unreasonable for them to be able to navigate the intricacies of Google’s digital ads platforms.

This blog is dedicated to those small businesses. This post might help you understand the differences between Google’s platforms and get you one step closer to beating the competition online.


Google Ads

Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, is a comprehensive online advertising platform allowing businesses to display their ads on Google's search engine results pages (SERPs), partner websites, and other Google properties. It operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, where advertisers bid on keywords relevant to their business, and they pay for each click on their ad.


Advantages of Google Ads


Google Ads enables businesses to reach a vast global audience. An ad's reach can be as far, or as small, as the user wants to make it. This flexibility gives a business the ability to target a worldwide audience or focus on a hyper-localized community, Google Ads provides the tools to achieve both ends.

The platform's strength lies in its multifaceted targeting options. It empowers advertisers to hone in on specific groups by utilizing a myriad of parameters. By leveraging a combination of factors (such as keywords, demographics, and user interests), businesses gain the ability to craft focused campaigns. This level of targeting optimizes the relevance of the ads and enhances the likelihood of engaging with audiences genuinely interested in the service being offered. The result is a tailored approach that maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of advertising expenditure, reaching the right people at the right time and place.

Diverse Ad Formats

Google Ads provides an array of ad formats that cater to the diverse landscape of digital advertising. The platform offers a range of choices, from succinct and impactful text ads that grab attention through compelling copy to visually captivating display ads that seamlessly blend into users' browsing experiences. 

Additionally, Google Ads extends its versatility to embrace video ads. This allows businesses to engage with audiences through motion and sound. Beyond these common formats, the platform continually evolves. They’ve consistently introduced innovative new ad formats and features. For instance, responsive ads dynamically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit various ad spaces across devices and apps. This ensures better visibility and performance. Similarly, shopping ads cater specifically to e-commerce by showcasing product images, prices, and store names. This draws in potential buyers directly within their search results. 

These different choices allow businesses to pick the format that fits their goals. Ultimately, this helps increase brand recognition, generate sales, or connect with customers. These options provide advertisers the ability to create specific campaigns that really connect target audiences.

Comprehensive Analytics

Google Ads provides advertisers with a robust suite of analytics tools that delve into every facet of campaign performance. These tools offer a comprehensive view of key metrics, from click-through rates to conversion insights, empowering businesses to understand audience behavior in-depth. With customizable dashboards and intuitive visualizations, advertisers extract actionable insights, fine-tuning strategies in real-time to optimize performance. This data-driven approach facilitates continuous refinement, enabling businesses to allocate resources judiciously and ensure every advertising dollar generates maximum returns.

By leveraging the granular data provided by Google Ads, businesses conduct A/B testing and iterate on their strategies effectively. They measure success, identify trends, and adjust campaigns swiftly, aligning their advertising efforts with audience preferences. This data-driven cycle of analysis and refinement acts as a compass in the dynamic digital space, guiding advertisers toward optimal strategies for achieving their goals.


Google Local Ads

Google Local Ads, on the other hand, is a specific subset of Google Ads designed to target local audiences. Formerly known as Google Local Services Ads, this platform is particularly beneficial for businesses that rely on local customers, such as plumbers, electricians, and service-oriented businesses.


Advantages of Google Local Ads

Localized Targeting

Google Local Ads constitute a targeted approach tailored for businesses seeking to amplify their visibility within a specific geographic radius. 

By honing in on a defined local area, this advertising avenue becomes a strategic tool for businesses rooted in their community. The localized focus enables these businesses to establish a connection with nearby customers actively seeking their services or products. This facilitates immediate engagement with individuals who are not just browsing but are actively seeking solutions within their vicinity, positioning businesses optimally to meet these localized needs.

For businesses with a physical presence or those providing region-specific services such as local contractors, restaurants, or service-oriented establishments, Google Local Ads serve as a beacon to attract and engage nearby customers. The localized approach aligns with the preferences of the nearby community, enabling businesses to integrate into the fabric of their local market. 

Google Guarantee

Businesses that meet Google's screening and verification criteria are awarded a Google Guarantee badge. This badge operates as a visual testament to a business's credibility and commitment to excellence. 

The badge acts as a beacon of trust in a sea of options, standing out prominently alongside local ads. For businesses striving to establish credibility within their local community, this symbol is a valuable asset. It not only captures attention but also serves as an endorsement of quality, helping businesses differentiate themselves from the competition.

Pay-Per-Lead Model

Google Local Ads brings a fresh perspective to advertising by switching from the traditional pay-per-click model to a pay-per-lead approach. Instead of paying for clicks on ads, businesses are charged only for verified and valuable leads. These might be phone calls, form submissions, or messages initiated by interested customers directly through the ad.

This shift to a pay-per-lead system holds immense significance in terms of cost-effectiveness and efficiency for local customer acquisition. Unlike paying for clicks that might not convert into actual leads, businesses using Google Local Ads pay solely for actionable leads that demonstrate a genuine interest in their services. This precision in payment ensures that every dollar spent corresponds to potential customer interaction, significantly boosting return on investment (ROI) and optimizing the advertising budget for maximum impact in the local market.

By prioritizing paying for leads rather than clicks, Google Local Ads align closely with businesses' goals of forging meaningful connections with local customers. This strategy emphasizes quality interactions over quantity, ensuring that expenses directly relate to valuable interactions likely to convert into loyal customers. This shift not only streamlines the advertising budget but also instills confidence in businesses, knowing their investment drives genuine customer interest and engagement, ultimately driving local business growth.


Choosing the Right Platform for Your Business

The decision between Google Ads and Google Local Ads depends on various factors, including the nature of your business, target audience, and advertising goals.

Choose Google Ads if…

  • Your business serves a broader, global audience
  • You have a diverse range of products or services
  • You want to leverage various ad formats for a comprehensive marketing strategy
  • You're focused on brand awareness
  • You want more control over ad placements and targeting options.
  • Your goal is to drive traffic to a website or specific landing pages.
  • You seek to retarget website visitors or engage with a broader range of demographics.

Choose Google Local Ads if…

  • Your business relies heavily on local customers
  • Building trust within the local community is crucial
  • You prefer the pay-per-lead model for cost-effective local advertising
  • You prioritize immediate customer contact for service-based businesses.
  • The "Google Guarantee" badge aligns with your business's trust-building objectives.


Both Google Ads and Google Local Ads offer powerful tools for businesses to promote their products or services online. The key is understanding your business's unique needs and tailoring your digital advertising strategy accordingly. Whether you're aiming for a global reach or focusing on your local community, Google provides the platforms to help you achieve your marketing objectives in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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