LinkedIn Ads vs Google Ads: Which should you prioritise?

24 January 2022 | 5 min read | News
Vicki Eastman

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2021 was a record year for advertising spend, with businesses spending more than ever to try to capture the attention of their customers. Indeed, since the initial pandemic panic, in which many organisations battened down the hatches, stopping virtually all external spending, there’s been a steady rise in money spent on marketing and advertising. 

Now, with increased competition, businesses need to think carefully about where to prioritise their resources. Though both LinkedIn and Google can (and should) be used as free tools, an increase in adverts will mean your organic content is seen by fewer people.  

But, if you’re going to invest in a paid marketing activity, which should you choose?  

Prioritise Google if:
  • Your product/service costs the same no matter who buys it
  • You have an easy way to demonstrate ROI
  • You want to target customers who have shown buying signals

Prioritise LinkedIn if:

  • You want to be able to target your customers specifically
  • You have a long or complicated sales funnel
  • Your business benefits from knowledge sharing and relationship building


Google Ads are a great option, because you know you’re advertising your business to someone who is in need of it. In searching for the product or service your company provides, the customer is displaying a strong buying signal. 

Rather than spend serious resource in getting to the top of the SERP (search engine results page) by optimising your website, you can guarantee your place on the front page with Google Ads. Plus, you’ll only pay if the customer actually clicks on to your website – a second strong signal of buying intent.  

However, just because they visit your website, does not mean they will buy from you immediately. It’s important to remember that this is still a cost per click (CPC), not cost per sale. Though it is relatively cheap, the CPC can add up, and this can be trickier to justify if you can’t prove the ROI. If you’re running an e-commerce site this is straightforward, but if you’re selling a product or service with a longer sales funnel, it can become complicated.  

You should also consider your existing SEO (search engine optimisation). It may be that you already appear at the top of Google searches, either because your offering is relatively unique, or because your SEO is brilliant. In that case, Google Ads are unlikely to be as worthwhile. It may also be the case that your industry is so competitive that the CPC is not so profitable.  

Finally, those that sell a service should consider this: does it matter who your customers are? Are you an executive search firm for example that would not take on more junior appointments? Or a cleaning company with a minimum spend? If the size and budget of your client makes a difference, you may want to choose a more targeted approach.  


LinkedIn Ads come with a range of objectives, from brand awareness to video views, but for the purposes of a direct comparison we’re going to concentrate on the platform’s CPC ads. Just as with Google, LinkedIn only charges you if a customer clicks on the ad to visit your website. However, the associated cost on LinkedIn is usually higher.  

LinkedIn does have one big advantage, however, and that’s that you can be much more specific with your targeting. The platform allows advertisers to reach users based on a range of criteria including job title, industry, size of organisation and level of seniority. This is particularly useful if, as mentioned above, the cost of your service is determined by the size of your client.  

Of course, the drawback here is that when you reach those potential customers they may not be in a position to buy. That is a key disadvantage when compared to Google and means that LinkedIn advertising requires a different and arguably more well-considered strategy.  

While the popularity of LinkedIn advertising is increasing, it is definitely not as competitive as Google meaning you could find it easier to obtain clicks. And, though the content and strategy of your campaigns will take some consideration, LinkedIn is probably the easier platform to use if you’re not a marketer, or you are new to digital advertising.  

Why not both? 

If you’re still not sure which to opt for, or you can see the advantages of both platforms, then it may be worth trialling both Google and LinkedIn advertising. There is certainly a case to be made for both and many businesses do use each of the platforms in tandem. However, if you don’t have the budget for it, or you know exactly where your customers are likely to be online, then pick the one most likely to maximise your ROI.

Deciding where to spend your marketing resources can be challenging, so if you’re unsure on your next best steps, get in touch with the team at Clearly.