AdSense vs. Ad Manager: What’s the Difference?

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James Smith

You might have heard the terms AdSense and Ad Manager thrown around, but what do they mean? These two Google programs can seem like at first glance, but they’re pretty different. Here’s what you need to know about each one to make sure you get the program that’s right for your site and ad goals!

Introduction To Google Ad Manager

The second big ad product on Google is called Google Ad Manager. It was introduced in 2010 after Google acquired DoubleClick. For some time it was known as DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), but it has since become its program.

Ad manager

A lot of publishers today use both AdSense and Ad Manager to monetize their sites. This means that you can have ads served through both platforms on your site. While they are similar in many ways, there are also key differences between them that you should be aware of before deciding which one to use.

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Introduction To Google Adsense

With Google Adsense, you use a simple HTML code to display targeted ads on your website or your blogs. You will earn money each time a visitor clicks on these ads. Your earnings can be withdrawn directly into your bank account via PayPal.





Google takes a 45% cut of your earnings, leaving you with 55%. To benefit from their service, you must use Google Search Console to activate Adsense and link it to a specific website.

Difference Between AdSense and Ad manager

1. Overview

Google offers two primary ways to monetize a website: Google AdSense and Google Ad Manager. Both have their pros and cons, but one’s better for certain websites than others. The choice depends on many factors including site type, revenue goals, traffic source, content type, and more. Let’s break down how these two platforms work so you can decide which one is right for your site.

2. Google Account Structure

When you’re just starting, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of Google’s offerings. There are two primary products in its suite: Google Ad Manager and Google AdSense. While both are run through your Google account, they serve very different purposes. Here’s how to decide which is right for you—and whether to use both!

First, let’s look at what they have in common. All of your data (including earnings and insights) will live under one roof so that you don’t have to manually transfer any information from one system to another. Google also lets you manage multiple accounts through a single login, which is helpful if you run multiple sites or are part of an agency.

3. Payment Channels

Google now has two primary monetization channels for publishers in its advertising programs, AdWords and AdSense. Both were created to help publishers monetize their websites, mobile apps, content, videos, or applications.

While both channels are owned by Google, they differ significantly in how they work with you to get more traffic to your website. The main difference between them is that while AdSense delivers text ads based on content on your site, Google’s Ad Manager serves display ads across multiple publishers.

4. Which to Choose

Google is a huge company, so it’s not surprising that they have many different services in their arsenal to help you generate revenue from your websites. If you’re thinking about using an ad network on your site, you may be wondering which one to choose—AdSense or Ad manager? How do they compare, and what are their pros and cons? Let’s explore both of these networks in-depth below.

5. Reporting in AdSense

If you’re using Google AdSense, you can access a lot of detailed reporting. And not just for current performance—you can also see how you performed historically in comparison to previous months or years, which is important to know when it comes time to renew.

You can even set your benchmarks so that you know if your revenue has been growing or shrinking over time. In short, if you use AdSense, you have an incredible amount of data at your fingertips.

Read More: AdWords vs. AdSense – What’s the Difference?

6. Reporting in Ad Manager

While you can access several reporting features in AdSense (which we’ll get to in a moment), it’s worth noting that Google offers a robust reporting system specifically for Ad Manager accounts. I find myself logging into my Ad Manager account just to review my reports!

You can create custom dashboards with your most important metrics, set up email alerts, export data, and even view ad performance over time by day or hour. You can also share your reports with other users who have manager-level permissions within your organization—and if you’re an agency managing multiple clients on Ad Manager, you may appreciate being able to consolidate all of your data into one place.

Comparison Between Adsense and Google Ad Manager

Comparison Google Ad Manager Google AdSense
What is it Ad Manager is a Google platform for publishers, advertisers, and agencies to exchange inventories via RTB and private auctions. Ad Network contacts publishers to gather their inventory details and passes them to advertisers/agencies to place their bids.
Dealing DFP allows private auctions, preferred deals, and CPM, CPC, and other such auction types. Google AdSense pays based on CPM and CPC models only.
Buyers (Advertisers and Agencies) Buyers from other exchanges, ad networks, SSPs, DSPs, and Google Display Network are allowed. Only Google Display Network advertisers bid for publishers’ inventories.
Payment Once the threshold balance is reached, Google sends the money to the publisher’s account by the end of the month. Once the threshold balance is reached, a 21-day payment processing period begins, after which, the payment is issued.
Ideal user Large publishers with more than 5,00,000 page views per month. Small and medium-sized publishers with lesser page views.


It’s easy to see that there are many differences between Google’s ad products. While AdSense offers greater customization, targeting, and flexibility, it’s also a little more complex. If you need help setting up or customizing your ad unit, you can always reach out to a Google Ads representative or advertising professional in your area.

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