Google Local Services Ads vs. Google Ads

Google Local Services Ads vs. Google Ads

As businesses across the UK desperately try to maximise their online visibility, Google's advertising platforms continue to offer robust tools to reach potential customers.

Google Local Services Ads and Google Ads are powerful options tailored to meet different marketing requirements... and budgets.

Understanding what makes the two advertising platforms unique makes the difference between the success and failure of campaigns.

Read on to find out which you should try spending your hard-earned marketing budget on first.

What are Google Local Services Ads?

Google Local Services Ads (also known as LSAs, and Google Guaranteed ads) are designed to connect local businesses with customers who search for specific services in their area.

These ads appear at the top of Google Search results, above traditional Google Ads, when users search for services your business offers, such as plumbing, electricians, locksmiths, and house cleaning. The ads can also be linked to another hugely valuable asset, your Google Business Profile.

Key features of Google Local Services Ads

  • Pay Per Lead: Unlike traditional pay-per-click models, you only pay Google when you receive a contact directly through the ad.
  • Google Guarantee: Businesses that pass Google’s screening and qualification process earn the 'Google Guaranteed' badge of trust, enhancing credibility. Also, in some cases, Google will refund customers up to £1,500 (in the UK) if a dispute arises between you and your customer.
  • Local Focus: These ads are optimised for local service providers and only appear in certain scenarios, based on what the customer is searching for.
Google Local Services Ads vs Google Ads
An Example of Google Local Services Ads vs Google Ads

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is a flexible and comprehensive advertising platform that allows businesses to create ads that appear in Google’s search engine and other Google-owned assets, e.g. YouTube.

Google Ads offers the flexibility to run various ads, including search ads, display ads, video ads, and more.

Key Features of Google Ads

  • Cost-Effective: You control your budget and only pay when someone clicks on your ad (pay-per-click model). According to Google, the average return on ad spend (ROAS) is around 200%. That means, on average, businesses running pay-per-click (PPC) see a return of about £2 for every £1 spent. That makes Google Ads one of the most effective ways to advertise online (or offline!).
  • Advanced Targeting: Utilise extensive targeting options, including demographics, interests, location, and more, to reach your ideal audience.
  • Wide Reach: Your ads can appear in search results, partner websites, YouTube, and inside apps, reaching customers at various stages of the buying cycle.

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When to use Local Services Ads vs. Google Ads

Google Local Services Ads are a great fit for local businesses offering specific services.

You should try LSAs if you:

  • Operate in home repair, roofing, plumbing, electrical, locksmiths, cleaning services (and a growing number of other trades and services)
  • Want to generate direct leads, such as phone calls or bookings
  • Prefer a simple, straightforward advertising model that does not require managing complex keyword strategies.

Google Ads is suitable for businesses of all sizes that aim to reach a broader audience.

Consider trying Google Ads if you:

  • Offer products or services that aren't restricted to local customers
  • Have the resources to manage and optimise more complex campaigns across multiple ad types and targeting criteria (or someone to do it for you)
  • Aim to increase brand awareness or drive traffic to an online store


Picking between Google Local Services Ads (LSAs) and Google Ads will ultimately depend on your business needs and budget.

For home services and trades wanting to generate local leads, we often recommend starting with LSAs. LSAs work seamlessly with 'normal' Google Ads, too - a tactic we regularly implement for customers over time.

On the other hand, if your goal is to reach a diverse audience with a variety of products or services, Google Ads should offer the flexibility and scale you need.

Need a hand choosing, getting set up, or optimised?

At Virens, we’ve got our very own certified Google Ads Search Professional who can implement and manage your Google Ads and LSA campaigns. If you're after expert guidance, get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

Certified Google Ads Search Professional

About Emily Williams

Emily is a bit of a marketing legend, and happens to be our Certified Google Ads Professional. Having climbed the corporate ladder in her 20s, she's been crucial to the success and subsequent sale of several high-growth and well-known businesses, including Friends Reunited (perhaps the first social network) and (one of the world's most visited websites in the 2000s).