Local Services Ads vs Google Ads: The 2024 Comparison

local services ads vs google ads

There’s a lot of ad platforms out there. It can be hard to pick the right marketing channel for your business. Couple that with technical jargon and a sea of acronyms, cutting through the noise to find the right option for your business is hard.

Amongst the options – Google Ads and Local Services Ads (LSAs) are particularly powerful tools to connect with your audience. Each has its strengths and caters to different needs.

This post breaks down the key differences, benefits, and ideal use cases for both, helping you choose the right one for your business. Let’s dive into the showdown between Local Services Ads vs Google Ads.

Introduction: The Digital Marketing Dilemma

Imagine you’re a local plumber looking to grow your business. You’ve heard about various advertising options but are unsure which to choose. Should you invest in Google Ads, known for its extensive reach and versatility, or opt for Local Services Ads, which promise high-quality local leads? This dilemma is common among many local service providers and broader businesses alike.

What Are Local Services Ads?

Local Services Ads (LSAs) are designed specifically for local service-based businesses such as plumbers, electricians, cleaners, and locksmiths. These ads appear at the very top of Google search results, making them highly visible to potential customers.

LSAs operate on a pay-per-lead model, meaning businesses only pay when a potential customer contacts them directly through the ad. Additionally, businesses using LSAs can earn a Google Guarantee badge, which boosts credibility and trust among customers​.

Below is an example of what these look like in Google search results:

local services ads vs google ads

Key Features of Local Services Ads

  1. Pay-Per-Lead Model: Unlike the traditional pay-per-click (PPC) model used in Google Ads, LSAs charge businesses only when a potential customer reaches out via the ad​.
  2. Google Guarantee Badge: This badge signifies that Google has verified the business, enhancing customer trust​.
  3. Prime Placement: LSAs appear at the very top of search results, ensuring maximum visibility​.
  4. Local Targeting: LSAs are optimized to target local customers looking for specific services, making them ideal for businesses operating within a defined geographic area​.

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, offer a versatile advertising platform that includes search ads, display ads, shopping ads, and video ads on YouTube. These ads are based on a pay-per-click model where businesses bid on keywords, and their ads appear based on these targeted terms​.

Below is an example of what these ads look like in the Google search results:

google ads vs local services ads

Key Features of Google Ads

  1. Keyword-Based Targeting: Advertisers bid on keywords relevant to their business, and ads appear when users search for these terms.
  2. Versatile Ad Formats: Google Ads support various formats, including text, image, and video ads, providing flexibility in how businesses reach their audience​.
  3. Broad Reach: These ads can appear on Google’s search results, partner websites, and within apps, offering extensive reach beyond local boundaries.
  4. Detailed Analytics: Comprehensive reporting tools help businesses track performance metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per acquisition, enabling continuous optimization​.

Major Differences Between Local Services Ads vs Google Ads

Cost Structure

  • LSAs: Operate on a pay-per-lead model, charging businesses only for qualified leads. This can be more cost-effective for service-based businesses as it ensures payment is tied to customer interactions.
  • Google Ads: Use a pay-per-click model where businesses pay for every click their ad receives, regardless of whether it leads to a conversion. This model can be more expensive, especially in highly competitive markets​​.

Ad Placement

  • LSAs: Appear at the very top of search results, above organic and PPC ads, providing prime visibility.
  • Google Ads: Can appear at the top or bottom of search results and across the Google Display Network, offering broader placement options but not necessarily top priority in search results​.

Trust and Credibility

  • LSAs: Feature the Google Guarantee badge, which signifies verified businesses and builds customer trust​.
  • Google Ads: Do not include the Google Guarantee badge but can utilize ad extensions to provide additional business information, enhancing credibility through other means​.

Targeting Options

  • LSAs: Focus on local targeting, connecting businesses with customers in their immediate vicinity looking for specific services​.
  • Google Ads: Offer extensive targeting options, including demographics, interests, and behaviors, allowing for highly customized campaigns​.

Management and Complexity

  • LSAs: Provide a simplified platform with easier management, making them accessible for businesses with limited advertising experience​.
  • Google Ads: Offer a more complex platform with extensive customization options, suitable for businesses with more advertising experience and resources​.

Industries Best Suited for Each Ad Type

Local Services Ads

industries best suited to local services ads

LSAs are ideal for local service-based businesses that rely on attracting customers within a specific geographic area. Industries that benefit most from LSAs include:

  • Home Services: Plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, locksmiths, and cleaners.
  • Health and Wellness: Chiropractors, dentists, and massage therapists.
  • Professional Services: Lawyers, real estate agents, and financial advisors.

Google Ads

Google Ads are suitable for a wide range of industries due to their versatility and extensive reach. Industries that benefit from Google Ads include:

  • E-commerce: Retailers looking to reach a broad audience and drive online sales.
  • Travel and Tourism: Hotels, airlines, and travel agencies.
  • Technology: SaaS software companies and tech startups.
  • Education: Online courses and educational institutions.


Choosing between Local Services Ads vs Google Ads depends on your business type, goals, and target audience.

LSAs offer a cost-effective solution for local service-based businesses looking to connect with nearby customers. They provide high visibility, trust through the Google Guarantee badge, and a pay-per-lead model that ensures payment is tied to customer interactions.

On the other hand, Google Ads offer versatility in ad formats, extensive targeting options, and broad reach, making them suitable for businesses aiming to increase brand visibility and drive conversions on a larger scale.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of each platform will help you make an informed decision and optimize your advertising strategy for maximum impact in 2024.

Whether you choose LSAs, Google Ads, or a combination of both, aligning your choice with your business objectives will set you on the path to digital marketing success.

For further assistance in setting up and optimizing your ad campaigns, consider partnering with a PPC agency that specializes in both platforms to maximize your return on investment. We help businesses with both, and we’d love to chat.