eCommerce Lifestyle

Free Product Listing Ads?


​On April 21st, Google announced that it's free to sell on Google. This caused confusion in the community because people read this as PLAs are going away. So in today's episode of the podcast,​ I discuss Free Ads vs Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

If you have any questions, feel free to tag me on social media! 

What's Covered in This Episode:

  • ​Free ads vs PLAs
  • ​How to get products to the free section
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What's up everybody? Anton Kraly here from and welcome back to the podcast. So if you're new here, first time listener maybe, just know that this show is here to help you increase your revenue, automate your operations and become number one in your niche. Whatever that may be. I do two new episodes a week, every Monday and Thursday morning. And if that sounds like something you're interested in, growing your business and following along weekly, I would highly recommend searching in whatever podcast player you use for eCommerce Lifestyle. We should be right at the top of the list, click subscribe, and get notified every time a new episode goes live. So with that being said, for today's episode, I'm going to be answering a question that came in via Facebook, but I'm also going to be expanding on it a bit to share this information with you.

So the question that came in was from Ruthie, and Ruthie said, "Will the course be updated to include the Google free ads now? Are the free ads also PLAs? Thanks." So let me break that down. When Ruthie is saying the course, she's referring to Drop Ship Lifestyle, which is my e-commerce coaching program. When she says Google free ads, she's referring to a blog post that Google put out on April 21st, and it was called It's Now Free To Sell On Google. And then she's asking are the free ads also PLAs? PLAs stands for Product Listing Ads, which is a way that you can advertise products on Google and a way that I love love, love, and have been using for a long time. So yeah, let me get to the short answer first and then we'll break this all down.

So yes, in Drop Ship Lifestyle in the members area, it's constantly updated and there will be a tweak to the Google product listing ad module that shows you where to click, to be eligible for the free version. So the thing about this though, is that when that blog post came out on Google a couple of weeks ago now, and when it got picked up and syndicated by all these different online blogs and whatnot, people were kind of confused in the community. Like, what does this mean? Because it literally says it's now free to sell on Google. So a lot of people that own stores that pay to advertise on Google Shopping through Google product listing ads, were thinking like is my whole business changed now? Like, am I going to stop getting billed? Am I going to go out of business because my competition now is going to skyrocket because it's free? And that was, I guess, justified confusion, but that's really not what happened. Okay.

So all of the strategies that you probably used to use and definitely the ones that we used to use, we're still using and they're still working just as well as before and that's because even though part of Google Shopping is free now, Google product listing ads are not free. And the keyword there is ads. Okay. So you have Google product listings. You have Google Shopping, which is the tab people can click on. Let's say you go to, search for a chandelier. If you click shopping, you're going to see physical products for sale. Okay. But Google shopping ads or Google product listing ads are the paid ones. So what's the difference. If you were to say three weeks ago, what's the difference? There was no difference because it was just all paid. Now Google is opening up basically some free real estate where people can rank organically in the Google Shopping tab.

Now, one thing that you can, I guess, draw similarities to is if you just went to the homepage of Google and you searched for gigantic crystal chandelier, right, just on the homepage. In your search results, you're going to see at the top, the ads, the search text ads, the ones where it actually has the box around it, and it says add choices and those are the ones that people are paying for. Then below that you basically have the free listings meaning the organic results. So that's how Google has always handled search text ads. What they're doing now with Google product listing ads is if you go to and you searched for chandelier, or again, giant crystal chandelier or whatever it is you're searching for, in addition to what you always see, you're going to see the box that has different physical products for sale. Again, this is not new. This is how it's been for years and years and years.

So you're on, you're on the search results, you see the search text ads that are paid, you see the organic listings that are free. Then you see a box of different products that matched what you searched for. You see the price, you can click there, go right to those product pages. Now those are Google product listing ads. And as far as everything Google has said, and as far as I see this moving into the future, those are still going to be paid because that is extremely valuable real estate. And that's what drives most of the sales that come from Google Shopping. Because that's how you catch all that traffic from those people that are searching for the products you have to sell. And then right there, without them even clicking into the shopping tab, they're seeing your products, they're seeing the prices, they can click, they can go right to your product page. So again, that is not changing. It hasn't changed. And in my opinion, it's not changing anytime soon.

So then where are the free listings that Google blogged about? Well, okay. Let's say you did that same search, right,, gigantic crystal chandelier. You see your search text ads, you see your free organic ads, you see your Google product listing ads. Then one of the links you see across the header of results says shopping. Then you click shopping. So now you're in Google Shopping. The top line of products that you see, those are still sponsored. So the top things you see are still paid. Those are still product listing ads. Again, the people that are at the top are the people that are running ads the same way we've always been. Now, when you go down a little bit and you scroll on the page, you see all of the Google product listings. That is where it is now free to advertise.

So if you went back three weeks ago, again, it was just all paid. Now it's on the instant results someone gets when they search on Google, still paid. When they click to shopping, the top line of products, still paid. Under that, that's where you can now get listed for free. So what does this mean? How does it affect your business? Well, first of all, again, I don't recommend changing anything in your ad account right now. If it's profitable, let it run. That's what we are doing, but what you can do and what I recommend you do is if you have any products in your collections or catalogs, right. Any suppliers you sell for maybe, or any certain price range of products that already exist on your store, where it's always been hard for you to make paid ads work profitably because maybe the margin just isn't there, right? Maybe there's not enough of a spread. So you can't really pay to acquire customers for them. What we've done historically with those types of products are just omit them from our Google product listing ads. And we've relied on direct and organic traffic to sell them because if we don't have ad costs, they're still profitable.

Now you can continue to do that, but you can also have them listed in the main Google Shopping section in the Google product listings, not ads. So it's another way to get free traffic to those products, again, where your margins might not be high enough to validate or allow for an ad spend. So what do you do? How do you get your products put in to the free section? Well, it's actually really simple. If you already have a Google Merchant Center account, which you need to run Google Ads anyway, then you can just go into it. And you can go into your settings and you can enable, you just like literally check a box that says, I think it's like make eligible for surfaces across Google. I don't know if make eligible's the correct wording. But you basically have to turn on the fact that you want to be part of surfaces across Google.

Once you do that, all of your products are now eligible to be in that free section. So do that, get all of your products there, especially the ones again that you couldn't make money with. Now when you're in your Google Ad account and you're making your Google product listing ads, remember those are the ones that you want to be on that first search results page. Those are the ones you want to be on the top above everybody else. Those I don't recommend making any changes with, because again, if they were running profitable, they still should definitely be running profitable. And there's no reason to make tweaks there. So basically keep what's working, working. And then any of those products that you didn't have margins for, go ahead, enable surfaces across Google inside of your Google Merchant Center account. And those products will start appearing in that free section. And then you'll actually be able to track revenue to that too and see if you're making more money on those products with zero ad spend.

So the way I see this now, again, early on, this whole change, it was announced like three weeks ago, it went into effect probably about 10 days ago, from the point I'm recording this video. So kind of still watching this all play out. But at this point I still think it's a really great thing because we can pay and optimize our ads for what works and we can get more free traffic for the products that if we sell them, great, if we don't, whatever. So the only other thing I'll say is just like with Google organic text results, right, to rank for keywords, you want to optimize your product feed. So your product catalog, because that's how Google determines where you're going to be placed, whether that be for your paid product listing ads or your free product listings. So I'll probably talk more about that in Drop Ship Lifestyle in my e-commerce coaching program. The thing is I already talk a lot about that and what you do to optimize your product listings, or I'm sorry, your product catalog for the paid version also works for the free. So really just continue doing everything that I said and then enable the surfaces across Google option for everything else that is free. Make more money, get more sales and yeah, again, Ruthie, just to directly answer that question. Yes. I will be updating the module in Drop Ship Lifestyle to show where to click, but yeah, really pretty simple. Again, I see this as a huge win for everybody.

And as always guys, if you have any questions, please do reach out. Again, I like this format of the show where I'm answering questions from social. So please do ask. You can go ahead also and go to Then if you click contact, you can submit questions for the show there. And as always, if you got value from this episode, please do me a favor, go to our Apple Podcast page, leave a review. It really helps. And if you know anybody that would benefit from this episode, please share the episode with them, get the word out, help more people build successful e-commerce stores. So that's it guys. Appreciate you. And I will talk to you in the next episode. See you.

  • Bruno says:

    But those free Google product listing are for U. S. Only.

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