As an ecommerce manager for a subscription product, you may have ruled out Shopping placements on search networks as a potential revenue stream for your business. While it is true that Google Shopping does not support promoting products with recurring billing (with a few exceptions, such as newspapers or mobile devices), we have yet to let that stop us from making this growing channel viable for our clients! According to a 2019 Merkle study, Google Shopping now accounts for 65% of all Google Ads clicks. This means we see this channel as a must for any ecommerce brand during the holidays.

While we still have some time ahead of the holidays, here are a couple of options you should consider to expand your revenue stream through Shopping placements:

  • Run Shopping ads on Microsoft Ads
    • This is the easiest starting point as recurring payments are accepted by Microsoft Ads as long as the terms are fairly disclosed prior to the purchase. You’ll need to make sure your landing page or checkout page includes the amount of each individual payment and clarifies where and how users can cancel their subscription in the future.
    • If you’re running a seasonal promotion on your subscription during the holidays, make sure it is clear that it is a promotional offer, list how long the promotional offer will be in effect for their subscription, and list what the regular price of payment will be after the promotion ends.

As you see below, these women subscription boxes promote their monthly price in their advertising on Microsoft Shopping Ads. Ipsy, for example, showcases this $12 monthly price option on their landing page and restates that it is a monthly recurring charge on their final checkout page as well. They also directly clarify how users can cancel their subscription at any point.


microsoft shopping ad listing

Landing Page:

microsoft shopping ad landing page

Final Checkout:

microsoft shopping ad final checkout
  • Create a gift card product to run across Google Shopping & Microsoft Shopping Ads
    • If you already have a gift card purchasing option on your website, this could be a great opportunity for you to grow your gift card revenue stream.
    • With the impact of COVID-19 on shipping operations, we expect to see an increase in digital gift card purchases this holiday season.

Below is an example of how Glossybox presents their gift card offering on a shopping placement. They provide a direct value (as needed by Google Shopping or Microsoft Shopping) and the subscription length that this value would cover as a gift. We recommend testing multiple gift card options for different lengths of your subscription, such as a 1 month offering or a subscription for the entire year.

gift card shopping ad placement
  • Pivot your product
    • This is the option that will require the most development work, but will likely have the most significant impact on revenue for your business. Consider these options:
      • Could you also offer the option for a one time purchase on the product page during the holidays?
      • Could you offer a time-bound subscription for a quarter or a year and have purchasers pay up front?
      • Are there add-ons or other products outside of your subscription service that you could promote on Shopping to bring in potential new customers that may later subscribe? (*note: products must be eligible to be purchased by anyone, not just existing customers)

Below is a screenshot of how Manscaped defaults to their subscription offering on their landing page from a Shopping ad, but also provides a one time purchase option.

subscription vs. one time purchase option from shopping ad
  • Don’t forget about other shopping ad placements
    • Don’t just wait for the brief minutes your target audience is on a search engine. Get in front of your target audience where they spend the most time with shoppable placements on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snap, & TikTok.
    • According to App Annie in a recent COVID-19 update, the average user is now spending 4 hours and 20 minutes per day on their smartphones. If you’re not investing in these app placements, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to get in front of your target audience where they are most captivated.

Image credit: App Annie

average daily mobile app usage

When considering any of the above options, it’s important to make sure you’re still providing a holistic experience for your subscription customers. Be as transparent as possible on your landing page about your subscription offering. For even more crafty strategy around promoting your subscription product through Shopping ads, reach out to Metric Theory for a consultation.