Best practices for advertising software subscriptions

Individuals and businesses often turn to Google to find software. Besides selling software as a boxed and dispatched product or as a one-time download, you can sell your software as a subscription, where users buy a licence for a year or longer to use the software for a prepaid fee.

This article explains how to structure your product data and landing pages when submitting software subscriptions to Google.

How to submit a subscription

Not all software subscriptions are supported on Shopping ads.

First, in order for your subscription to be supported on Shopping ads, it will need to meet these requirements:

Requirements for your product data

To make sure that we understand the product data you're submitting for your software subscriptions, follow these formatting guidelines for each attribute. Learn more about uploading a feed.

Title

  • Include the word 'subscription' and the subscription duration in the title. The word 'subscription' and the subscription duration can appear anywhere in the value for the title [title] attribute. For example, you can submit a product with 'Your Product (one-year subscription)' or 'Your Product (12-month subscription)'.

Learn more about the title [title] attribute

Price

  • Submit the price for the full length of the software subscription, with a minimum of one year. If the prepaid 12-month subscription comes with any subsidised or free periods, include those in the total price. If your subscription costs more (or less) for the first year than for the following years, submit the prepaid price for the first year. If you like, you can instead submit the prepaid price for multiple years.

Learn more about the price [price] attribute

Examples

  • If you're advertising a prepaid subscription for 12 months that's GBP 29.90, you should submit GBP 29.90 for the price.
  • If you're running a promotion where the first month of your 12-month software subscription is free and the normal annual price is GBP 120, submit GBP 110 for the price and indicate the same price clearly on your landing page.

Google product category

  • Use the Software > Computer Software (313) category to let us know when you're submitting a software subscription, or use one of its subcategories. For example:
    • Software > Computer Software > Antivirus & Security Software (5299)

Learn more about the google_product_category [google_product_category] attribute

GTIN, MPN and brand

Brands, Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs) are global product codes associated with an individual product or product variant. These codes are required for most products, but shop-brand and white-label products usually won't have unique product identifiers. Providing unique product identifiers, especially GTINs, can make your ads richer and easier for users to find.

  • For products with unique product identifiers, submit the codes assigned by the manufacturer for the gtin [gtin], brand [brand] and mpn [mpn] attribute
  • For shop-brand and white-label products without a GTIN, submit the brand [brand] and mpn [mpn] attributes. Also submit the identifier_exists [identifier_exists] attribute with a value of no.

Learn more about unique product identifiers.

Delivery

  • Submit delivery cost as 0 (if delivery cost is required for your target country) when advertising an intangible product such as a software subscription, digital content or downloadable software. For example, USD 0.00, EUR 0.00, GBP 0.00. You can submit delivery cost through the shipping [shipping] attribute or through your account delivery settings.

Learn more about delivery settings.

Image link

  • Submit an image of the software box or cover art, such as you would submit for a physically boxed version of the software. You can also submit a logo or icon.

Learn more about the image_link [image_link] attribute.

Tip: Submit an image of the software box or cover art

While you can submit logos, we recommend professional images, such as a software box or cover art, whenever possible for the following reasons:

  • People browsing your ads might have trouble telling your products apart if they see the same image for multiple options such as basic, premium and enterprise. Boxed images or cover art can help convey the differences between each version of your software.

Example

Product One-year subscription for Google Security Software Basic Edition
title [title] Google Security Software Basic Edition (One-year Subscription)
price [price] USD 29.90
google_product_category [google_product_category] Software > Computer Software > Antivirus & Security Software
brand [brand] Google
mpn [mpn] G-ABC123
gtin [gtin] 1234567890123
shipping [shipping] US:CA:Ground:0 USD
image_link [image_link] http://www.example.com/software-box.jpg

Requirements for your landing pages

When submitting software subscriptions, follow these requirements for your landing pages.

Create a separate landing page for each product variant

  • Show each software subscription variant on a separate landing page. For example, if your software has three versions (basic, premium and enterprise), then make sure that each version has its own landing page.

Display the total price and pre-select the right option

  • Prominently display and pre-select the price for the full length of the software subscription, with a minimum of one year. If the prepaid 12-month subscription comes with any subsidised or free periods, then include those in the displayed price. If your subscription costs more (or less) for the first year than for the following years, submit the prepaid price for the first year. If you like, you can instead submit the prepaid price for multiple years.

Example

If you're advertising a prepaid subscription for 12 months that's GBP 29.90, then display and pre-select GBP 29.90 for the price on your landing page.

Provide terms of renewal and cancellation

  • Clearly state in your terms of renewal and cancellation whether the product is for a fixed term or whether it is automatically renewed. Also explain the cancellation options, and explain under which conditions the auto-renewal occurs at the end of the prepaid duration.

Learn more about requirements for Shopping ads landing pages

Examples

Here are some examples of terms of renewal and cancellation that would fit Google's policy. However, speak to your own legal advisers to create terms that work best for your situation.

  • 'This software subscription expires after 12 months and is not automatically renewed. Use your account settings to renew your subscription manually'.
  • 'Your subscription lasts for two years, and you can cancel at any time prior to the end of your subscription for a prorated refund. At the end of your two-year subscription, your subscription will auto-renew on an annual basis, and you will incur the cost for the subscription until you explicitly cancel your subscription by logging into your account and clicking Cancel subscription in your account settings'.

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