Recently, Shopify rolled out new features that will improve ecommerce activities on the platform. There are about 100+ of them. Some features are designed to strengthen merchants-shoppers relationships. There are some to gain an edge over competitors.
This Shopify summer 2022 Edition update comes with various tools that promise to make ecommerce profitable for merchants and shopping interesting for buyers on the platform. One of them is Shopify Audiences, the tool that aims to revolutionize ecommerce ad campaigns.
All the new features emerged under the theme Connect to consumers. Shopify Audiences is the true definition of the theme. And in this article, I will introduce you to this new tool, how to use it, and its benefits.
What is Shopify Audience?
Shopify Audiences is a tool that allows Shopify merchants to exchange customer data to improve ad prospecting and gain more sales.
When merchants install Shopify Audiences on their stores, their customer’s data are automatically collected and saved to a database. These data could be used by all other merchants that opt-in to the Shopify Audience service.
The tool improves ads by using these data to generate the right audience for any product for which a merchant wants to run an ad campaign. Merchants can then use this information to target the right audience across all ad campaign networks.
The tool is built to protect your store data and ensure customer privacy. Merchants can only view and access the customer’s data from their store. They can’t access the data from other Shopify merchant stores.
Shopify will not in any way share your customer’s information. It helps opt-in merchants develop the best target audience for their ad campaigns.
How do Shopify Audiences work?
Shopify Audiences can be a bit confusing. Besides, it’s a subject that must be handled with care because of privacy issues. The best way to describe how the Shopify Audiences work is to cite an example. Let’s say you’re a merchant that trades men’s office wears.
- Opting in for Shopify Audiences means that Shopify can collect and share the data of every customer that purchase an item in your store. The same applies to all merchants that install the Shopify Audiences on their stores. Including those in your niche and selling the same things as you.
- After installation, you can create a custom audience for every product in your store. Let’s say you want to run ads for pant trousers. The tool will run through all data collected from stores like you. It goes around seeking the data of customers who recently bought the same pant, similar pants, a fitting cooperate shirt, blazers, or other men official wears
- It makes an audience list from these data, which can then be exported to ad campaign networks as the target audience. These data do not contain any traceable or identifiable details of the shoppers. It only includes the shopping email they use to purchase things on the Shopify ecommerce store.
- You can also generate a lookalike audience from this list. This lookalike list will contain an audience with similar traits and characteristics as your custom audience, generated through Shopify Audiences. This will further expand your target area, thereby increasing conversions.
That’s a typical example of Shopify Audience in action. Shopify came up with this idea to compete with Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought” feature. Unlike Amazon, Shopify is not a multi-vendor marketplace, but a tool like Shopify Audience will create an environment where merchants can exchange buyers while still in the competition.
Why opt-in for Shopify Audiences?
At this point, you would probably want to ask, “Why would anyone in their right sense want to help their competitors?” And honestly, that’s the case with Shopify Audience.
The merchants that profits from the data you contributed are your competitors. The same is the case for you. You’re trying to convert your competitor’s customer to your side by using Shopify Audience for your ads campaign.
However, though Shopify Audiences gives the same data to all Shopify merchants in the same niche, it does not win the competition for anyone. They still have to compete with ad designs and sales copies. Only merchants who can come up with the best ad design win the game.
It only gives you an edge over those merchants who don’t use Shopify Audiences or are not on Shopify. And that’s a good thing because all your competitors can’t be Shopify merchants.
Besides, you have nothing to lose by opting for this great tool. You only lose when your competitors are enjoying this tool, and you’re not just because you don’t want to share data with your competitors.
Benefits of Using Shopify Audiences
Increased ads efficiency
Before this tool, you could only depend on your store’s data or target demographics similar to your audience’s. Meanwhile, there are chances that these customers you’re retargeting have already purchased the same product or a similar one from your store. And that’s why it always returns with less conversion.
But with Shopify Audiences, you have an extensive list containing people who haven’t bought from you, people who desperately need your product, and people who would like to try a product from a different manufacturer. Moreover, you have a new list every time you create a new campaign for a product. Prospecting is high and efficient with Shopify Audiences.
Reduced cost of ads expenses
The cost for running ads is expensive and even more costly with the latest iOS 14 update that blocks cookies on Safari, making it impossible for websites to collect apple users’ data. For this reason, merchants need to spend more on ads campaign for little or no return on investment.
Shopify Audience is a cheaper and more affordable solution for merchants. Merchants on the Shopify Plus plan don’t have to pay an extra dime to get this feature. All you need to do is to install the App on your store to get streams of valuable data for your ad campaign.
Improved conversion rate
The conversion increases when you target the right audience. It takes fewer words to convince these people because they are already interested in the product. You could get 6X of your initial conversion rate with great design and fantastic sales copy. Many businesses that have tried Shopify Audiences testify to its ability to improve conversion rates. And it’s just two months after its release.
Who’s eligible for Shopify Audiences?
Shopify Plus merchants who are home-based in the US and Canada and sell to shoppers in the countries, using Shopify payment as their checkout. Shopify Audiences is only open to merchants in these two countries. We hope they extend this tool to merchants in other countries in the coming years.
Limitations of Shopify Audiences
Aside from the country’s limitation, there is also ads networks limitation. Merchants can use this tool to generate audiences for Meta platforms. For now, it only works for Facebook and Instagram ads.
How to set up the Shopify Audiences app
- On your Shopify admin, go to Settings, then Apps and Sales Channel
- The page will contain a list of sales channels. Click Shopify Audiences
- Tap the Open App button
- Tap Set up Audiences
- Now, enable data contribution by clicking the Turn on and agreeing to terms and conditions.
Linking to ads networks (Facebook as an example)
- Then, click set up to link your Facebook account to Shopify Audiences. Make sure you connect to the business account that you use for running your ad campaigns
- Hit the connect button, and enter your Facebook account password. Then, click continue to proceed
- Select the Facebook Ad Account you want. Audience lists generated by your Shopify Audience will be automatically exported to this account
- Accept terms and conditions of Facebook’s Custom Audiences
Creating and Exporting Audience list to Ads Networks
With the last few steps, you have successfully installed Shopify Audiences and linked it to your preferred Ads campaign network. Let’s get to the main business: creating and exporting audience lists.
- Right in your Shopify Admin, go to Setting > Apps and sales channels
- Click Shopify Audience in the Apps and Sales channel
- Click open App
- Tap the create audience
- Click choose a product. Select only the product for which you want to run an ad campaign
- Give the list a name, and then hit the Export Audience button.
Shopify Audiences and Customer’s Data Privacy
The joy of using this platform is that you won’t violate privacy policies guiding digital marketing and customer data usage. Shopify built this App to secure customers’ data.
You can rest assured that the ecommerce company is not sending personal data to ads networks- they only send hashed data. Hashed data are encrypted; hence the ads network matches data from Shopify with theirs to figure each customer on the list.
Also, you can opt-out from sharing your store’s data with Shopify Audiences. All you need to do is turn off Shopify Audience data sharing. You can toggle this off in the data contribution section of your Shopify Audience Settings page.
Data privacy is so certain that your customers can even contact you to opt-out of sharing their details with digital marketing platforms. When they do, go to Apps and Sales Channel on your admin. Click Shopify Audience, then Open App. Click Member Privacy, type in the customer’s email in the Audience member email and click Submit to opt out the customer manually.
By doing this, Shopify will not include this customer data in new audience lists. However, they will still see ads directed towards lists that contain their data before opt-out.
But to clear all doubts and even put your customer’s minds at peace, we advise that you educate them about Shopify Audience. Let them know that their data is protected, and they have nothing to fear. Also, put a disclosure at the point of purchase that says their email will be shared with Shopify Audiences. Let them know that they can also opt out anytime.
Understanding Shopify Audiences Reporting
Shopify Audiences serves two report types: overview report and detailed reporting.
The overview reports show the performances of all audiences in one look. The report tells the impact of Shopify Audience on your store. Total Order and Total sales are the two key metrics in this report.
To view the overview report from your Shopify Admin, go to;
- Settings >> Apps and Sales Channel
- Click Shopify Audiences on the Apps and Sales Channel Page
- Tap the Open App button
- Click overview to view the reports
- If you like, you can use the date picker to view the records gathered over a particular period
- You can also Compare to the Previous.
Detailed reporting shows the performance of each audience list. The key metrics on this report are orders, sales, average value orders, new customers, and top products sold. You can see this report by going to
- Settings >> Apps and Sales Channel
- Then click Shopify Audience
- On the new page, click Open App
- Settings >> Apps and Sales Channel
- Tap the Overview button
- Click the audience you want the detailed report
- You can also use the date picker tool to view the report for a particular period.
Shopify Audiences uses the method of order attribution to track and display ad campaign performances. Order attribution is the only perfect method to distinguish sales and orders gotten through Shopify Audiences from other marketing strategies and campaigns.
It collates metrics by matching the email dropped by a Shopper at the point of purchase with emails on the audience list. When a shopper ID appears on many audience lists, the Order is shared between all the audiences. Orders like these are called overlap.
You can view overlap orders in the resolved overlap section. There is another metric called unrelated orders. It gives the number of orders made by customers who belong to a list but didn’t place the Order because they saw your ads. You can view orders in this category by hovering on Order on your detailed reports and clicking See more.
For accuracy, Shopify only attributes sales made by a buyer in an exported list to an audience when the ads are still active and within seven days after the ads campaign ended.
Shopify Audience is safe, accurate, and efficient from all indications and reviews. In this post-iOS 14 era, it’s the only shot merchant has to target the right audience without spending too much on ad campaigns.
Merchants in US and Canada should seize this opportunity while it’s still hot and use it to win over competitors not hosted on the Shopify server. It’s not a big deal to share customer data with others in the niche; the journey becomes easier and more promising when the data are shared.
Small business merchants will benefit a lot from this tool. They just started and have little or no data to begin ad campaigns. Shopify Audience will feed them millions of data from big merchants with many customers who have been in the niche for an extended period.
If you love this tool, contact us today. Premlall Consulting is a group of digital marketers and ecommerce marketing experts that assist small businesses in growth. Also, we are available for merchants who would love to move their online store to Shopify. Book a consultation with us now!