Ecommerce Growth

The Complete Guide to Identifying Your Shopify Audience

Ecommerce Growth

The Complete Guide to Identifying Your Shopify Audience

Mastering Your Shopify Audience: A Guide for E-commerce Success

In the world of e-commerce, understanding your Shopify audience is crucial for driving growth and maximizing your store's potential. To get you started on this journey, here are the key essentials:

  1. Identify past buying behavior to craft ads that resonate with target customers.
  2. Use live data to stay updated on shopper trends and preferences.
  3. Leverage detailed reports to gain insights and improve ad campaigns.

As the e-commerce landscape evolves, Shopify has transformed the way merchants connect with their audiences. The platform's robust tools, including Shopify Audiences, empower businesses to create tailored marketing strategies based on precise data and insights. By leveraging these tools effectively, Shopify stores can drive impressive growth and enhance customer engagement.

Hello, I’m Steve Pogson, an e-commerce growth specialist with over 20 years of experience. My mission is to help businesses harness the power of Shopify Audiences to scale their online presence and achieve remarkable success.

How Shopify Audiences Work - shopify audience infographic infographic-line-3-steps

Now, let's delve deeper into understanding what Shopify Audiences are and who can benefit from them.

Understanding Shopify Audiences

Shopify Audiences is a powerful tool designed to help eCommerce merchants identify and target high-intent buyers. This section will explain what a Shopify Audience is and who benefits from it.

What is a Shopify Audience?

Shopify Audiences is a prospecting tool developed by Shopify, specifically for Shopify Plus merchants in the U.S. and Canada. It uses machine learning to generate audience lists for advertising platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These lists identify potential buyers who are likely to purchase your products.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Data Collection: Shopify collects data from its vast network of merchants to understand buyer behaviors.
  2. List Generation: Using machine learning, Shopify creates lists of high-intent buyers based on product attributes and customer behavior.
  3. Export and Use: Merchants can export these lists to their advertising platforms to run targeted ad campaigns.

This tool is currently available only for Facebook and Instagram, but Shopify plans to expand to other platforms like TikTok and Microsoft Advertising in the future.

Who Benefits from Shopify Audiences?

Shopify Audiences is designed to benefit a wide range of businesses, from small startups to large enterprises. Here’s how different types of businesses can leverage this tool:

Small Businesses

For small businesses, finding the right customers can be a daunting task. Shopify Audiences simplifies this by providing curated lists of high-intent buyers. This helps small businesses:- Save Time: Focus on the right audience without extensive research.- Increase ROI: Get better returns on ad spend by targeting relevant shoppers.- Scale Faster: Quickly reach new customers and grow.

Example: BlenderBottle, a fitness bottle brand, saw up to six times the return on ad spend using Shopify Audiences.

Large Enterprises

Large enterprises often have complex marketing strategies and need to reach a broad audience. Shopify Audiences helps them:- Refine Targeting: Use detailed data to segment and target specific customer groups.- Optimize Budget: Allocate ad spend more efficiently based on audience insights.- Enhance Attribution: Understand which campaigns drive the most conversions.


Dropshippers rely heavily on digital advertising to drive sales. Shopify Audiences offers them:- Efficient Prospecting: Quickly identify and target potential buyers.- Improved Performance: Use data-driven insights to optimize ad campaigns.- Scalability: Easily scale ad efforts across multiple platforms.

Note: Currently, Shopify Audiences is only available for Shopify Plus merchants in the U.S. and Canada. However, its success in these regions suggests it may expand to other areas in the future.

target audience - shopify audience

By understanding the capabilities and benefits of Shopify Audiences, businesses can better tailor their marketing strategies to reach and convert high-intent buyers.

Next, we’ll dive into how you can access and use Shopify Audiences to maximize your advertising efforts.

How to Access and Use Shopify Audiences

Setting Up Shopify Audiences

Setting up Shopify Audiences is straightforward, but first, you need to meet some eligibility criteria. Your store must be a Shopify Plus store, use Shopify Payments, and be based in the U.S. or Canada.

Installation Steps:

  1. Check Your Eligibility
  2. Log in to your Shopify store.
  3. Ensure you are a Shopify Plus merchant using Shopify Payments.

  4. Install the Shopify Audiences App

  5. From your Shopify admin, navigate to Apps.
  6. Go to Installed apps and select the Shopify Audiences app.
  7. Click Set up audiences.
  8. Enable data contribution by clicking Turn on.
  9. Agree to the terms and conditions.

  10. Connect to Facebook

  11. Click Set up to connect Shopify Audiences to your Facebook account.
  12. Enter your password and click Continue.
  13. Select the Facebook Ads account for exporting your Shopify audiences.
  14. Click Accept terms for Facebook’s Custom Audiences.

Integrating with Advertising Platforms

Once you’ve set up Shopify Audiences, the next step is to integrate it with your advertising platforms. Currently, Shopify Audiences supports major platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Connecting to Facebook and Instagram:

  1. Facebook
  2. After setting up Shopify Audiences, select Facebook as your advertising platform.
  3. Ensure you have an active Facebook Ads account.
  4. Follow the prompts to connect your Shopify Audiences to your Facebook Ads account.

  5. Instagram

  6. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, the integration process is similar.
  7. Use the same Facebook Ads account to run Instagram ads.
  8. Export your Shopify audiences directly to Instagram via Facebook Ads Manager.

Other Digital Ads Platforms:

  • Google Ads
  • Connect your Google Ads account to Shopify Audiences.
  • Export your audience lists to Google for targeted advertising.

  • Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok

  • Shopify has recently added support for these platforms.
  • Follow similar steps to connect and export audiences to these ad platforms.

Data Sharing and Privacy:

Shopify ensures data privacy through secure customer data hashing and aggregation. Exported audiences are encrypted and cannot be downloaded from advertising platforms. Businesses can manage contacts’ opt-out preferences within the Shopify admin to comply with regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

By integrating Shopify Audiences with these platforms, you can enhance your ad targeting and achieve better results.

Next, we’ll explore strategies for targeting your ideal Shopify audience to maximize your advertising efforts.

Strategies for Targeting Your Ideal Shopify Audience

Crafting Effective Ad Campaigns

Data Analysis and Customer Segmentation

To create effective ad campaigns, start with thorough data analysis. Analyze your existing customer data to identify trends and patterns. This will help you understand who your best customers are and what they want.

Customer segmentation is crucial. By grouping customers based on shared traits—like buying behavior, demographics, or interests—you can tailor your ads to resonate more with each group. For instance, Mac Duggal used these techniques and saw a 2.3x increase in retargeting audience size and a 3.6x lower cost per purchase.

Ad Customization and Product Focus

Once you have segmented your customers, focus on ad customization. Tailor your ad content to speak directly to each segment. Use language and images that resonate with their specific interests and needs.

Also, ensure your ads have a clear product focus. Highlight the benefits and features of the products that each customer segment is most interested in. This increases the likelihood of conversion.

Leveraging Machine Learning

Audience Refinement and Predictive Analytics

Shopify Audiences uses machine learning to refine your audience targeting. This technology analyzes vast amounts of data to predict which customers are most likely to convert. By leveraging these insights, you can focus your advertising efforts on the most promising leads.

Predictive analytics plays a key role here. It helps you anticipate future buying behaviors based on past data. This means you can create ads that not only address current needs but also predict and cater to future ones.

For example, by using predictive analytics, you can identify which products are likely to be popular in the coming months and start promoting them early. This proactive approach can give you a significant edge over competitors.

By combining these strategies—data analysis, customer segmentation, ad customization, product focus, audience refinement, and predictive analytics—you'll be well-equipped to target your ideal Shopify audience effectively.

Next, we’ll discuss how to measure the success of your Shopify Audience strategies to ensure continuous improvement.

Measuring the Success of Your Shopify Audience Strategies

Once you've implemented your Shopify Audience strategies, measure their success. This involves tracking campaigns, analyzing ROI, and making data-driven adjustments. Let’s break it down.

Overview and Detailed Reporting

Shopify Audiences provides two types of reports:

  • Overview Reports: These give you a bird’s-eye view of how your campaigns are performing. You can see general metrics like total sales, total orders, and audience size.

  • Detailed Reports: These dive deeper into specific metrics. You’ll find data on orders, sales, average order value (AOV), new customers, and top products sold. For example, you can see the estimated number of orders from customers in a specific audience and calculate the AOV using the formula: Sales ÷ Orders.

Example: Mac Duggal, a Shopify merchant, used detailed reports to more than double their retargeting audience size and achieved a 3.6x lower cost per purchase with their retargeting ad set.

Adjusting Strategies Based on Insights

Campaign Tracking and ROI Analysis

Track your campaigns closely. Know where your ad spend is going and what it's bringing back in return. Shopify Audiences helps you understand your ROI by showing how much revenue each audience generates. For instance, if a customer is in multiple audiences, Shopify splits the order and sales amount equally among the audiences responsible.

Benchmarking Tool

Use Shopify’s benchmarking tool to see how your campaigns stack up against your competitors. This tool lets you compare your performance with similar stores or industry groupings. It’s a valuable way to identify areas for improvement.

Performance Metrics

Keep an eye on key performance metrics like impressions, clicks, and conversions. These metrics help you understand how well your ads are engaging your audience and driving sales.

Feedback Loops and Campaign Adjustments

Use the insights from your reports to create feedback loops. This means regularly reviewing your data, identifying what’s working, and making necessary adjustments to your campaigns. For example, if you notice a particular ad set is performing well, consider allocating more budget to it.

Tip: Analyze reports on ad campaign spend, impressions, and clicks on platforms like Facebook to get a well-rounded view of your campaign’s performance.

By continuously monitoring and adjusting your strategies, you can improve your targeting and maximize your returns.

Next, let’s tackle some frequently asked questions about Shopify Audiences to clear up any uncertainties you might have.

Frequently Asked Questions about Shopify Audiences

What is the cost of using Shopify Audiences?

Shopify Audiences is included in the Shopify Plus plan for merchants in the U.S. and Canada. There’s no additional cost for using the app itself, but keep in mind that you will still incur costs related to your ad spend on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

How does Shopify ensure data privacy in Audiences?

Shopify takes data privacy very seriously. Here are some key measures they employ:

  • Secure Data Hashing: Customer data is hashed and aggregated to ensure it remains anonymous.
  • Encrypted Transmission: All exported audience data is transmitted securely using encryption.
  • Opt-Out Preferences: Merchants can manage contacts' opt-out preferences directly within their Shopify admin.

These measures help build and maintain trust with your customers, which is crucial given that 87% of consumers would stop supporting a brand if its data security practices are questionable.

Can Shopify Audiences integrate with other e-commerce tools?

Yes, Shopify Audiences can integrate with multiple advertising platforms. Currently, it supports Facebook, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Criteo. Shopify has also announced plans to roll out integration with TikTok in phases.

These integrations allow you to create and export audience lists seamlessly, making it easier to target your ideal customers across various platforms.

Next, let’s wrap up by summarizing what we’ve learned and exploring how First Pier can help you optimize your Shopify store.


In this guide, we've explored how Shopify Audiences can revolutionize your e-commerce strategy. From understanding what a Shopify Audience is, to setting it up, integrating with advertising platforms, and measuring campaign success, we've covered a lot of ground.

Shopify Audiences offers a powerful way to target customers with precision, leveraging data and machine learning to drive higher conversions and ROI. Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, this tool can help you reach your ideal audience effectively.

First Pier: Your Partner in E-commerce Optimization

At First Pier, we specialize in helping businesses like yours navigate the complexities of e-commerce. Our expertise in Shopify development and optimization ensures that your store not only meets but exceeds your business goals.

We understand that every e-commerce business is unique. That's why we offer tailored solutions to address your specific challenges. Whether you need help with SEO, migrating your store to Shopify, or optimizing your product pages, we're here to support you every step of the way.

Why Choose First Pier?

  • Expertise in Shopify: We know the ins and outs of Shopify and can help you leverage its full potential.
  • Comprehensive Services: From SEO to custom development, we offer a wide range of e-commerce services.
  • Tailored Solutions: We provide personalized strategies to meet your unique business needs.
  • Proven Success: Our clients have seen significant improvements in traffic, conversions, and overall revenue.

Ready to Optimize Your Shopify Store?

Don't leave your e-commerce success to chance. With First Pier, you can unlock your Shopify store's full potential and achieve ultimate success.

Visit our e-commerce services page to learn more about how we can help you optimize your Shopify store for maximum growth.

Thank you for reading! We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into identifying and targeting your Shopify audience. If you have any questions or need further assistance, reach out. We're here to help you succeed in e-commerce.

There's more where that came from

Enjoyed the read? There’s a heap more where that came from! Hit the ‘Subscribe’ button below, it’s a two-second affair, but the bounty of e-commerce wisdom we share is endless. You’d be silly not to!