Shopify Audiences is a new product from Shopify that lets you use your 1st party data to find high-intent buyers and help your paid ads perform better by targeting people who look like your current customers. Think of it as building a lookalike audience based off of your customer data.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. When To Use Shopify Audiences
  3. Setting Up Shopify Audiences
  4. Create Your First Audience
  5. Shopify Audiences Best Practices
  6. Shopify Audiences Reporting
  7. Shopify Audiences FAQ


This new offering should let you decrease your cost per conversion and build a more profitable business. Facebook lookalikes were the backbone of many ad accounts back in the day and I think Shopify Audiences will be the next layer to building a business.

Right now, this Shopify product is only available to USA and Canada stores looking to use the feature on Facebook and Instagram. In the future, I can see the product rolling out globally and being available on TikTok, Pinterest and Snap. Also, I should mention that you also have to be on Shopify Plus to use this product.

When To Use Shopify Audiences?

If your brand is looking to find more prospecting audiences based off of your Shopify store data, then Shopify Audiences might be right for you. Shopify takes your store data and based on the product you use, creates an audience. Shopify will builds a lookalike audience based on the people who bought the product you selected, allowing you to improve your targeting based around your 1st party data.

If you are looking to scale up your paid social and make more revenue, while you spend more money. Shopify Audience is something you should test and try out.

One important feature to keep in mind is that all the work and managing of your Shopify Audiences happens in Shopify itself. You don’t build or download the audiences within or from Facebook. Audiences that are exported from Shopify to Facebook are transmitted securely. The raw data that’s transmitted to Facebook is used to match their records, and then deleted by Facebook.

Setting up Shopify Audiences

Before using Shopify Audiences, make sure your privacy policy allows you to use the product as you’re transmitting customer data from Shopify to external platforms. Here is how to install app:

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Apps.
  2. In the Installed apps section, click the Shopify Audiences app.
  3. Click Set up audiences.
  4. Click Turn on to enable data contribution and agree to the Shopify Audience terms and conditions.
  5. Click Set up to connect to your Facebook account that you use for your ad campaigns.
  6. Click Connect, enter your Facebook account password, and then click Continue.
  7. Click the Facebook Ad account that you want to export your Shopify audiences to.
  8. Click Accept terms to accept Facebook’s Custom Audiences terms.

That is it. Once installed you should see the Shopify Audiences dashboard in front of you. Which will also ask you to create your first audience.

Create Your First Audience

As I mentioned above, the product you pick is used to create your audience. It’s important to note you can not pick a collection of products, you can only pick one product to make each audience.

There are some limits to the number of audiences you can make over a 7 day period:

There’s a maximum number of audiences that can be created during a 7-day period. The maximum number for a period is displayed when you export the first audience. The 7-day period begins when you export the first audience. During the 7-day period, you can export up to your maximum number of audiences. The export maximum resets 7 days after you export the first audience, and a new 7-day period begins when you export the first audience in the new 7-day period.

Follow the steps below to make your first audience:

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Apps.
  2. In the Installed apps section, click the Shopify Audiences app.
  3. Click Create audience.
  4. Click Choose a product, and then select the product that you want to base your audience on.
  5. Enter a name for your audience, and then click Export Audience.

Audiences that you create have the following characteristics:

  • Only buyers in the USA and Canada are included
  • Your existing customers and buyers who have opted out of data sharing are excluded
  • Audiences aren’t updated after they are exported. To ensure that you have an updated list of buyers, export new audiences regularly

Depending on the size of the audience list, the export process can take up to several hours to complete. The export is complete when the audience status changes to “Ready”. The audience size in your Shopify admin is an estimate and might be different than the audience size that’s displayed in Facebook.

What should your first audience be?

There are three type of audiences I would look at creating when launching your first set of Shopify Audiences:

Top Products: Look at your Shopify data to see what your hero product is. I would then pick that product to make an audience around.

Similar Products: If you are trying to sell product B, which is very similar to Product A. I would make an audience based off of Product A.

Best Customers: Do you have a product that attached the perfect type of customer for your business? I would pick that product to build your first audience around.

Using your existing product and data knowledge to make sure you pick the right products to build audiences around will lead to more success. We are finding a lot of success going after top products and similar products with our customers as we get more into Shopify Audiences.

Shopify Audiences Best practices

To help minimize order attribution overlap and ensure that reports are accurate, only target one audience for each ad set that you create. Don’t target the same audience with multiple ad sets at the same time.

An audience isn’t updated after it’s been exported. To help your ads perform better by using the most current data, start your ad campaigns on the same day that you export the audience from your Shopify admin.

If you want to A/B test an audience on Facebook, then ensure that the ad campaign that you use as a comparison has the following properties:

  • The comparison campaign’s audience only includes buyers in the United States and Canada.
  • The comparison campaign’s audience excludes your existing customers.
  • The ad budget for each ad campaign is proportional to the size of each ad campaign’s audience. For example, if the size of audience A is twice the size of audience B, then the budget for audience A should be twice as much as the budget for audience B.

Shopify Audiences Reporting

Reporting is limited, as Shopify Audiences just came out of beta. The following reports are available for Shopify Audiences:

  • An overview report to help you understand the overall impact of Shopify Audiences on your business.
  • A Detailed report to help you understand the impact of each audience on your business.

One thing to keep in mind is Shopify is not an analytics reporting tool like Google Analytics. That is one reason they won’t be reporting on ROAS or would have different numbers than you might find in Facebook or other paid social platforms this gets rolled out to. See the FAQ below to see more on why data is different in Shopify vs other platforms.

Shopify Audiences FAQ

Shopify built a great FAQ page covering everything from managing audiences, to privacy and even some questions around reporting. Additionally, if you need to know how to get customers opt out ot turning off data sharing, their Shopify Audiences privacy page helps with that.

Two questions I know a lot of marketers will have are:

Why isn’t Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) included in Shopify Audience reports?
Because there is no way to accurately associate ad spend to audiences, return on ad spend is not calculated in your Shopify admin. To calculate you ROAS, you can use the sales data from Shopify and the ad spend amount from your Facebook ads account.

Why is the data in the Shopify Audiences report different from the data in the Facebook ads report?
Shopify Audiences reports use a different data attribution model than the model that’s used for Facebook ads. Because the data is calculated in different ways, the reports display different results.

Beyond seeing this product roll out to other paid social platforms, the latter of these two questions comes up a lot on Reddit PPC, which is why I want to make sure we address it in the post.

I really want to see Google Ads get access to this product ASAP. The power of combining Shopify data with Google Ads in a whole new way could chart a new future for paid advertising.