What is ‘Shopify Audiences’?

Shopify Audiences is an app designed and built by Shopify. The app harnesses the combined power of Shopify merchants across the platform to build high-purchase-intent audiences. Merchants can securely export these audiences and use them with their chosen advertising networks. Since its official launch in 2022, Shopify has reported that the Audiences app has enabled merchants to reduce their cost of customer acquisition by up to 50%!

Spoiler alert: as of Shopify's Winter Editions product release in February 2024, the Shopify Audiences app is still only available to merchants in the United States or Canada. However, we’re taking a look at everything you need to know so you’ll be prepared for a UK launch!

How does the Shopify Audiences App work?

To create an audience list with Shopify Audiences, merchants simply select a product from their own catalogue that they wish to sell more of. Shopify then uses machine learning to build an audience of buyers likely to purchase this type of product. Over time, Shopify’s algorithm improves to provide merchants with fresh, high-intent audiences constantly.

Merchants can then directly and securely export this audience list to their ad platforms of choice and create ad campaigns to target that audience.

Merchants can manage the app from the Shopify admin and access reporting to track performance.

Shopify Audiences V2.2 launch in 2024.

Upon launch in 2022, Shopify Audiences was limited to lists for Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. However, in September 2023, Shopify launched Audiences v2.1. This new version of the app offers enhanced algorithms designed to help retailers in North America access more customers across all the major ad platforms. As such, the range of platforms now includes Meta, Google, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, and Criteo. Shopify also announced a new benchmarking feature so merchants can compare their advertising performance against stores with comparable target bases and business models.

As part of the Winter Editions 2024 product release, Shopify announced V2.2 Audiences with improved retargeting and benchmarking for adverts and claimed "most merchants will at least double the size of their retargeting audiences". V2.2 also brought in new benchmarks for measuring ad performance like comparing to similar stores.

Shopify Audiences
The app uses machine learning to help you find new customers.

Benefits of the Shopify Audiences App?

The sterling results seen from early access merchants continue!

To recap, the early access for Shopify Audiences began in late 2021, and many of the participating merchants have reported increased conversion rates and ROAS. For example, BUBS Naturals have seen ROAS as high as 3x, while BlenderBottle has reported ROAS as high as 6x.

More recently, as mentioned above, Shopify has reported that the Audiences app has helped participating merchants cut their cost of customer acquisition by up to 50%.

  • Audience-level performance measurement. Uniquely, the app provides merchants with detailed results via audience-level measurement rather than campaign-level.

  • Create and manage in the Shopify admin. As mentioned earlier, Shopify Audiences is easy to use and seamlessly integrated with the Shopify Admin so that you can manage everything in one place.

  • Created with privacy in mind. Balancing customer acquisition and privacy is a significant challenge, with leading platforms and legislatures making changes worldwide. Shopify has confirmed that it will only use the data of merchants who opt into Shopify Audiences. These merchants can opt out at any time via the Shopify admin. In addition, all customer data is securely hashed and aggregated, audience lists are encrypted and transmitted securely when exporting, and lists can’t be downloaded from ad platforms.

  • Included with Shopify Plus. The Shopify Audiences app is included in Shopify Plus, so if you’ve already got access, it makes sense to test it out!

Take a seat with Shopify Audiences
Fill those empty seats: fingers crossed for the app's UK launch.

Who can access Shopify Audiences?

As mentioned in the introduction, the Shopify Audiences app is currently only available to merchants in the United States or Canada. In addition, they must be Shopify Plus merchants and be using Shopify Payments. For these merchants, the app is included in the Shopify Plus plan.

When will the app be available to UK Shopify Plus merchants?

Unfortunately, there’s no word as to if and when the app will become available to Shopify Plus merchants in the UK. However, the success of Shopify Audiences in the US bodes well for it coming to the UK. We will keep you posted on any changes to this!

Shopify Audiences: fingers crossed for a UK debut.

Although it’s not yet available for Shopify Plus merchants in the UK, we’ll be sure to monitor how it’s working out for US and Canadian retailers and update you in due course. Remember to sign up to receive our monthly newsletter on eCommerce news, product updates and insights!

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