Create and use audiences from Shopify Audiences

After you set up the Shopify Audiences app, you can create and use audiences in your ad campaigns. When you create an audience, you first choose a specific product to build your audience around. The attributes of the product that you select are used to generate an audience of customers who have expressed interest in these attributes. The audience is then exported directly to the third-party ad platform of your choice.

Creating and exporting audiences

Audiences that you export from your Shopify admin to a third-party ad platform, such as Facebook, are encrypted and transmitted securely. Exported Audiences can't be downloaded from Facebook. Facebook uses the data that's transmitted to match their records, and then deletes the data.

You can export only a certain number of audiences within a 7-day period, which is displayed when you export your first audience. The 7-day period begins when you export the first audience, and will reset after 7 days. Lookalike audiences don’t count towards the export limit.

Before you begin

Verify that you've set up the audiences app.

Add and display a privacy policy on your online store that clearly outlines your use and disclosure of personal information and the right to opt out of data sharing. If you have any specific legal questions, then consult your legal team or a privacy law professional. Shopify can't provide legal advice.

Steps:

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Settings > Apps and sales channels.
  2. From the Apps and sales channels page, click Shopify Audiences.
  3. Click Open app.
  4. Click Create audience.
  5. Click Choose a product, and then select the product that you want to base your audience on.
  6. In the Audiences section, choose which audience types you want to create:
    • A Core audience is always included.
    • A Lookalike audience is optional.
  7. Enter a name for your audience, and then click Export Audience.

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 the third-party ad platform.

Audience types

There are two audience types available when you create an audience using Shopify Audiences: Core audiences and Lookalike audiences.

Core audiences

Core audiences use the Shopify Audiences algorithm to create a list of potential buyers that get exported to third-party ad platforms. The algorithm selects individuals by matching buyer-intent to the unique attributes of your store’s products.

Every time you create an audience, a core audience is exported and has the following characteristics:

  • Only buyers in the United States and Canada are included.
  • Your existing customers and buyers who have opted out of data sharing are excluded.
  • An estimated size of up to 2 million.

When running campaigns, you can target the core audience directly, or use a lookalike audience to expand your reach.

Lookalike audiences

A lookalike audience builds off of the core audience to find more people who have similar attributes. A core audience must exist in order to create a lookalike audience. Facebook leverages demographics, interests, and behaviors from the core audience to build a new audience to expand your reach. Shopify doesn't have access to the identities in the lookalike audience because the audience is determined by Facebook.

You can create a lookalike audience directly from the Shopify Audiences app. Lookalikes are selected by default when you create an audience and have the following characteristics:

  • Targets 3% of the United States and Canada.
  • An estimated size of up to 9.1 million.

You can also create a lookalike from Facebook’s ad manager anytime after you export a core audience. To learn about lookalike audiences on Facebook, refer to Facebook’s help center.

Best practices for using Shopify Audiences

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 24 to 48 hours after 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.

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