What Are Shopify Audiences?

Shopify Audiences
Shopify Audiences are a new concept to marketers, however, we've gathered all the essential information you need to successfully utilize them for your business!

Shopify Audiences

Last week Shopify, the all-inclusive online selling platform, revealed its worst-kept secret with the launch of Shopify Audiences.

One of the biggest issues constantly facing online retailers is finding new customers. Customer acquisition and targeting are a top priority for all online retailers. Many dollars are spent on optimizing advertising to hit the sweet spot between advertising spend and income generated from advertising. However, the rules keep changing! Just when you thought you had it figured out, along comes another step in this merry dance and makes it even more complicated. 

The ever-evolving data privacy legislation around the globe as well as privacy updates from leading platforms have been causing many headaches for advertisers. For years, Facebook (Meta) has been the top choice for direct-to-consumer advertising. Startups notoriously spend much of their advertising budget on Facebook and on Instagram.

But Apple’s iOS 14.5 update has caused a major change in the way Facebook advertising works and the reality is that Facebook ad campaign performance is down. A particular problem is seen by those who rely on Facebook Lookalike Audiences to reach their target markets. Research shows that only 46% of American iOS users are currently opting into ad tracking when presented with the opt-in notification.

Last week, Shopify revealed its solution by launching Shopify Audiences. A new machine learning tool to help online retailers find motivated shoppers. We already know about Facebook Audiences and how they work and the big hit they have taken since Apple’s iOS 14.5. So what’s different about Shopify Audiences?

Let’s find out!

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What are Shopify Audiences?

Shopify Audiences are an innovative new product. Shopify calls it “a powerful prospecting tool that works to enhance top of funnel advertising campaigns by targeting high-intent buyers.”

Essentially, it is a new way to find and target high-intent buyers on advertising platforms. Shopify hasn’t become an ad platform itself, rather Shopify Audiences is a tool that helps its retailers find new customers. This is done by generating an audience list for digital advertising platforms, such as Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads. The audience list can then be exported to your Facebook (or Instagram) Ads account to launch ads that target that audience.

How Shopify Audiences work?

Shopify Audiences enables you to generate a list of buyers that are likely to purchase the type of product that you want to sell more of. 

It uses aggregated conversion data from all participating retailers to create an audience. In simpler terms, it uses the collective power of all Shopify retailers who sign up for Shopify Audiences, theoretically, gathering information from 1.7M+ retailers!

By enabling Shopify Audiences on the Shopify Audiences app, you agree to automatically contribute customer data to Shopify Audiences. For privacy purposes, all personally identifying information is removed. The Shopify Audiences are created using lists of authorized email addresses from recent buyers. The attributes of the product that you choose when you create an audience are used to generate a list of buyers that are likely to purchase that product. All audiences are created by using data from multiple stores.

4 Important things to know when setting up Shopify Audiences

Here are 4 quick things to note if you are a marketer considering setting up Shopify Audiences for you eCommerce store:

  • Only buyers in the United States and Canada are included, at the moment
  • Existing customers and buyers who have opted out of data sharing are excluded
  • Shopify Audiences is only available to Shopify Plus retailers
  • Shopify Audiences is currently available only for Facebook and Instagram Ads


While there isn’t a huge amount of information about Shopify Audiences yet, the VP of Product at Shopify, Kaz Nejatian, has given us some helpful snippets.

“Shopify Audiences will give merchants a new, effective way to find prospective customers — which is one of the hardest challenges in growing a business. It will also enable merchants to meet obligations under their applicable privacy regulations,” said Kaz Nejatian, VP of Product at Shopify, in an emailed statement.

“These audiences leverage our unique perspective on purchase intent from supporting merchants and their buyers.” Nejatian added, “They will only use the data of merchants who opt-in, and those merchants are able to opt-out at any time within their Shopify admin.”


Shopify Audiences are a new concept to all marketers. However, we hope that this article will help to inform your strategy to tackle it.

You can find out more on how to build a truly SEO-optimized Shopify store in our article, The Ultimate Shopify SEO Guide for 2022. Or maybe you’d like to learn more about audiences on different online platforms, in which case the Developing User Personas blog is for you!

Finally, if you need any other help be sure to reach out to someone at the Optily squad. We’ll be happy to help, and who knows maybe you’re also interested in supercharging your eCommerce advertising on Shopify and across the web… well we can definitely help you with that too!

We’ll keep looking for more info on this topic and update you with more exciting news and tips as soon as we can. Until next time 🚀

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