How Shopify Audiences Save Facebook and Instagram Advertising

How Shopify Audiences Save Facebook and Instagram Advertising
Mac Enright


Mac Enright

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Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Facebook and Instagram advertising is back in a BIG way. I know Lumanu’s not alone when we say we, and our ecommerce clients, have cut back on spending money on Facebook and Instagram. Attribution is whack, other ad channels perform better, it’s difficult to produce content, and Facebook custom audiences… dear god… the audiences. Don’t get me started. 

Well, just when it looked like Cook and Zuck would never come to an agreement and reliable custom audiences were lost forever, Shopify decided to step in and give the guys a break. 

That’s right, Shopify may have just saved the Facebook ad platform for a lot of ecommerce brands with their new feature: Shopify Audiences. 

How? Well to answer that question, I’ll have to take you back to the beginning. You see, Apple recently released an update for iOS that essentially– oh, you’ve already read 800 articles about Facebook’s changes after Apple’s iOS 14 release? Fine, let’s skip that and talk about today. 

What is Shopify Audiences? 

Shopify Audiences allows Shopify Plus merchants to create powerful high-intent audiences to target on Facebook and Instagram. Shopify does intend to support Shopify Audience sync with TikTok, Snap, Pinterest and more in the future. 

Shopify Audiences solves a problem all ecommerce marketers and advertisers face: how to find new customers. Chock-full of customer data, Shopify now allows its customers to tap into that data and create high-intent audiences to target in Facebook’s ad platform. 

It’s also SUPER easy - no integrations needed. You just open up your Shopify dashboard, select a product in your Shopify store, and let Shopify use machine learning to create a custom audience of high-intent buyers that are likely to purchase the product you selected. Then, you export that audience list to your Facebook ad campaigns, and just like that you’re targeting a reliable custom audience and reaching new potential customers. 

Reliable custom audiences? Who’s that?  

You’ve tried pixel audiences, customer data imports, huuuuge interest-based audiences, and lookalike audiences and nothing really seems to stick. Sure, giant interest or location-based audiences targeting tens of millions of people can work, but wouldn’t you rather be efficient with your ad spend and target Shopify customers who you know have purchased from an ecommerce store before? 

Custom audiences are not dead, they’re just tough to come by nowadays. I mean, when’s the last time a platform out there claimed they could get you new audiences to target qualified buyers? Okay, it probably happens literally all the time but this is SHOPIFY here, and if you don’t believe me when I say this is huge for digital marketing, then check out their case study on Shopify Audiences. Better return on ad spend? Yes please!

Plus, if you’re not ready to jump off the massive audiences that target tens of millions of people, you can always create lookalikes from your Shopify custom audiences to increase your target audience size. 

Great, we covered the power of Shopify’s high-intent custom audiences, but there’s another big problem that Shopify Audiences solves: attribution. 

The attribution solution

First of all, if Schoolhouse Rock! was still a thing that headline would for sure be a song title for a song about ad campaign attribution. Anyway, at this point most of us have our own way of monitoring attribution outside of Facebook’s ad platform, but you’ll be happy to know that Shopify Audiences has reports for sales and order data to make your life even easier. 

Shopify’s visibility into customer email addresses really comes in handy here, as they’re able to match order email addresses to email addresses in your Shopify Audience used in your ad campaigns. If there’s a match, the order is recorded in your Shopify Audience and you’ll have accurate conversion data in your reports. 

Don’t worry, Shopify also makes it very clear that trust and transparency are their top priority (are you listening, every app and platform ever?), and they’ll only “take credit” for an order when the match confidence level is very high. No more wasted ad spend, no more guesswork. Finally, you’ll have accurate reporting to show which Facebook ad campaigns, audiences, and ads are actually driving purchases. 

Shopify Audiences and user-generated content

So, you’ve got your audience-level optimization all set, but we need to make sure we’re hitting that audience with the right content. To increase your conversion rate, we’ll turn to user-generated content (UGC). 

We’re seeing that today’s buyers appreciate brand authenticity and “real” content, and no one knows this better than creators who build trust with their thousands or millions of followers every day through authentic content. It’s why influencer marketing has taken off the past couple years; consumers admire the imperfections of UGC. It’s why some of the best ad campaigns in recent years are all centered around “real people” solving relatable problems.

In the new UGC-centric world, influencer marketing and media buying need to work hand in hand. Repurposing influencer organic content into paid social ads is easier than ever thanks to influencer whitelisting and tools like the Brand Collabs tool. It’s not only easy (*cough* especially when you use a tool like Lumanu *cough*), but it works. A Facebook ads case study demonstrates that ads running from a creators handle vs. a brands handle yield a lower cost-per purchase and a higher return on ad spend, proving that your audience wants to hear it from a creator, not from your brand. 

Don’t give up on Facebook and Instagram advertising

Let me wrap this up before I make another very dated Schoolhouse Rock! reference. Yes, if you use Shopify and you gave up on advertising on Facebook and Instagram, you need to give it another shot. Yes, you can now create reliable custom audiences with high-intent consumers. No, your arsenal of ads should not only include traditional branded ads. Yes, I did just spend 15 minutes trying to come up with a Schoolhouse Rock! pun. No, I was not successful. 

Mac Enright

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