Shopify app store

How to optimise ads in the Shopify App Store: The complete guide

Getting the most out of your advertising spend means understanding the nuances of different platforms.  While the general advice might remain the same, optimisation is all about the details! 

The Shopify app store is no exception.

An overview of the Shopify app marketplace

The Shopify App Marketplace is an ecosystem which is designed to enhance the functionality of Shopify’s ecommerce platform. There are many ways in which you can make the most out of this platform and optimise your performance to reach audiences and convert them for the lowest cost. 

Shopify is known to cater to a range of business needs offering an array of applications developed by third-party developers and Shopify itself. From marketing and sales tools to inventory management, customer support and analytics, the ecosystem of Shopify provides solutions to optimise various aspects of running your store. 

This allows for a very customisable experience for the merchants as they can easily integrate these apps to customise their storefront, streamline and optimise the overall shopping experience for their customers. The Shopify App Marketplace allows businesses of all sizes to scale and see results. 

Before we continue on with how to optimise ads in the Shopify App Store, it’s important to understand you can still see success even if you don’t run ads on Shopify. We often hear people asking questions along the lines of, ‘How to get sales on Shopify without running ads?’. The reality is that a robust and rounded marketing strategy that is forward thinking and makes the most of recent marketing trends may support your sales.

How do Shopify ads work

Competing organically can be a time-consuming and even an unrewarding task when you have lots of tough competition. Shopify ads work to get your app noticed by the right people at the right time. 

When you create your ad, you specify which keywords you want to bid on – more on those later. Then, when someone searches for that keyword, an auction occurs with all participating apps who bid on that word: ensuring that your ad is seen, in other words, your bidding strategy, is an essential part of optimisation. 

Perhaps though, you already have ads running on Microsoft Advertising. If so, you can integrate your Microsoft campaigns into Shopify and streamline the creation and management of shopify ads

Getting started with Shopify ads

Before starting with any advertising campaign, identifying and solidifying your goals is the first step, your goals inform all your strategic decisions.  

To build up even the most fundamental aspects of your campaign, you need to understand the user journey and the different intentions and needs of different audiences. 

Let us look more closely at conversion funnels:

Shopify Reviews App

In the first place, users have an interest in your niche or are looking to solve a problem. To make an impression on this audience, you are looking to be a potential solution or to increase awareness of what you can offer. 

The consideration stage helps your audience consider the service that you provide as a potential viable option. Finally, in the final – conversion – stage, a user will have a clear idea of what they are looking for and are searching for specific offerings. 

Your type of ad and aspects of your campaign strategy will depend upon which audience you are looking to target.

Start with keyword research 

The most obvious way that being conscious of the audience funnel helps with the optimisation techniques is in choosing those all important keywords. This is because users at different stages in the funnel search for different things – generally getting more specific the further down the funnel you go. 

Here it is vital to conduct your own research to reach these audiences better. There are many tools out there that will help with this, including Microsoft and Google Keyword Planners, Semrush and Ahrefs. However, it is also advisable to do your own research to get to know your audience better. You might already have a lot of useful information to apply to this context if, for example, you have incorporated SEO strategies for an ecommerce website.

Plan an ad campaign budget 

Settling on a campaign budget is important to ensure you get a good Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Of course, you need to be comfortable with the amount that you choose to begin with but the best way to get the most out of your ad spend is flexibility. Whatever amount you start with, and we recommend thinking carefully about the amount you can spend as you experiment, you will need to consistently monitor your performance. Having a data-driven approach will mean that you can increase or decrease your budget in line with your results.

Set KPIs

We understand, analysing your performance is tough when you don’t know which metrics to focus on. Once again your goals feature prominently in this process. 

Let us look at an example. If user growth is a key goal for you, your Cost per Install (CPI) could be a good metric to track. It is important to start developing a performance benchmark for the keywords you are bidding on. If you keep track of your lowest, highest and average CPI, you can adjust your bidding strategy to be more cost effective. 

It should be emphasised though that setting KPIs is not a one-off task and takes frequent adjustment to your changing needs as well as the data that you are collecting. 

Shopify ads cost 

Shopify ads cost however much your budget allows. This form of advertising offers you a lot of flexibility which means that you can spend whatever you are comfortable with. Moreover, you will only pay when someone clicks on your ad and the cost per click is the bid amount at the time of the auction (explained above).

Benefits of Shopify ads 

Like all digital advertising, the significant advantage is that you have the opportunity to cut through the competition and ensure that your app reaches your ideal audience. 

When Shopify launched their ad platform, they also shared some of the insights that prompted them to release it. These insights will be useful in understanding how Shopify ads work, how to get started as well as the all important optimisations. 

Shopify found that 60% of installs on the app store came from searches but the majority of clicks only went to a handful of apps in the top ranking results. A poor ranking was usually simply down to a lack of time to build up their presence and user base – both aspects are vital to a good organic ranking. The introduction of ads in 2020 therefore gave lower ranking apps a chance to improve their performance. 

A primary benefit of advertising on Shopify is the highly targeted advertising capabilities which allow merchants to reach specific audiences based on demographics, interest, and shopping behaviours. 

The simple integration with the Shopify platform is a major benefit for users streamlining campaign management and tracking. Shopify also caters to a diverse range of businesses, therefore are scalable for everyone, allowing services to grow their advertising efforts alongside business growth. 

Overall, the main benefit of Shopify ads: they allow you to reach customers more directly giving you greater growth in a shorter time.

Shopify review app

Review apps often go unmentioned, however, we believe that these handy tools play an important role in developing an optimisation strategy. Integrating a review app into your store gives customers a space to provide feedback on your app giving your products credibility and trust which can further reassure any new customers. Apps with reviews tend to have higher conversion rates by proving themselves to be a highly reliable and relevant solution to related searches. 

Review apps can also provide excerpts that can appear in a search engine result, improving your SEO and visibility

Optimising ads in the Shopify App Store: a few last tips

If you have ads on other platforms then much of this advice may seem very familiar. However, there are nuances and capabilities to every platform so it is worth looking specifically into KPIs and keywords specifically for Shopify. 

Likewise, this is an ongoing process. Making the most of your ad spend and seeing a good return relies on you constantly adjusting to new information and working closely with the data you have at your disposal to see a good ROI.  This also means adjusting the content of your ad and running A/B tests to see what works best for your audience. Optimising your ads relies on you being both creative and data-driven in equal measure. 

Need more advice? If you’re looking to increase your e-commerce efforts, Diginius launched a Shopify app last year, Diginius Shopping, focusing on optimising your Microsoft advertising efforts. Diginius Shopping automates, centralises and streamlines your Shopify product feed management. This allows you to centralise everything within one app, ultimately maximising your shopping ads.

Chester Yang is the Microsoft Program Manager at Diginius with a background in economics and quantitative research.  

At Diginius, Chester focuses on nurturing partnerships with PPC agencies and integrating marketing and sales solutions.