Getting started with Shopify App Store ads

There are a few different steps required to set up ads for your app.


The general approach to advertising with search ads includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an app to advertise.
  2. Set a daily budget.
  3. Choose the search keywords that you want to target with your ad.
  4. Set a bid amount for each keyword. This is the maximum amount that you'll pay for every click on your ad from searches that contain that keyword.
  5. Preview and start your ad.
  6. View your ad performance over time by using reports in the Partner Dashboard.
  7. Optimize the keywords and bids for your ads to get the most out of your advertising budget.

If you're ready to get started, then refer to Creating ads in the Shopify App Store.


Search ads use a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) model. This is an industry-standard model that uses pay-per-click auction bidding to determine when to show ads and which ads are shown. You pay only for each click on your ad.

The actual cost per click is calculated based on a first-price auction model. This means that the price you pay for a click on your ad is the same as the bid amount that you entered for the search keyword that led to your ad being displayed.

When you create a search ad, you specify the keywords for which you want your ad to be shown. Whenever a merchant searches for any search term, an auction takes place where advertisers who want to show their ad for related keywords compete by submitting their bid. The ads from the winning advertisers in each auction are shown in a ranked order.

However, keywords aren't always sold to the highest bidder. Your app's relevance to the search term and merchant is factored in as well. Keywords cost less for highly relevant apps, and their ads rank higher than others for the same auction.

Example that shows relevance and bids of four ads

In the example above, the first ad appears in position 1 and pays only $0.50 because of its high relevance. The last ad won’t be displayed because it did not win the auction to be within the first 3 ad slots. Its bid and relevance combination was too low, even though its bid was the highest.

Ad positions can change because they depend on the advertisers' bids and the relevance of their ads. For example, an ad in position 3 can move to position 1. Increases or decreases in bids immediately change ad rankings. This means that if you increase your bid for a particular keyword, then your ad's position can immediately be improved in the search results for that keyword.

If no one else competes for the same opportunity in an auction, then you automatically win and your ad is the only one that appears. In this case, your ad will appear in the top position.

To learn more about how you're billed for search ads, refer to Ad billing for the Shopify App Store.

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