Frequently asked questions about search ads in the Shopify App Store

As an app developer, you can create search ads to help merchants discover your apps in the Shopify App Store. Below are the most frequently asked questions about search ads in the Shopify App Store.

Running and displaying ads

This section covers questions about running and displaying ads in search results.

Why doesn't my ad appear in search results?

There are some common reasons why your ad might not appear on a given search results page:

  • Your bid for a keyword isn't high enough.
  • Your app is not relevant for the keywords that you're bidding on.
  • Your ad budget has been exhausted.
  • The computer used to access the search results is using a VPN (virtual private network).
  • Search results are experiencing unusual traffic patterns, such as a high number of searches being made in a short period of time.

If I have 2 ads but they share keywords, which one wins the auction?

They will enter the auction together, and one will be chosen based on the bid and the relevance to the search.

Can I run ads in a language other than English?

Yes. Advertisers can bid on non-English keywords. If there are merchant searches for non-English keywords, then ad impressions can appear. Accents and special characters are stripped from ad impressions.

Do ads show on mobile?

No. Because the Shopify App Store install conversion rate is lower on mobile, we've decided to focus on desktop for now.

No. If a merchant has installed your app, then they won't see an ad for it. But if a merchant has uninstalled your app, then they will be eligible to see your ad again.

Do ads show on shops that are not compatible with my app based on the install requirements that I specified in my app listing?

No.

Is there a minimum bid?

Yes. The system enforces a minimum bid. If your bid is below this minimum bid, then your ad will not be displayed.

Is there a minimum budget?

Yes. The minimum budget is $5.00 per day.

Can I run multiple ads for the same app?

Yes.

No. Ads link to the app listing to make sure the merchants have a consistent user experience within the Shopify App Store.

Paying for ads

This section covers questions about applying ad credits and alternative methods of paying for ads.

Can I apply my ad credit to multiple ads?

Yes. Your ad credit will be automatically applied to all of your currently running search ads.

Will my credit card be charged if I spend only $40 out of my $100 of ad credit?

No. Shopify starts charging you for ads only after your full ad credit has been applied to search ads.

Are there other ways to pay for ads?

No. Currently, credit card is the only supported payment method for ads.

Customer and revenue attribution

Why are my customer and revenue metrics changing for any given date over time?

You might notice customer and revenue metrics for a given date (for example, June 1, 2020) increasing over time. This is due to the following factors:

  • Customer and revenue numbers are attributed to the date the impressed was served.
  • Business models vary; those with deferred revenue will see more of this type of post dated updating of metrics.

For example, revenue for June 1 when you pull the numbers on July 1st might be $0 because of free trials. Revenue for June 1 when you pull the numbers October 1 might be $200 because merchants have had time to convert into paying customers, upgrade their plans, and pay the subscription fee over a few months.

For more complete results, we recommend looking at customer and revenue numbers 60 days after the impression was served, and periodically checking on older data to see if there has been additional revenue received.

The following sample charts illustrate a typical customer conversion rate and return on ad spend chart for a recurring revenue business over time:

Customer conversion chart

Screenshot of an example customer conversion chart

Return on ad spend chart

Screenshot of an example revenue chart

I was running an ad and earned money from a merchant upgrading their plan on X day. Why do I see no revenue in my reports?

We credit the customer / revenue conversion to the date the ad impression was served, and not the date the merchant became a paying customer, or generated revenue. Refer to What is impression date attribution?.

What is impression date attribution?

Impression date attribution is when we credit the customer / revenue conversion to the date the ad impression was served, and not the date the merchant became a paying customer, or generated revenue.

In the following example timeline, the date for all of the merchant's revenue charges would be tied to June 1:

Event Time
Merchant searches "marketing" and clicks on ad June 1
Merchant installs app June 1
Merchant upgrades and pays first app charge June 30

Why is attribution calculated using the impression date?

Attributing customer and revenue data to the impression date ensures that revenue is attributed to the activity that led to the customer conversion / revenue event. It also allows advertisers to identify both the keyword that the merchant came from, and the time that the merchant searched for the app.

With this information, advertisers can identify keywords that convert at a high rate, and any patterns in conversion dates.

When do customer and revenue metrics stop updating?

Customer metrics stop updating when all possible merchants have converted to a paid plan. Revenue metrics stop updating when all converted merchants have stopped paying for the app.

How are customers counted?

Customers are merchants who have installed your app and have paid for services that resulted from an ad.

How is revenue counted?

Revenue is counted as successful charges issued by you to the merchant. The charges are attributed to an install that resulted from an ad.

Are churned customers factored into the customers count?

No.

Are refunds factored into the revenue number?

No.

Does the revenue figure factor in the revenue sharing amount?

No.

How long of a delay can there be between the install and a customer converting?

The total maximum potential delay is up to 64 days and any free trial period. The timeframes are broken down as follows:

  • Post-click install attribution window: Up to 30 days delay
  • Merchant monthly billing cycle: Up to 29 days delay
  • Reconciliation period by Shopify: Up to 5 days

What dates are customer and revenue metrics available for?

Customer and revenue metrics are available for ads that ran starting May 5, 2020.

Why do my customer and revenue charts trend down?

That shape of chart is not necessarily a bad thing. This happens because you pay for ads up front, but do not earn revenue until after the click or install.

Refer to the questions Why are my customer and revenue metrics changing for any given date over time? and What is impression date attribution? for why your charts might look a certain way.

If a merchant converts to a paid plan months installing your app, then will that be counted in the customer and revenue metrics?

Yes, as long as the merchant installed your app after clicking an ad.

If a merchant uninstalls and re-installs your app without clicking an ad, then will the revenue earned from the latest install be counted towards ad revenue?

No. Only revenue earned on the install attributed to ads is counted.