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Shopify Advertising Costs | The Ultimate Guide

March 21, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

In this article, we’ll demystify the often complex Shopify advertising costs, offering guidance on budgeting and effective strategies to maximize it.

Overall, in many countries, the average cost per click (CPC) falls within the range of $0.50 to $2.00, but certain regions such as Brazil and Japan tend to experience higher CPC rates. The cost of advertising on Shopify can vary from 10$ to 10000$ ,depending on several factors: Advertising Platform, Ad Budget, Ad Campaign Type, Target Audience, and more

How much does shopify advertising cost?

For most countries, the typical cost per click (CPC) hovers between $0.50 and $2.00. Yet, regions like Brazil and Japan often have steeper rates. 

It’s essential to note that the product’s nature can tilt this cost. High-end products usually come with a heftier advertising price tag. Moreover, the choice of keywords can significantly sway the cost. A highly competitive keyword landscape means advertisers will likely shell out more for each click. 

In general, Shopify Ads are often more wallet-friendly than other platforms, such as Google AdWords. A key strength of Shopify Ads is its precision in targeting users who have demonstrated interest in similar products. This specificity can lead to effective sales conversion, offering businesses a promising return on their ad spends.

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Why it’s so important to spend consistently on ads

Once you finish purchasing a Shopify plan and get your store ready, it’s time to think about how to get traffic to your Shopify store. One key strategy to succeed in the ecommerce world is maintaining a steady ad budget. Here’s why:

  1. To Keep Your Brand in the Spotlight
keep your brand in the spotlight

Consistently displaying ads ensures that your brand remains familiar to potential customers. The benefits you’ll gain include: 

  • Quick Recognition: Research from MIT indicates that our brains can identify images in just 13 milliseconds. By showing your products often, you help potential customers remember and recognize your brand faster.
  • Building Trust: A brand that’s always visible becomes reliable. When customers see your brand frequently, they are more likely to trust it. And when they trust, they are more open to offers and more likely to make a purchase.
  1. To Manipulate Platforms’ Algorithms 

Moreover, big online platforms like Facebook, Google, and YouTube use machine learning to improve ad performance. Machine learning, like its name suggests, learns from data over time. The more data it gets (from running ads), the better it becomes at showing your ads to the right people. Stopping and starting ads can disrupt this learning. Consistent ad spending ensures these tools work to their full potential.

  1. To Reduce the Risk of Intermittent Advertising

Henry Ford’s statement, “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time,” concise the critical role of sustained advertising. Pausing ad campaigns might seem cost-effective in the short term. However, it creates opportunities for competitors. In essence, if you aren’t continuously reaching out to your audience, another brand will.

shopify advertising cost

How much should you invest into ads?

It’s often recommended to align advertising expenses with gross sales, specifically between 10-30% of your top-line revenue to advertising. This is especially pertinent if you’re considering advanced eCommerce solutions like Shopify headless commerce, where pricing could be a significant factor in your overall budget.

If your store earns $100 in sales, consider reinvesting $10 to $30 of that revenue back into paid ads. Such a model ensures that as your sales grow, your advertising efforts, as well as investments in sophisticated platforms like headless commerce, scale proportionally, thereby supporting sustained business growth.

On the other hand, starting with a modest budget can also be an effective strategy, if you are new to advertising and just want to test the water. A daily budget of $5 is a commendable starting point. This allows businesses to gain insights, test different strategies, and refine their approach without a significant financial outlay.

A rule of thumb to manage your marketing budget for any businesses

  1. Stay Consistent 

Advertising isn’t just about periodic promotions or short-term campaigns. Much like a diet, its benefits compound over time and require consistent effort. Inconsistent ad campaigns can disrupt the brand’s presence in the consumer’s mind.

Also, investing in consistent advertising, especially on platforms like Facebook, offers dual benefits. Not only does it help in customer acquisition but also in gathering crucial data, understanding customer demographics, and building valuable brand assets. Over time, the data amassed can provide valuable insights.

  1. Understand Your Marketing Affordability
marketing affordability

Budgeting is crucial for advertising. But, businesses must clearly comprehend how much they should earmark for marketing without straining their finances. Here’s what businesses should do:

  • Establish a defined budget: Before businesses embark on extensive advertising campaigns, they should assess their financial status. It’s essential to set funds aside considering other operational expenses.
  • Maintain records of previous advertising campaigns. Detailed records of which campaigns performed best can guide future advertising choices.
  • Consistently scrutinize the outcomes of advertising efforts. This continuous assessment allows for a better understanding of the campaigns’ effectiveness. Additionally, studying sales data and customer demographics can enhance marketing strategies.
  1. Evaluate Your Comprehensive Shopify Advertising Expenses

Here are some basic ads expenses you should consider:

  • Website Maintenance and Development, such as monthly hosting charges, updating plug-ins, and redesigning sections for new campaigns. 
  • Social Media Advertising, such as sponsored posts or tailored ads. 
  • Online Advertising Platforms, particularly Google Ads.
  • Traditional Media Channels like radio, print, and TV.
  • E-Newsletters and Regular Updates.
  • Video Content for TikTok, YouTube shorts or Instagram Reels.
  • Employee Training and Skill Upgradation.
  1. Use ROI to determine amounts

When you’re setting a marketing budget for your business, always keep an eye on the Return on Investment (ROI). Think of ROI like a report card for your spending. If you spend money on an ad and it brings in more money than it cost, that’s a good ROI.

To keep things simple, always use the same way to calculate and check this. For example, if you spend $100 on an ad and get $200 back in sales, that’s a good sign. By consistently using this ‘report card’, you can quickly see which of your marketing efforts are worth the money and which aren’t.

  1. Eliminate or downgrade the tools if not in use
downgrade the tools

Monitoring campaign metrics and understanding KPIs is paramount for ensuring marketing budget effectiveness. As campaigns progress, analyzing their performance can provide insights into what’s working and what needs adjustment.

  • When a campaign outperforms expectations, it might warrant an increased allocation of funds to leverage its momentum. 
  • Conversely, underperforming campaigns should be re-evaluated. 

It’s essential to ensure that decisions aren’t hasty and that campaigns aren’t sidelined prematurely before they’ve had an ample opportunity to gain traction.

3 tips to deploy successful online paid marketing activities

Here are the key tips for optimizing shopify advertising costs:

  1. Create a Clear Marketing Blueprint
marketing blueprint

Before diving into online paid marketing, having a clear plan is essential. Without a roadmap, even the biggest budgets can go to waste. Here’s a simple approach to making your marketing effective:

  • Know Your Audience: Who are you targeting with your advertisements? Identify age groups, interests, and online habits of your ideal customers.
  • Analyze Competitors: Understand what others in your space are doing. Which platforms are they using? What kind of ads do they run? 
  • Highlight Your Strength: It could be unique features, pricing, customer service, or anything else. This will be your selling point in ads.
  • Top Features or Offers: What are the 4-5 features or offers that can entice customers?

Once you have these essentials sorted, move on to crafting a strategy tailored for each platform. Decide on the frequency of ads, budget allocation, and monitor results regularly. Adjust based on what’s working best. The key is to remain flexible, stay updated with platform trends, and always keep the customer at the center of your strategy.

  1. Choose the Right Marketing Platform

It’s crucial to pick the right platforms for promoting your product or service. Not all platforms will fit your needs, so it’s essential to understand each channel’s strengths and limitations:

  • Website: A website or a landing page is a spot where visitors can learn about your product, its features, and how to contact you. Platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace make creating a site more accessible and budget-friendly.
  • Social Media: Not all products need a presence on every social platform. You should only pick the ones where your audience hangs out. But remember, merely having an account isn’t enough. Engaging with your audience and understanding the platform’s unique aspects are key to success.
  • Email Marketing: Collecting emails is a proactive way to keep interested customers in the loop. Platforms like HubSpot, Constant Contact, or Mailchimp can help manage these lists. But always ensure you respect privacy laws when reaching out.
  • Platform Promotions: Features on popular platforms, whether it’s an e-commerce site or a specialized platform, can skyrocket your visibility. However, getting a spot might require connections or collaborations.
  • Influencer Collaborations: These are people with many followers. They can talk about your product. Some might do it for free, while others might ask for payment. It’s essential to find someone who genuinely likes what you offer.
  1. Keep Checking and Adjusting

After setting up your game’s digital marketing strategy and choosing your promotional avenues, it’s crucial to stay proactive and adaptive. Here’s how:

  • Use Analytical Tools: Tools like Google Analytics can offer a wealth of information. For your website, it can show you where your traffic is coming from, the average time spent by visitors, and the bounce rate. 
  • Evaluate Social Media Feedback: Paid social media platforms can reveal patterns: which content resonates with your audience and which doesn’t. Adjusting based on these insights can make your social media efforts far more effective. 
  • Balance Costs and Returns in Paid Advertising: You should look at key performance indicators such as click-through rates. These should be weighed against costs like cost-per-view or cost-per-click to ensure that you’re getting good value for your expenditure. Ads that aren’t performing well might need tweaking or even discontinuation, while successful ones could benefit from increased funding.
  • Seek Expertise When Necessary: If you’re not adept at interpreting these numbers, it’s wise to delegate this task. Whether it’s someone on your team or an external hire, ensure someone is consistently evaluating these metrics. This evaluation is pivotal for any campaign’s success, ensuring every dollar and hour you invest is directed rightly.

How to properly allocate your budget on each online platform?

Facebook Marketing Budget

Here’s how to align your spending with your goals on the platform:

  • Setting Your Sales Ambitions: Your budgeting begins by defining how much revenue you aim to generate through Facebook ads within a specified period. Once your financial target is clear, figure out the number of units of your product or service you need to sell. The formula to determine this is:

Revenue Goal ÷ Cost of Product/Service = Units to Sell

For instance, if your objective is to gain $15,000 from Facebook ads over a month and your service costs $1,500, you’ll need to achieve 10 sales.

facebook marketing budget
  • Determining Lead Requirements: The next step is to deduce how many leads or landing page views you need to achieve the aforementioned sales targets. Here’s a breakdown:
    • Email Leads: If you rely on email leads which convert through webinars or video series, you need to establish the number of leads necessary. For instance, your product’s conversion rate from these leads is around 5%, divide your sales goal by this percentage. This gives you the number of leads required. So, using the previous example, it’d be:

10÷5%=200 Leads

  • Landing Page Visits: If your strategy is to direct traffic straight to your product page, then you need to calculate the required number of landing page views. If the conversion rate from these views is 7%, the calculation would be:

10÷7%=143 Landing Page Views

  • Determining Ad Spend: Once you’ve ascertained the volume of leads or views required, it becomes straightforward to determine your total ad expenditure. This value hinges on the cost per lead or per landing page view. For instance, if you spend an average of $4 for each lead and need 200 leads, you’ll have an ad budget of $800.
  • Refining Ad Expenditure: Post-calculations, if you feel the ad spend exceeds or is below your expectations, adjustments are needed. For instance, if aiming for a higher revenue, like $100,000 from a product sale, and maintaining the same conversion rate, you’d require more leads and, consequently, a larger budget. 

Instagram Marketing Budget

When considering an Instagram marketing budget, it’s essential to recognize that Instagram, as a visual-first platform, attracts a unique audience. This audience interacts with content differently than those on other platforms, which affects budgeting.

instagram marketing budget
  • Objective-Based Budgeting: Begin by pinpointing your core objectives on Instagram. Whether your goal revolves around enhancing brand visibility, launching new products, or funneling traffic to your site, align your budget accordingly. For instance, while influencer partnerships might command a higher investment, they can deliver a significant return on investment when aligned with the right objectives.
  • Demographic Considerations: Instagram’s user base is diverse. Tailor your budget based on the preferences and habits of your target demographic. Younger audiences, for example, might engage more with interactive Stories or Reels, necessitating a different budgetary approach compared to campaigns focusing on older demographics.
  • Account for Content Creation: High-quality content is paramount on Instagram. Budget for the creation of standout visuals and narratives, incorporating costs linked to photographers, videographers, designers, and other essential assets.
  • Ad Placement and Duration: Choose where your ad appears (e.g., Stories, Feed, IGTV, Reels) and decide its active duration. While some placements might be pricier, they could offer superior visibility and user engagement, justifying the additional expenditure.
  • Monitor and Optimize: Don’t set and forget. Use the built-in Instagram Insights tool to gauge ad performance. Should an ad underperform, be nimble and redirect funds towards strategies showcasing better results.
  • Leverage Influencers: Instagram’s influencer ecosystem is potent. While partnering with influencers may require a considerable outlay, the potential returns in visibility, engagement, and sales can be substantial. Remember to consider the influencer’s audience size, engagement metrics, and relevance to your brand when determining collaboration costs.

Google Marketing Budget

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to streamline your Google Ads budget:

google marketing budget shopify advertising cost
  • Monthly-to-Daily Allocation: A commonly used method by businesses is to start with their set monthly advertising budget and then break it down to a daily spend. This ensures a consistent advertising presence throughout the month. Simply divide your total monthly budget by 30.4 (average days in a month):

Monthly Budget ÷ 30.4 = Daily Budget

This approach is particularly beneficial for businesses that have monthly revenue targets and want a continuous presence on the platform.

  • Daily-to-Monthly Projection: Conversely, some businesses prefer to focus on their daily spend, especially when they have fluctuating daily sales targets or varying operational days. Once a daily budget is set, it can be extrapolated to understand the monthly spend:

Daily Budget × 30.4 = Monthly Budget

  • Incorporate Cost-per-Click (CPC) Understanding: An essential element in effective budgeting on Google Ads is knowing the average CPC for your targeted keywords. This information allows you to anticipate how many clicks you can expect based on your daily or monthly budget. Tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner provide insights into estimated CPCs, giving you a clearer picture of potential traffic and helping adjust your budget accordingly.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment: Beyond these calculations, it’s imperative to monitor your ads’ performance regularly. The dynamic nature of Google’s ad auction means CPCs can fluctuate. By keeping an eye on performance metrics and adjusting your bids and budget as needed, you can ensure you’re getting the most value from your allocated budget.

Factors that affect the Shopify advertising costs

There are several crucial factors that determine the cost: 

  • Type of Ad: Different ad types have varied pricing structures. Search Ads, for instance, primarily depend on the competition for keywords. When many businesses bid for the same keyword, the price goes up. Display Ads, conversely, might cost more because they rely on user behavior and site content, making them potentially more targeted and, therefore, more valuable to advertisers.
  • Targeting Precision: The more specific your targeting, the more you may pay. This is because platforms like Shopify have to sift through vast amounts of data to find your perfect audience, which requires more effort and resources. However, this precision can lead to better engagement and conversion rates, which might justify the higher costs.
  • Competition Over Keywords: High-demand keywords naturally drive prices up. When several businesses vie for the same popular keyword, the bidding war escalates, leading to higher costs. Niche keywords, though less competitive, can offer more budget-friendly options while still reaching a relevant audience.
  • Relevance and Quality of the Ad: Advertising platforms prioritize user experience. Thus, an ad deemed more relevant and of higher quality might cost less in the long run. A well-constructed ad can receive better placements and potentially lower click costs because platforms value providing users with pertinent and quality content.
  • Your Bidding Approach: The strategy you adopt directly impacts costs. Manual bidding might lead to higher costs if you consistently set your maximum bid high to outpace competitors. In contrast, automatic bidding, while convenient, might sometimes lead to unpredictable costs as the platform adjusts bids to optimize results.
  • Targeted Location: Advertising in areas with more competition or higher purchasing power naturally escalates costs. In major cities or affluent regions, more businesses might be vying for the attention of a potentially more lucrative audience, driving up prices. On the flip side, less competitive areas might offer cost savings but may not yield as many impressions or conversions.
  • Timing of the Ad: Just as in traditional media, timing is everything in online advertising. Peak times, like holidays or prime shopping hours, see a surge in demand, pushing prices up. Conversely, off-peak times, while more affordable, might not capture as broad or active an audience.

Tips for reducing the Shopify advertising costs

Here’s a closer look at strategies that can make your Shopify ads more cost-effective.

  • Leverage Negative Keywords: Employing negative keywords can reduce wasted expenditure by steering clear of irrelevant audiences. For luxury shoe sellers, using “free” as a negative keyword means excluding potential viewers just looking for giveaways. This precision ensures your ad budget isn’t squandered on low-intent searchers, thus offering better ROI.
  • Incorporate Long-Tail Keywords: Opting for long-tail keywords not only reduces costs due to lesser competition but also determines a more determined buyer. Phrases like “women’s leather ankle boots” are more specific than “shoes,” typically drawing in users ready to buy. This specificity can lead to both reduced costs and higher conversion rates.
  • Enhance Ads with Extensions: Extensions can supercharge your ads by giving extra pertinent information. This added context, such as a direct contact number or a specific product link, enhances user engagement. The resultant increased click-through rates can positively affect your ad positioning, often at a reduced cost.
  • Consistently Run A/B Tests: Streamlining your ads through consistent A/B tests ensures your budget is directed towards the most effective messaging. By discerning which ads resonate more—whether it’s a “Buy Now” prompt or a “Limited Time Offer” incentive—you can channel funds more strategically. This continuous optimization ensures you get the most out of every ad dollar.
reducing shopify advertising cost
  • Optimize Your Ad Schedule: Timing can be everything. Recognizing your store’s peak conversion periods and aligning your ads to these times makes your spending more impactful. By concentrating your ads during high-conversion windows, you’re ensuring your budget garners the most valuable user interactions.
  • Adjust Location Targeting: Geographic specificity can be a game-changer. Certain regions might yield better conversion rates for your offerings. By funneling more of your ad budget towards these high-performing locales, you position your ads for maximum effect, targeting users with a demonstrated propensity to convert.

My suggestion is to leverage the shopify plan discount to have budget for marketing activities.

The Role of Shopify Headless Commerce in Your Budgeting Strategy

While we’ve discussed the typical costs of Shopify advertising, it’s also worth exploring a specialized aspect: Shopify headless commerce and its pricing implications. “Headless commerce” is a buzzword in the e-commerce world, referring to a setup where the front-end (what customers see) is separated from the back-end (where transactions are processed). This approach offers unparalleled customization and flexibility in creating unique user experiences.

But what does this mean for your Shopify budget? Opting for a headless approach can influence your overall expenses. While it opens doors for innovative and tailored customer experiences, it often involves additional investment in custom development and integration with other systems. This is where “Shopify headless pricing” comes into play. It’s a critical factor for businesses seeking to push the boundaries of conventional e-commerce setups. Understanding the cost structure of going headless on Shopify is essential for any business looking to leverage this advanced e-commerce strategy without overshooting their budget.

FAQs: Shopify Advertising Costs

Seasonality can have a significant impact on advertising costs. During peak shopping seasons, like the holidays or major sale events, there’s often higher competition for ad space, leading to increased CPCs. However, these periods also see higher consumer activity, which can result in better conversion rates.
The budget allocated for marketing a Shopify store can fluctuate significantly based on specific campaign objectives and the intended audience. However, as a general guideline, it’s advisable to commence with a monthly budget ranging from $500 to $1000 for paid advertising
Yes. While the primary cost associated with Shopify advertising is the CPC or the budget you set for your campaigns, there might be other indirect costs. These can include the design and creation of ad assets, tools or software for ad management, and potential transaction fees depending on the platform.
Shopify advertising costs primarily depend on the ad platforms you choose, like Google, Facebook, or Instagram. The costs may be similar whether you advertise a Shopify store or a standalone e-commerce site. However, Shopify’s integration with certain ad platforms might offer additional tools or analytics that could influence cost efficiency.
Engaging with influencers can introduce a different cost dynamic. While partnering with an influencer might have upfront costs or commissions, their endorsement can amplify your brand’s reach and credibility, potentially reducing the reliance on paid advertising and thus impacting overall advertising costs.
Retargeting campaigns typically focus on users who have already interacted with your site but haven’t converted. While the CPC for retargeting ads might be higher due to more precise targeting, they often have better conversion rates, leading to a lower cost per acquisition.

Final Words

As we’ve explored, understanding Shopify advertising cost is pivotal for effective online marketing. With the right strategies and insights, you can optimize your spend and elevate your brand’s digital presence.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.