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Integrating Microsoft Ads with Shopify

August 6, 2020
Thomas Hampson
written by Thomas Hampson

Microsoft Advertising has teamed up with Shopify to offer even more opportunities to eCommerce merchants. This guide will show you how to integrate them.

Late in 2019, Microsoft and Shopify announced that Microsoft Ads would be integrating with the Shopify platform. This would enable Shopify’s merchants to advertise and market across the Microsoft Search Network that includes Bing, Yahoo! and AOL, among others.

This latest move is another step forward for Shopify in their quest to overtake WooCommerce as the eCommerce platform of choice.

What does this mean for existing Shopify users?

Not on Shopify? You can get started here.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an eCommerce subscription platform that allows sellers to create their own website and systems to manage, sell and ship their products to users. It is estimated that there are over 1 million active Shopify sites.

Three men—Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake—created Shopify after they were disappointed with their experience of trying to sell snowboarding equipment online.

Shopify is the second most popular e-commerce platform in the world, behind WooCommerce. It is popular with users because it’s relatively low cost, has an intuitive user interface and and a ton of great third-party apps. It is often a popular choice for those with minimal technical experience but who still want a professional online presence.

Pricing plans start from around $29 per month for the basic setup and go up to $299 for an advanced system suited to larger businesses and scaleups.

Why has Microsoft Ads partnered with Shopify?

In 2018, Shopify launched Shopify Marketing, providing Shopify merchants with the opportunity to market their products on various platforms such as Google Smart Shopping, Facebook and Snapchat Story Ads. Once initial accounts and setups are complete, merchants can run almost everything from right inside the Shopify dashboard.

Shopify is the first eCommerce platform to partner with Microsoft Ads directly. By partnering with Shopify, Microsoft has opened its partner network to a huge number of potential advertisers, and Shopify has moved towards offering merchants an all in one marketing platform that has, up until now, relied heavily upon Facebook and Google advertising networks.

How to get started

To get started with Shopify and Microsoft, you will need to complete the following steps.

1. Create a Microsoft Ads Account

If you’ve never used Microsoft Ads before, you’ll need to create a new account. To do this, you will need details of your Microsoft Account and enter some details about your online business.

Set up billing and payment information and then return to Shopify and connect your Microsoft Ads account. You’ll then be asked to provide further information to complete your Microsoft Merchant Center profile.

2. Choose Your Microsoft Advertising Account

Once your Shopify and Microsoft accounts are linked, you’ll need to identify which Microsoft Ads account you want to use with Shopify.

If you created your Microsoft Ads account from within the Microsoft Ads app within Spotify, you’d have to set up a new Merchant Center too.

3. Microsoft Merchant Center 

  1. Enter your details and target countries.
  2. Create a new Microsoft Shopping Activity
  3. Click Create Activity
  4. Then go to Create Campaign > Create Activity
  5. Select Add Activity 
  6. Click Promote with Microsoft Advertising
  7. Complete details and Publish Activity

4. Recommended Daily Budget

Like other online ad platforms, you’ll need to specify a budget and a maximum keyword bid. This will stop you from overspending and let Microsoft know how much you want to spend and the maximum you will pay when someone clicks on your advert.

Higher keyword bids will put your ads in a better position, so you need to choose them carefully.

Microsoft recommends a minimum daily budget of $10 per day and a minimum bid of $1.25 per keyword click.

5. Other Features 

Send Collections– by default, all of your products are sent to Microsoft Ads, if you want to define your selection, you’ll need to choose a collection or collections.

Variations– this setting will send all variations of products to Microsoft Ads (e.g. colours and sizes).

SEO Descriptions– Shopify merchants spend a lot of time optimizing their product descriptions. You will need to select these to be sent to Microsoft Ads rather than the default descriptions.

Conversion tracking– using conversion tracking will give you a much better understanding of your marketing efforts. If you are running different ad variations for the same products, then you will be able to track conversions and see which variation is performing better.

To set this up, you’ll need to create what’s called a Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag in your Microsoft Ads account. Once you have placed this tag on your website, you’ll be able to use the amazing amount of information it gives you to implement a solid remarketing and conversion strategy. When it comes to eCommerce, there’s no such thing as too much information.

What you need to know

It would be understandable for Shopify merchants to wonder if they should put the money, time and effort into advertising on Bing. After all, everyone’s on Google, right? Not quite. Bing has over 30% of the search market and has continued to grow, slowly but steadily. This is likely to continue as Microsoft loads its new computers with Edge and Bing as the default browser. Also, Shopify merchants can benefit from:

  • Lower ad prices, make that daily budget stretch further
  • Industry-standard analytics and reporting
  • Highly focussed targeting and link retargeting
  • Access to Yahoo users
  • Those in B2B e-commerce can take advantage of Microsoft’s ownership of LinkedIn
  • Ability to use ‘Sponsored Product’ placements.

Though Google remains powerful, the Microsoft corner of the internet is not insignificant and shouldn’t be ignored.

Conclusion

The partnership of Shopify and the Microsoft Ads network is a fantastic opportunity for Shopify merchants. The quality of the targeting and analytics within the Microsoft Ads network is ideal for those seeking out that extra competitive edge.

Lower ad costs and advanced retargeting features can make your money go a long way and seek out those customers you might otherwise have missed by focussing solely on other areas.

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