3 Secrets to Leveling Up Your Shopify E-commerce Marketing

Amee Xu
June 12, 2024

As the Marketing Manager at Gojiberry, I have been actively involved in the Shopify Community. With over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and e-commerce, I have contributed many solutions to Shopify store owners.

Having answered hundreds of questions in my area of expertise, I have noticed a pattern: many Shopify store owners spend hundreds of thousands on advertising but don’t see any return on investment.

If this desperate cry for help sounds like you, and you have already optimized your store by following the 12 ultimate best practices for Shopify store setup, you are ready for the next step – promoting your store.

In this blog, I will summarize three secrets to leveling up your Shopify marketing, covering topics such as setting up your target audiences and writing more effective ads.

Table of Contents

  1. The Basics
  2. Secret 1: How to refine your ad strategy 
  3. Secret 2: Writing Better Ads
  4. Secret 3: Keep Testing and Adjusting
  5. Conclusion

The Basics

To effectively leverage digital marketing and e-commerce strategies for your Shopify store, you first need to understand and utilize Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and zero-party data. These tools are foundational for gaining deep insights into your audience and making data-driven decisions.

Understanding GA4

GA4 (Google Analytics 4) is an advanced analytics tool that provides in-depth insights into your website traffic and audience behavior. Setting up a GA4 account allows you to track detailed metrics about your visitors, such as their demographics, interests, and the devices they use. This data is crucial for making informed decisions about your marketing efforts and optimizing your Shopify advertising campaigns.

Once you have GA4 set up and it has had time to gather data, you can navigate to the User > Overview section. Here, you can view a breakdown of the gender, age, interests, and languages of your site visitors. This information helps you tailor your marketing strategies more effectively. Additionally, by exploring the Tech > Overview section, you can determine whether your visitors are primarily using mobile devices or desktops. If mobile devices are predominant, you should ensure your site offers a mobile-first experience and prioritize mobile viewing in your ads. This can even lead to budget savings by focusing ad spend on mobile users if they show a higher conversion rate.

What is Zero-Party Data?

Zero-party data is information that customers voluntarily share with you, usually through surveys or interactive forms. Unlike first-party data, which is collected passively through user interactions on your website, zero-party data is actively provided by customers and often includes personal preferences, purchase intentions, and feedback.

To obtain zero-party data, consider installing a post-purchase survey app on your Shopify store. This tool helps you capture valuable lead sources and detailed customer information directly from those who have completed a purchase. By collecting zero-party data, you gain insights that are not available through GA4 alone. For example, GA4 may show you where your visitors are coming from and how they interact with your site, but it doesn’t capture the nuances of their personal preferences or the reasons behind their purchase decisions.

Zero-party data is particularly valuable for refining your marketing strategies and making them more effective. It allows you to understand your converting customers at a deeper level, providing insights into their motivations and preferences. This data can help you improve your ad targeting, personalize your marketing messages, and ultimately increase your return on investment.

Secret 1: How to refine your ad strategy 

Refining your ad strategy is like doing detective work: you need to first gather "evidence" that can help you prove your case. There are several places to look: your Google Analytics panel, and if you have one, your post purchase survey analytics (Zero-Party data).

While GA4 tells you roughly who your site visitors are, it is usually not comprehensive enough, and are heavily skewed towards search results. It cannot inform you if your web traffic doesn't come directly from the internet, it fails to track sources such as word or mouth, or from your physical store (if you have one).

This is where zero party data shines. 

Zero party data are data collected via survey and are voluntarily given by your customers. With a post-purchase survey, you can ensure that the information all come from your converting customers – your real target audience. 

Marketing Attribution

The first kind of "evidence" you want to gather is marketing attribution data. 

This is a fancy way of saying: how did you find my store? 

To get a deeper understanding of why this is important and how these data are measured, I would suggest reading our most recent report “2024 Marketing Attribution for E-commerce”

By understanding where your converting customers are truly coming from (referencing both GA4 and zero party data) you then get an understanding of where to focus your marketing budget. 

Customer Demographics

The second kind of "evidence" you want to gather, is who your purchasing customers truly are.

Many Shopify owners often wonder about what survey questions they should ask their customers. It’s simple. You want to ask the questions you see when you are setting up your ads!

If any information is not immediately available with your Shopify customer data, then you want to ask about it in a survey. For Shopify customer data, it is easy to get info such as customer email, phone number, address etc. It is difficult, however, to understand their age, occupation, marital status, or for whom they are buying your product for. 

Overtime as you get more and more customers, your ad targeting will be more and more precise base on the information you can gather with your post-purchase survey. 

Most of our successful clients are using this strategy to refine their advertisements. It shouldn’t stop you from doing it just because you have a smaller store. 

Secret 2: Writing better ads 

If you are not the most articulate person and doesn’t know where to start when writing ad content, perhaps knowing this secret can help you: marketing content shouldn’t just come from your head 

You would want to start by following the 3 steps below: 


Look at ads your competitors have written, save them, and screenshot them so you can analyze them later. Did they use certain keywords over others?  Are they focusing on certain unique selling points?

For instance, if I am a Japanese green tea seller, I might want to check my competition for alternative keywords, such as "Matcha Powder" or "Natural Green Tea".

Example of a Google sponsored ad for Japanese Green Tea


Use the keyword tool in Google ads under Tools > Keyword Planner and type in as many relevant keywords to your product you can think of. Then check Google’s suggestion for other relevant keywords. You shouldn’t focus only on keywords with high volumes only, but rather “niche” keywords with low competition, smaller search volume, but high relevance (people searching them probably have high purchase intentions). 

STEP 3: 

Finally, you want to fine tune these keywords and ad writing. The fine tuning may be difficult with just GA4 data. With zero-party data from surveys, you can get inspiration from your own customers in terms of how to market the product to them.

In a post-purchase survey, ask your customers open-ended questions like: why did you purchase this product? What aspect of this product do you find attractive?

There are three things you can get out of asking this question: 1) Purchase intent 2) Keywords or phrases your customers are habitually using 3) Unique selling point

For instance, if you are selling bar soap on Shopify, you want to find out if your customers are buying it for themselves or as a gift. If your customers refer to your product as soap bar, soap cake, shampoo bar, or body soap etc. Finding out the precise keywords commonly use by your client can help your refine your ad keywords. Finally, if your customers are buying your soap because of the scent, or because it feels extra moisturizing, you would want to re-word these into your advertisement. 

Secret 3: Keep testing and keep refining 

Creating successful ads was never an overnight success story. It takes time and effort to see what has worked and what has not. 

As a general rule, let your ad run for at least 1-3 months before making drastic changes to it. If your ad started working and you wanted to improve it, make sure you make one small change at a time, and observe it. Making lots of big changes at the same time may cause your ad to stop performing, and then it would be difficult to tell what changes has led to the ad stop working. 

My suggestion is to make 1 change, and wait 2-3 days to see if there’s any detrimental effects, and then move on to making the next small change. 

Create the ad with a small budget that you can afford to lose, and keep refining and testing. Trim down keywords that are not performing very well, and add new keywords a little bit at a time (either keywords from search term reports or from commonly used customer phrases). 

At the beginning, you may have little to no information to start because your store is so new, but as you gather more and more insights from GA4 and survey data from real customers, you can start making informed decisions. 

In Summary 

By understanding your audience through GA4 and zero-party data, crafting well-targeted ads, and continually testing and refining your strategy, you can significantly improve your Shopify e-commerce marketing efforts. Embrace these strategies for e-commerce success, and watch your Shopify advertising efforts yield better results.

Discover the Full Potential of Marketing Attribution

Ready to dive deeper into the world of marketing attribution? Our comprehensive report, "State of Marketing Attribution in E-commerce," is packed with valuable insights, real-world data comparisons, and actionable recommendations to help you enhance your marketing strategies.