Exclusive: How Slack’s Marriage to Salesforce CrumbledRead Now

Shopify Is an Advertising Holdout. How Long Can That Last?

By  |  April 28, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

Shopify has long held back from selling ads even as Amazon and other e-commerce rivals have leaned in. That’s because Shopify, which operates a shopping app and powers the websites of around 2 million online merchants, feared small merchants might be turned off if they felt pressure to spend more to get their products in front of customers.

But the company has a large trove of data on the shopping habits of millions of people that it could use to target product ads to them. And Shopify’s business growth has declined dramatically since November, so the prospect of running ads on merchant sites and its shopping app has never been more appealing.

Shopify’s dilemma is similar to that of Netflix. Leaders of the streaming app vehemently opposed ads for more than a decade. Then last week, after its subscription growth came to a halt, Netflix reversed course and followed its rivals by saying it would likely sell ads.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
Exclusive e-commerce
Walmart Plans to Offer Buy Now, Pay Later Loans Through its Fintech Venture
Photo by Bloomberg.
The ambitious fintech venture backed by Walmart is planning to launch buy now, pay later loans as soon as next year, three people familiar with the matter said. That could put the world’s largest retailer in competition with fintech lenders like Affirm and Klarna, as well as Apple, another consumer giant set to launch its own installment loans. Walmart has been pushing deeper into...
Latest Briefs
 
Airtable Lays Off 20%, Replaces Product and Sales Chiefs
Ex-Twitter Employees File Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Sex Discrimination
Meta Faces FTC In Court Over VR Acquisition
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive microsoft
Microsoft Eyes ‘Super App’ to Break Apple and Google’s Hold on Mobile Search
Microsoft recently considered building a “super app” that could combine shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds and other services in a one-stop smartphone app, in what would be an ambitious move by the software giant to expand further into consumer services, according to people with direct knowledge of the discussions.
Illustration by Josh Brill.
Opinion economy
A Raise May Be Out of the Question, but You Do Have Other Options
Layoffs have swept through the tech industry (and more may be on the horizon ), flooding the job market with qualified candidates—just like you—as even the large companies are fighting to stay afloat.
The 1:1 policy
A Billionaire Couple Goes for Broke: How John and Laura Arnold Plan to Give It All Away
On Election Day, John and Laura Arnold found themselves deep in the lion’s den: a few blocks from the White House, working from the new Washington D.C.
Animation by Clark Miller
The Big Read
The Passion of Cathie Wood: Why the ‘Wackiest Portfolio Manager on Earth’ Isn’t Losing Faith
Cathie Wood was sitting in a phone booth in the New York office of Ark Invest when she heard Tasha Keeney, one of the firm’s analysts, let out a scream—“a happy scream,” Wood recalled.
Exclusive startups crypto
Crypto and AI-Focused Sequoia Partner Is Leaving the Firm
Sequoia Capital partner Divya Gupta is leaving the firm just weeks after the storied venture capital firm apologized to limited partners about its $214 million investment in the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX.
Org Charts google
Google’s Sundar Pichai Has More Direct Reports Than the CEOs of Meta, Amazon, Apple
Meta Platforms’ Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only CEO spending more time overseeing the development of costly consumer devices.