AdWords Tips

AdWords Ad Scheduling, AKA Dayparting, in 5 Steps [With Data!]

By Margot daCunha July 30, 2014 Posted In: AdWords Tips Comments: 17

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Have you ever heard the saying knowledge is power? ... Well, then why don’t you have any idea what days of the week and times of the day your ads are knocking it out of the park in terms of impressions, conversions, CPA, or whatever other metrics are important to you?

If you’ve been running your AdWords account a few months or more, it’s time to dive into the Dimensions tab (aka one of my favorite spots in to hang out in AdWords) and see what times and days provide the most value to your business. In AdWords, this is known as dayparting (not to be mistaken with day partying) or ad scheduling.

dayparting

“Drunk Firefighters w/ Southie Girls” via Bryan Maleszyk

This valuable setting is something I often bring up in conversation with my clients, although common objections include: But why is this necessary? Isn’t it best to distribute your ads evenly? Doesn’t the time of day (or day of week) someone could potentially convert often fluctuate? What if I miss out on potential business by excluding certain hours of the day?

I understand all of these objections, and indeed dayparting is not for everyone, but if implemented and monitored correctly it can work wonders on your account. As stated by PPC Hero’s Eric Couch, “Working in PPC is all about making the most of what you have … the stakes may be lower when you’re only spending fifteen dollars a day, but that doesn’t make it less important to perform at a high level.”

Think about it: Maybe you operate a ski & snowboard rental shop. You might find that desktop and tablet searches spike on Thursday and Friday nights between the hours of 8:00PM and 12:00PM when skiers are researching in preparation for their ski weekend. You might also see mobile searches increase during weekends and weekday vacation mornings from 6:00AM to 10:00AM. In these scenarios you’ll likely want to re-allocate your budget in order to get more visibility during peak hours. This will lead to more rentals and money for your business, bringing you a step closer to buying that shiny boat you’ve had your eye on.

The scenario above might not be as clear for your business. Perhaps you operate a SaaS company, in which case the hours and days of the week that are most profitable are harder to predict. Luckily, the AdWords Dimensions tab was invented to solve these problems. So let’s put an end to advertising during unprofitable times and start spending your money in a wiser manner.

In this article I’ll:

  • Explain how to use the Dimensions tab to set up ad scheduling.
  • Share some data on which times and days tend to show the best PPC performance across different industries.

5 Steps to Setting Up AdWords Ad Scheduling

Step 1

Before creating an ad schedule or excluding days of the week, jump into the Dimensions tab within the campaign you want to focus on (you can also look across the entire account, for example if your account only has one or two campaigns of similar focus).

using the adwords dimensions tab

Step 2

Once in the Dimensions tab navigate over to the “View” drop-down and scroll down to “Time.” Here you’ll be able to select from the following seven options available, but I’d recommend keeping your focus on “Day of the week” and “Hour of the day.”

dayparting in google

Step 3

Analyze what days and times of the day are most profitable or performing most optimally in terms of your PPC goals. Make sure the amount of time you are looking over is statistically significant. Creating an ad schedule based off of a random pattern that isn’t likely to repeat can be detrimental to your account.

ad sheduling tips

According to WordStream Paid Search Strategist Mark Irvine, “Occasionally I hear a client or account manager insist that some odd day of the week or hours of the day kill it for their account. Unless they have some explanation for why this might be I typically find their data doesn’t support their belief.”

Step 4

Now that you have done some analysis it is time to create a unique ad schedule for your campaign. To do so, navigate to the “Settings” tab within the campaign you’re adjusting, then select “Ad Schedule.”

ad schedule settings

Step 5

Scroll down and select the red “+ AD SCHEDULE” button to choose the days of the weeks, hours of the day, etc. that you would like to show your ads. Once you’ve created your ad schedule you can also use the “Set bid adjustments” to bid higher or lower on certain hours or day or days of the week which are higher or lower in value.

ad schedule

With ad scheduling I would recommend starting with a trial period. Don’t just set it and forget it. Keep track of when you made the adjustments, let your account run on the new schedule, and check in on a monthly basis to compare to past performance, keeping in mind monthly and seasonal fluctuations.

Ad Scheduling Trends and Data

At WordStream we’ve seen some common trends for certain industries when it comes to peak performance in regards to CPA (cost-per-acquisition). For example, DIY and home improvement industries tend to do well on weekends. In contrast, B2B companies tend to do well Monday through Friday between 9:00AM to 5:00PM, with very poor performance outside of these business hours.

Take a look at this B2B client data displayed as a line graph and heat map, which clearly demonstrates a significantly lower CPA Monday through Friday during the hours of around 7:00AM until 4:00PM.

B2B ad scheduling

B2B CPA is lower during standard business hours

business to business ad scheduling

The red zones represent high CPA for this B2B client

Of course, there are industries that are less likely to find dayparting valuable; for example, consumer shopping clients typically experience symmetrical performance during all hours of the day. Below is an example of B2C client, which displays no real actionable trend that would lead to use for a customized ad schedule.

b2c ad scheduling data

This B2C account has a flat CPA throughout the day

b2c ad scheduling

No patterns in day of week or time of day for CPA

This data proves that ad scheduling is not for everyone, but for those who see strong data trends during certain hours or days of the week (like the B2B example above), using dayparting can add significant value to your AdWords performance and lead to a much higher ROI on your AdWords spend.

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of dayparting, take the following steps on your AdWords account:

  • Reflect – Ask yourself if you have noticed any trends in performance. For example do you tend to get a lot more form fill-outs or phone calls to your business during peak hours, workdays, or weekends?
  • Research – Dig into the AdWords Dimensions tab starting with your most profitable campaign. Segment by time of day and day of week, making sure to look over a statistically significant period of time.
  • Re-adjust – If (and only if) a common trend is made very clear through your research (for example if you’re seeing a much lower CPA from 3PM to 11PM on weekends) then create an ad schedule to focus on your top performing times and/or days of the week.
  • Revisit – Take note of when your ad schedule was implemented and revisit your campaign performance in terms of your most important metrics to see how results have changed (and hopefully improved).

Have you tried ad scheduling in the past? If yes, have you seen success (or failure)? Do you see any interesting dayparting trends within your particular industry?

About the author:

Margot is a Customer Success Specialist at WordStream with a background in SEO, SEM, content and digital marketing. Follow her on:

Twitter: @ChappyMargot

Google+: +Margot da Cunha

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/margot-da-cunha/30/3a7/14b

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Comments

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Kristi (not verified) Said:

How are you figuring out the day of the week AND the time in that 24 hour /7 day a week chart above? You can only get one or the other? 

Thursday September 11, 2014

PhilTomm (not verified) Said:

Use weekday dimension, then when you export segment by hour. :D

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Mark Irvine (not verified) Said:

Hi Kristi,

From the UI, you can export this data to excel by:

1. Clicking the "download report" button immediately above the graph (Looks like a down arrow).

2. Add a segment for "Day of week", under time.

3. Add a segment for "Hour of Day", under time.

4. Click download.

 

And viola, you should have your data, segmented by day of week and hour of day. Happy analyzing!

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Dave Schneider (not verified) Said:

Hey Margot,

Thanks for writing this article and sharing the 5 steps to Setting Up AdWords Ad Scheduling. I'm not super familiar with adwords and paid advertising in general so I've bookmarked this for later!

Thanks again
Dave at NinjaOutreach

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Margot da Cunha (not verified) Said:

Hi Dave,

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the article! If you have any questions about dayparting going forward just feel free to respond and I'll be happy to help!

Best,

Margot

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Allen (not verified) Said:

I just want to chime in and say that businesses should be very careful with their decision to daypart.

I run an ecommerce website that relies 100% on PPC. We almost never get sales on the weekend, or late at night. But when you looks at our conversions during the day and week it just doesn't ad up. We have a huge number of conversions that are unaccounted for.

Maybe the customer saw the ad during the weekend or at night. Maybe they converted on a different device. Maybe they clicked a $2 ad I created, and then placed that $1,000 order over the phone, like last week. I have absolutely no idea, because Google can't reliably track that informaton.

Just because there wasn't a conversion, it doesn't mean you should turn off your ads. You can test it, but it's very expensive to test, so be careful if you're a small business.

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Margot da Cunha (not verified) Said:

Hi Allen,

I agree that being careful with dayparting is important. As stated in the article, with e-commerce and B2C companies dayparting is often not always the best route to go when it comes to distrubuting your ads. If the buying process is much longer it can be difficult to track all conversions coming from ppc. With that said there are exceptions of e-commerce companies that benefit signifcantly from day-parting, so going through a trial period if you notice and see these trends through data could work wonders (or just be considered market research), but tracking is essential.

 

Thursday September 11, 2014

PhilTomm (not verified) Said:

I work in ecommerce as well. I decided to use CTR as my main dayparting factor in order to not waste my impressions on people who aren't going to click in the first place. These hours also corelate with the hours where our store does the least amount of sales.

 

 

Wednesday July 30, 2014

Doug (not verified) Said:

Hi,

On my wordstream control panel there is no tab for "dimensions" so I cannot set this up.

Ideally I will show our ads when we have the sales phone lines open.

 

Can anyone tell me how to enable this feature so I can use it?

 

Visible tabs on campaign view are Campaigns, Ad Groups, Default Settings, Ads Keywords, Query Streams

and Negatives. I am not seeing those extra tabs in the screen grab above.

Any clues about where to find it?

 

Doug

 

Friday August 01, 2014

Margot da Cunha (not verified) Said:

Hi Doug,

Thanks for reaching out! Currently WordStream does not support the set up process for dayparting through our software so what you'll have to do is set this up directly through your AdWords account. Details of the set up process are included in my article above, but if you need additional assistance your customer success specialist will be more then happy to help!

Thanks,

Margot

Wednesday August 06, 2014

Florian (not verified) Said:

Hi Margot

Thanks for this Post. It's nice to analyse the campaigns on daytime and day performance. The problem is, that as I know, AdWOrds does not support more than six different time/day configurations with different bid adjustments.

That means, that setting up the bid adjustments for the best performing hours and days is very limited. The other problem is, if using ad scheduling, ads will only be delivered in this max. six time/day zones which are configured. So if I want to only ad 50% on friday from 4-6 pm but also show the rest of the day, it means I must configure three ad schedulings.

1. 0am to 4pm
2. 4pm to 6pm
3. 6pm to 0am

So you see, with a max of six unfurtunatly we are all very limited. The only way I say this to handle, is setup different Campaigns with exactly same keywords but different ad schedulings, this will be almost not handable.

How you handle this limitation or do you have any idea?

Best regards

Florian

Thursday August 07, 2014

Glenn Vinckx (not verified) Said:

Thanks for the tips, ad scheduling is really important. I'm going to figure it our for our campaigns. Looking forward to the results!

Monday August 11, 2014

Margot da Cunha (not verified) Said:

Awesome Glenn! Good luck and thanks for reading. 

Thursday August 14, 2014

Andrew (not verified) Said:

I just wanted to chime in here and share how I pull the hour and day data in one report:

1) Click the campaign I wish to pull data from

2) Click the Settings tab, and the Ad schedule subtab

3) To the right of the red Ad Schedule button, select the Schedule details dropdown and click 'Hour and day of the week'

4) Export

Friday October 24, 2014

Jerome (not verified) Said:

Hi, thanks for this post.

About data range : which range are you usually using ? A minimum impressions or click or the last 30 days etc ?

On my clients accounts, results could be really differents depends of time period I used. So, It's hard to figure out good decisions.

 

Thanks for advices.

 

Jérôme

Tuesday October 28, 2014

Mohamed ALi (not verified) Said:


Hello Guys,

all this about choosing times to show,

what about choosing times to not to show

If I only want to not to show on 20 hours per week, divided to some days

choosing times to show is a little bit complicated, 


is there any way to just choose times to pause, not showing?

To be more specific, 

I don't want to run the campaign during the following times, how should I go? 

 

Friday06 AM - 07 AM
Friday06 PM - 07 PM
Friday09 AM - 10 AM
Friday09 PM - 10 PM
Friday11 PM - 12 AM
Friday12 AM - 01 AM
Monday03 AM - 04 AM
Monday05 AM - 06 AM
Saturday02 PM - 03 PM
Saturday04 PM - 05 PM
Saturday06 AM - 07 AM
Sunday05 PM - 06 PM
Sunday06 AM - 07 AM
Sunday07 AM - 08 AM
Sunday09 AM - 10 AM
Sunday10 PM - 11 PM
Sunday12 AM - 01 AM
Thursday10 AM - 11 AM
Thursday10 PM - 11 PM
Tuesday03 AM - 04 AM
Tuesday09 PM - 10 PM
Tuesday10 PM - 11 PM
Wednesday01 AM - 02 AM
Wednesday04 PM - 05 PM
Wednesday06 PM - 07 PM
Wednesday08 PM - 09 PM
Wednesday10 PM - 11 PM
Wednesday11 PM - 12 AM
Wednesday12 AM - 01 AM


 

 

Tuesday October 28, 2014

Margot da Cunha (not verified) Said:

Hi Mohamed,

Unfortunately the way ad scheduling works is by choosing the hour that you want to appear rather than choosing the hours you want to exclude. I would recommend reversing the schedule you have below to set up the times that you want to appear.

I’m also wondering the reasoning behind your ad schedule? Do you have data to back up why these hours perform much better?

Thanks!

Margot

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