How to use Google AdWords Dayparting Feature

By Matt Vild, Search Marketing Manager, Red Door Interactive Featured in iMediaConnection 
Dayparting is a feature in AdWords that allows publishers to run their campaigns -- during peak times -- when their audience may be the most receptive to take action upon clicking on ads. For example, if you owned a corner bakery in a tourist town during a big conference, it might make sense for you to run a promotion on AdWords that offered free coffee with a purchase of a bagel or muffin. To spend your money wisely, you might want to run your ads in the evening between 10:00 p.m. and midnight -- as people are looking for breakfast places the next day -- and then show your ads again from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. the following morning -- possibly bidding up on mobile devices. You'll probably want to pause your ads during the middle of the day, as people will be less receptive to your breakfast oriented messaging. The opposite schedule would make sense if you own a local restaurant -- trying to get your dinner menu in front of people shortly after lunch, and ramping up more towards dinner time, as people look for local dinner specials online, via desktop and mobile.

How to set up basic dayparting

To setup dayparting in AdWords, click on a campaign you wish to enable dayparting on, and then go into the settings tab, and scroll down to advanced settings. The default setting is to run your ads 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To enable dayparting, select edit ad schedule and then you'll be able to enter your own times.

Optimizing campaigns with dayparting

For the example below, we are telling Google that we want them to pause ads from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. We don't want any ads showing to our audience in the middle of the night since we believe serious buyers of our products are most likely not up and shopping at 3:00 a.m. Depending on your budget, product/service, and marketing goals, you can and should experiment with running ads at various times -- scaling up or down in 15 minute increments. For example, if you are geo-targeting to a specific region in a town and you are trying to sell a product or service to a group of people, it may make sense to not implement as strict of a dayparting schedule on Friday's -- payday for most people. You may want to just run for a few hours during peak times on off-days like Monday and Tuesday. It's important to test and measure and to not blindly limit audience share without a strategy.

Advanced dayparting tip

After you've setup dayparting and have let it run for a few days, then you'll have some data to review. To view data when people are clicking on your ads, select a campaign and go to the settings tab. Select ad settings on the sub-navigation and the information will propagate for review. You can get a bit more granular with the data by selecting schedule details and filtering by hour and day of the week -- or simply day of the week, if you wanted to view general account information at a glance. This is interesting data because if you are seeing much lower CPCs and more action during a specific period of time -- for instance on weekends -- then you are yielding less conversions and also paying a higher premium during the business week. Consequently, it may make sense to limit ad visibility during your off days. Action item: It may be to remove our ads from auction during this time period. If we are looking at this information for a long enough time period -- 2 to 3 weeks or 1 to 2 months -- it will free up account budget to work better for us in other campaigns. Another strategy you can use with dayparting data is to increase bids during times when you are seeing less than stellar performance due to a lower position. As per the screen shot above, we are seeing a lower CTR from midnight to 2:00 a.m. with this particular example. We may want to bid up during those hours to gain a higher position during this time. You'll often see direct correlations here, as your competitors may have identified off hours as a cost-effective time to show ads. Action item: It may be to test an increase of 1 to 3 percent of our bid adjustment, where we are not seeing as good of a performance. To summarize, dayparting is a strong feature in AdWords and should be used to efficiently show ads and maximize budgets. Dayparting also allows advertisers to have tighter control over your account and to efficiently spend money at the times of the day where they're seeing the most activity, as well as the lowest CPC and CPA.

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