Dayparting - a Hidden Gem

Anjali McKenzie, Former UX Researcher

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on

Recently, I’ve started to revisit the idea of dayparting across several of the campaigns we manage. With the strong focus on keywords, ad copy, and bids, dayparting often gets overlooked when setting up a campaign. It's is a true hidden gem that can help drive additional visitors and maximize ROI.

Dayparting (or “Ad Scheduling” as Google AdWords calls it) lets you schedule the display of your ads for specific days of the week and hours throughout the day.  You can raise or lower the normal bid by a set percentage during each period. This sort of ad scheduling enables you to capture more visitors during your peak traffic times and save money during off-peak times.

Before setting your dayparting schedule, you want to first determine what exactly your peak hours are. When do your visitors conduct searches the most, and more importantly, when do they convert the most? Once you determine this, you can then allocate your daily PPC budget in a way that will help maximize ROI.

Dayparting could be useful, for example, if you're a pizza delivery restaurant that closes at 11pm. You might want to decrease your bids for delivery-related terms from 11pm to 8am, since customers looking for immediate delivery will cost you clicks but will give you no revenue. In contrast, noon may be your most profitable time, and you may even up your bids at those times to gain a higher position.

The chart below shows Viget’s hourly traffic, pulled from Google Analytics (roll-over to enlarge).

viget traffic

You can see that for Viget, the peak traffic falls between about 5am and 5pm. That said, we might decide to daypart as follows:

viget dayparting

Google even allows you to bid over 100%. This is especially useful for online retailers who may be pushing a limited time special (e.g. pre-Christmas deals, 24 hours only!). 

Whether you’re a local business who wants to run ads during business hours only, an online retailer running a limited time promotion, or an entertainment site that gets high weekend traffic, dayparting is definitely worth considering.

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