The holy grail of marketing is giving customers what they’re looking for when they need it most.
Sometimes, timing is everything.
Whether coming out with a new product, asking your boss for a raise, or planning a shopping list for the holidays, timing can be a powerful predictor of success.
This is as true for marketers and advertisers as it is for entrepreneurs. It makes sense that putting products in front of people who are ready to buy significantly raises sales.
For digital marketers who focus on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, ad scheduling can boost the strength of successful campaigns. Finding the right combination of ads and timing them for the audience you want to reach is as much an art as a science – and it can yield powerful results when done right.
The technique marketers use to achieve this is called PPC Dayparting. It’s a modern spin on an established concept that will help you optimize your PPC campaigns to meet users’ needs.
Radios and television broadcasters typically partition their advertising content to accommodate their listeners’ lifestyles. This is why television advertisers pay more for Prime Time slots between 7:00 and 10:00 PM, and why radio broadcasters put out their strongest material in the morning, when most people are driving to work.
The media industry invented the term dayparting to refer to this process. PPC dayparting is the process of scheduling ads for specific audiences in order to improve conversions.
Most advertisers already know that every social media platform has its own peak usage period. Facebook users, on average, interact with content the most around 9:00 AM. Instagram users, on the other hand, typically interact most with content around lunch time.
For advertisers, successfully dayparting a PPC campaign requires knowing when the intended audience tends to actively look for solutions to their problems. This can vary widely based on the industry in question:
This list can go on. Every industry has its own optimal dayparting segmentation. Additionally, there are potentially endless cultural and lifestyle factors that can impact optimal audience segmentation.
For instance, while the majority of American coffee consumers rely on their favorite beverage as a morning pick-me-up, Hispanic-Americans are far more likely to drink coffee during the afternoon and evening. The better you know your audience, the more closely you can craft campaigns that meet their cultural expectations.
Although there are plenty of PPC management agencies out there who will promise the moon to anyone who asks for it, the truth is that PPC dayparting isn’t for everyone. It only works in industries where “peak periods” correspond with greater marketing opportunities and business activity.
Consumer-facing e-commerce vendors with steady Internet traffic and wide, general audiences typically don’t get amazing results from PPC dayparting. Businesses where optimal segmentation is unpredictable or in constant flux can be difficult to daypart effectively.
On the other hand, most professional services and B2B vendors have a powerful incentive to daypart according to their customers’ typical work hours. Banks, telecom vendors, and grocery stores all have their own unique segmentation rules.
But there is another aspect to dayparting that you should keep in mind: data. If your campaign doesn’t generate enough conversion data per day to make statistical analysis possible, then it dayparting may not produce meaningful results. If there is not enough traffic to track, there is no way to validate PPC dayparting results with precision.
The first step to leveraging dayparting to improve your PPC campaigns is examining your audience’s current behavior. You may have already noticed a trend in your industry or field, or you’re curious about a dayparting segment and wish to test it.
You will have to qualify these opportunities by crunching some numbers. Google Ads makes this easy with its Predefined Reports page (formerly Dimensions). Open the View tab and click on Time. The tool will segment your data either by the time of day or day of the week.
You are looking for figures that show statistical significance. This can involve some complex mathematics, but most office productivity software suites (including Microsoft Excel) can do the bulk of the heavy lifting on your part.
That statistical variance is the tool you will use to determine how much to spread your ad campaign across the various dayparting segments it can reach. For instance, you may find that nobody converts between the hours of midnight and 7:00 AM on weekdays – go ahead and customize your schedule to not show ads during these hours.
To do this, simply open up the Settings tab and click on Ad Schedule. Click on the +Ad Schedule button and select the days and hours you want your ad to appear. Use the Set Bid Adjustments tool to set higher bid values for times that have greater value, and start a Trial Period to see how it goes.
Check back in a week, or a month, and see how your ad performance has changed. With luck, you will have a far better conversion rate than you did before dayparting. If not, adjust your terms according to the new data, and try again.
Facebook advertisers have to engage with a unique environment. Your ads’ position on the News Feed has to make use of the “engagement sweet spot”, when most of your audience is using Facebook and when the fewest new posts are being uploaded.
That means that there are two factors you will want to look for here: audience engagement and post volume. Facebook’s PPC tools make it easy for advertisers to identify and capitalize on their audience’s sweet spot in the Insights tab.
Use this guide to break down your Facebook ad spend by hourly or daily activity.Once you have an idea for a potential PPC ad scheduling tactic that might fit within your audience’s expectations, you’re ready to initiative a dayparting campaign.
First, you will need to access the Ad Set menu in your Facebook Ads settings. Open Budget and Scheduling, then Lifetime Budget. This is where you can schedule a time frame for your ad to run, including everyday.
Next, use the Optimization for Ad Delivery option to Run Ads on a Schedule. A calendar chart will pop up. Shade in the times and days you want your ads to run on.
Facebook also allows advertisers to adjust their scheduling system for users’ time zones. This can be useful if you are trying to address users over multiple territories.
Google, Facebook, and many of the other platforms that support dayparting also support geo-targeting. Combining the two gives you the ability to choose not just when users interact with your ad content, but where.
These two mechanisms give advertisers unprecedented access to consumers at the most critical junctures of the sales funnel. By using these two tools in tandem, you can target an exact type of customer by pinpointing the times and places when they are likely to be most active.
The more advanced your filtering controls are, the smaller your audience becomes. In today’s mobile-first marketing environment, that’s a good thing. You want to maximize the number of ads you show to people who go on to become happy lifelong customers, and minimize the number of ads you show to people who simply aren’t in the market.
These tools, along with device targeting, are the building blocks of advanced PPC ad scheduling. Put PPC dayparting to work making your advertising content perform for its intended audience at the critical moment when they are most likely to convert.
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