So you’ve got your campaigns and ad groups set up, you’ve built out the right keywords and ad copy that you think your consumers will interact best with. Now you can sit back and relax, right? Wrong! Don’t settle for mediocre results – optimization is key and one of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition is by implementing a day parting strategy. I like to think of the concept of search in 3 simple components. Show the right ads, to the right people, at the right times. While it may seem like a no brainer, the last part (“at the right times”) is often overlooked. I’m going to explain to you the importance of day parting strategies: what it is, why you should use it and how you can get started.
What is Day Parting
Day parting is not a new concept in the advertising world, nor is it brand new to SEM. It’s essentially “ad scheduling” – that is, showing your ads or bidding more aggressively during specific time periods or days of the week compared to others. With day parting, you can use bid modifiers to increase or decrease bids during specific time periods of the day.
Why Should I Use Day Parting?
You don’t see ice cream trucks at 8 in the morning and you don’t see Mother’s Day commercials on October 12th. While these are extreme examples and seem pretty obvious, it’s the same concept as day parting. If you’re advertising for a product/service that most people use at night, why should you spend your budget during the morning and afternoon and miss out on your most profitable time of the day? Without the use of day parting, you run the risk of ineffectively spending your budget throughout the day/week. This can lead to limited ad serving at crucial times of the day due to budget constraints on certain campaigns. Unless you have an unlimited budget, day parting strategies should be a strong consideration. Maximize your marketing efforts with effective day parting strategies:
- Get the most ‘bang for your buck’
- By using “Time of Day” and “Day of Week” reporting dimensions, you can find out what time of day/day of week is least competitive or most profitable and maximize ad spend during those times
- It could be that your target audience searches for your product all day. See if they’re searching/converting late at night or early in the morning and increase ad spend during those times. You could see lower CPCs during “off peak” hours due to less competition.
- Beat out top competitors & increase exposure during peak hours or days of the week
- Avoid spending your budget during off hours/down times
- Stack your dollars for a full-fledged effort during the times where you know your customers need you most
- For example, if you’re selling heartburn/indigestion medicine, bid more aggressively during post lunch/dinner hours when people are starting to feel the effects of that spicy meal they just ate
- Advertise around your business hours
- Say you’re a hotline that is only open Mon-Fri 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Don’t serve your ads to people on Saturday at 10:00 PM when you’re not open
Day Parting In Action – Example for “Greg’s Pizza”
Let’s say you’re advertising for a local pizza shop, let’s call it “Greg’s Pizza” with a budget of $400/day. Without using day parting strategies you notice $75 of spend in the morning from 12:01 AM to 11:59 AM with only 8 conversions. From noon to 3:59 PM you see a huge increase in traffic due to the lunch rush. In this time frame you spend $225 for 75 conversions. Now by the time dinner comes around from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM you’re only left with $100 of budget. This only lasts you until 5:00 PM but you still receive 90 conversions.
By analyzing this data you can see that the evening time period was most profitable but without using day parting you had used up just about all your budget before 5:00 PM. Had you saved your budget for dinner time you could have maximized the amount of conversions. Perhaps you even notice that there are suddenly many more competitors during the dinner time than any other part of the day and you see a huge increase in CPC due to the competition. Instead, you can choose to focus most of your budget back on the lunch time where there are fewer competitors and you can benefit from much lower CPCs allowing you more conversions at a lower cost. This is exactly what day parting does, it allows you to strategically market to the customers you want.
How to View Day Parting
To view “Time of day” reporting within AdWords, go to, Dimensions > View: > Time > Hour of day. See below for an example of a time of day report.
You can also view “Day of the week” reporting by clicking Dimensions > View: > Time > Day of the week (see below)
How to Set Up Day Parting
Within AdWords you can adjust your campaign settings to show your ads during specific time periods or days of the week in order to maximize performance. AdWords allows you to be as granular as down to 15 minutes of any hour for any day(s) of the week. This is done at the campaign level by clicking, Settings > Ad Schedule > + AD SCHEDULE> + Create custom schedule
This can also be done similarly in Bing AdCenter within campaigns settings. Click into the campaign of your choice, navigate to the “Settings” tab and under “Targeting options”, expand “Advanced targeting options” and click “Ad schedule”
How to Set Up Bid Modifiers
To increase bid adjustments based on certain times of day, click into your ad schedule, select which time frame you want to adjust and click “Set bid adjustment” to increase/decrease your bid adjustment.
Bid modifiers are a crucial step in bid adjustments. Instead of turning off campaigns completely during particular down times, set up rules to automatically increase/decrease bids for any time you’d like.
Recap – Day Parting Benefits
- Gain valuable insights
- Know your business, understand your consumer and be where they are
- There’s no need to guess at what time you think people need you the most. Use AdWords time of day and day of week reporting to SEE what’s really happening
- Bid strategically
- Save budget to bid aggressively during peak times for maximum efficiency (CPA)
- Your data tells a story
- Understand it and use it to market more effectively