Why should you care about ad scheduling? Because you can reduce your Cost Per Lead (CPL), improve your conversions rates AND make the client happy. I imagine that most search marketers are aware that both Bing and Google allow you to control when during the day your ads appear and on which days. However, I’m curious to know how many of them actually use it? It can be one of the many settings that are often overlooked. If you run campaigns that convert evenly throughout the day, every day at your desired CPL, read no further and give yourself a pat on the back. You are awesome/not of this world and hopefully you’re being compensated appropriately for it. For those of you still reading, here is what I’ll explore…
-Where to find the time related data
-How to interpret the data
-How to adjust your scheduling
Oh, and I’ll be focusing on Google Adwords only. Sorry, Bing. So let’s do this.
Ad scheduling is something you cannot guess at. Unless you are dealing with a time-sensitive product or business, you really don’t know what times are best for your campaigns without data. You need enough data to determine the trends that will emerge during the course of your campaigns. A month or two should be sufficient to determine trends, i.e. hours of the day that convert best for you, days of the week etc. If your campaign has been in market for a while, great. But if you’re just getting started, use the “show ads all days and hours” setting, then optimize accordingly once you have enough data. If your budget doesn’t allow for such frivolousness, get a better client (joke) or just do your best to maximize quality exposure.
Where to Find the Data
So where can you find these ever-so-elusive time related metrics? Find the campaign you are interested in analyzing, and then click on the Dimensions tab. If the Dimensions tab isn’t showing, click the little drop down box and check the Dimensions tab. See:
Google provides Hour of Day and Day of Week reporting within the Dimensions tab at the campaign level. One thing to note when considering hour of the day reports: the hours in the report are consistent with the Time Zone selected in your Account Preferences. So say your Account’s time zone is set to Pacific, but your campaign is targeting a state in the Central Time zone, the Hour of Day View will still be Pacific Time – important tidbit for data interpretation.
Once you are in the Dimensions tab, navigate over to the gray View box and click the drop down to see your available Views.
How to Interpret the Data
Using one of our accounts as an example, I have pulled the Hour of the Day view to determine what times are most efficient in terms of conversions, CPL ($150 goal) and conversion rate. See the screenshot below.
You’ll notice the hour of the day are expressed on a 24-hr clock. Each hour is representative of the time between that hour. For example, hour 3 represents the time between 3AM – 4AM. In the screenshot above, I created the red boxes to illustrate what times jump out as being inefficient for conversions and CPL. Now that I have determined what times to exclude, I can do just that.
How to Adjust Your Ad Scheduling
Navigate to the settings tab, and under Advanced settings you will find Ad scheduling, click the Edit link.
There are two modes you can use within the Ad schedule:
Basic – which only allows you to adjust what hours and days you want to target.
Bid Adjustment – which allows you to adjust you bidding by percentages during your targeted hours of each day.
Using the previous campaign example, this is what the ad scheduling using the bidding adjustment mode would look like:
Take into account that 100% means that you’re bids will remain the same as you have them currently set within the campaign. Going below or above 100% will decrease or increase your bids by the indicated percentage. For example, if you use 120% bid adjustment during a particular time frame expect your maximum cost-per-click CPC bids to increase by 20% during that time. The reason for bid adjustments? To stay competitive, especially during times when your conversions are known to be highest. Conversely, you can lower your bids during times that don’t convert as well. Furthermore, if certain days aren’t working for you, you can exclude them by simply selecting the “Not Running” radio button.
Well, that about does it. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them below and I’ll make sure to respond to them!