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Strategies for Day-Parting PPC Campaigns
In part 1 of this series, we described what day-parting is and why you should be day parting your pay-per-click campaigns. In this second and last part of the series I will give you some strategies for evaluating and implementing day parts for your PPC campaigns with Google.

First, you’ll want to pull a couple of reports from Google. Essentially, you are attempting to identify your campaign’s best performing days, and best performing times. Put those two together, and you’ve got a schedule. Luckily, Google’s reporting provides enough granularity to do this. Throw in some good ol’ spreadsheet know-how, and you’re off to the races.

Preparing for Your Day-Parting Analysis

The two key reports you’ll want to run are “account performance” reports: “Daily” and “Hourly (Regardless of Date)”. Don’t forget to include your key performance indicators in the report whatever they may be for your campaign (click through rate, conversion rate, etc.). And one final consideration. Using more data is generally better than less. So, if your campaign has been running for a while, try to report on 90 days worth of data. If your campaigns are really seasonal or cyclical, then looking back that far may muddy the waters too much, so if your campaign has been running for a year – you may want to look at the data from a year ago, or just from the previous week or two. Successful day-part analysis all depends on the specific quirks of your business and whether you have enough of the right kind of data to go on. So think long & hard about what time periods make the most sense to look at.

Determining Your Campaign’s Best-Performing Times of Day

In order to ID the best performing times, use the “Hourly (Regardless of Date)” report to find hours where your campaign is performing at its maximum potential. The one quirk here is that you can’t get “conversions” by the hour with this report. I suspect the reason is that clicks don’t necessarily immediately translate into conversions, and may in fact convert during a different time period. No matter – we’re just looking at account activity to decide when impressions & clicks are the most valuable. By ID’ing the best times of day to show your ads, Google will not waste impressions during less fruitful times of day. By doing this, your quality score will improve, and your ad will have a better chance of succeeding during your chosen time periods.

Google has improved their reporting to the point where now you don’t have to export the data & create your own graphs for time periods because they do it for you now. However, you can’t be one-dimensional. So be sure to look at actual click numbers in conjunction with CTR to identify the best performing time periods. In other words, your CTR may be sky-high at 1 AM, but that might be because there were only 10 impressions.

Determining Your Campaign’s Best-Performing Days

In order to ID the best performing days, use the “daily” report. When you start digging into the report, you’ll most likely find that there are specific days that perform better or worse than others. The daily report just gives you dates though. I think it’s all the more valuable to actually export the report to a spreadsheet and basically combine data from all the days of the week so that you’re looking at all the data from Mondays vs Tuesdays, and so on.

The daily report will show you conversions by day, along with any other data point you want to include. Again, examining the days of the week that deliver the best performance against your KPI (probably conversions) are the ones you want to focus your budget on.

Bringing it All Together

At this point, we find it helpful to create a grid of days & time segments and record your KPI’s into each day/time segment. A quick review of the grid then shows your campaign’s best-performing days and times. From there you can simply login to Google and set your schedule by going into your campaign settings then click on “Turn on ad scheduling.”

Even though there’s some additional work involved, day-parting analysis has paid off for several clients. As a result of day-parting, we’ve been able to improve clickthrough rates as much as 18%, conversion rates as much as 25%, and a 36% decrease in cost per conversion. I’d say these improvements are definitely worth a good chunk of hours of data analysis 🙂

We’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and success stories with respect to day-parting your PPC campaigns!

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