In Pay-Per-Click (PPC), taking control is very important to keep your cost low while maximizing the return. One of the key features available to advertisers is called ad scheduling or also known as dayparting.
In this article, we’ll dissect ad scheduling, from its benefits to how you can optimize it, to help you reduce wasted ad spend and maximize the return.
I’ll also share some best practices at the end to help you get the most out of this feature!
What is Ad scheduling or dayparting?
Ad scheduling, or also known as dayparting, is a way to control when you want your ads to show and how much more or less you want to bid for certain days or times.
The purposes of ad scheduling for specific days or times are primarily in these cases:
- Disable ads when it falls outside of your business hours when you can’t provide the needed service
- Ramp up or scale down your ads when your target audience is more or less likely to search for your products or services
Ad Scheduling allows you to take control and only participate in bidding for an ad space when you choose to by pre-setting your schedule.
If you do not add any ad schedules in Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), your default setting is to show your ads all day to make them eligible to show when someone searches for your keywords.
Why does Ad Schedule matter to you?
Here are some common scenarios to consider.
If your ad is to encourage people to call you to get a quote, you shouldn’t run your ads when your staff isn’t able to answer the phone to provide that quote.
Or if you’re a B2B service provider and the majority of your target audience isn’t searching for your products or services outside of business hours, you might as well disable your ads.
Let’s say you have an e-Commerce store and your busiest days are over the weekend. If so, you want your ads to show more during this time to capture more impressions, clicks, and conversions because you know your customers and prospects are likely looking for your products then.
Having a complete control is the best way to minimize your ad waste while maximizing the return, and the ability to show, or not show, your ads during specific times is a great way to do that.
Benefits of Ad Scheduling or Dayparting
As described earlier, ad scheduling allows you to specify when to show your ads or not.
If you add days and hours in your ad schedule, your ads will run only during those times.
But it’s more than that if you want to take full advantage.
Ads scheduling or dayparting gives you the ability to adjust your bids up or down during those specific times so you can become more or less competitive.
If your historical data reveals that certain ads are performing well during any specific day or time, it’s best to adjust your bids up to become even more competitive, leading to more impressions and clicks.
That will allow those ads to show up more often and show in better ad positions, improving its performance even further.
How to collect and analyze data for ad scheduling
We like data and so should you!
There may be some common sense incorporated into your ad scheduling but the best way to determine is to collect and analyze real-life data from the very people that you’re targeting.
There are two reports Google Ads provide to help with your ad scheduling: Day of week report and Hour of day report.
To view or download Day of Week and Hour of Day reports:
- Click the Reports icon on the top in your Google Ads account
- Click Predefined reports (Dimensions)
- Click Time
- Choose either Day of week or Hour of day
- Review, save as, schedule, or download these reports
Once you have your report, sort your clicks, impressions, or other columns high to low depending on what your advertising goals are.
You can even identify the most expensive hour of day or day of week by sorting Avg. CPC or Cost.
After reviewing, you’ll notice that some days and hours have more or less impressions and clicks than others. Those are what you want to optimize.
To review hour of day per each day of week, you can get the Day & Hour data as well.
- Go to Ad Schedule in your Google Ads account
- Select the Day & Hour tab
- Select the appropriate date range
- Click Download
How to optimize Ad Schedule in Google Ads
It’s good to keep things simple not because we’re lazy because it’s practical and sustainable.
Keeping this process easy to review and optimize will help you continue to make improvements to your account in a consistent way.
Once you have your data and your findings, the following steps can be taken to add time blocks and start optimizing your ad schedule. \
- In your Google Ads account, go to Ad Schedule → click the pencil icon → select the campaign you’re optimizing
- Add blocks of time for each day. It can be a 4-hour interval or anything else that may be meaningful to your business. See an example below.
- Click the Bid adj. cell of the time block you’re trying to optimize
- Select either Increase or Decrease and enter your adjustment percentage. You can decrease up to 90% and increase up to 900%
Google Ads Ad Schedule/Dayparting Best Practices
The following are some of the best practices to consider when setting up and optimizing your ad schedule.
- Don’t guess- review your actual data from Day of Week and Hour of Day reports
- Align your ad schedule to your your campaign goal, i.e. maximize impressions or clicks, etc
- Look at enough data. I’d suggest at least 2 weeks, preferably a month
- Your ad schedule doesn’t have to be universal across all campaigns. Choose a strategy that fits each campaign goal.
- Don’t adjust bids by the hour. Use blocks of time instead. (i.e. 12am-4am, 4am-8am, 8am-12pm, and so on)
- Have more than 1 time block per day to allow for an effective ad schedule bid adjustments
- Even if you’re not ready to optimize or adjust ad schedule bids, add your ad schedule in advance to start collecting data for each time block
- Review at least once a month and update if necessary. Bi-weekly for bigger or complex accounts.
- Consumer behavior is constantly changing. Always cross- examine your Google Ads data with your other first-party data, such as from your CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
➡️ Use a free Instant Google Ads Audit tool
To help advertisers evaluate their Google Ads account quickly, we developed a free Instant Google Ads Audit Report. This will allow you to log in using your Google Ads credentials (fast & secure) to get relevant actionable insights and best practices instantly online so you can start optimizing your account.
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