Taking the bus and Metrorail to and from work everyday gives me an opportunity to observe patterns in daily life. See, I live in a diverse city – Miami – and I’ve noticed that people do the same things at similar time intervals almost every day. People from different races, cultures and genders are all on their smart phones all the time! They’re chatting with friends, playing Call of Duty, Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging, shopping, or doing other cool stuff we wouldn’t be able to do without internet access.
One thing I’ve noticed on my morning commute is that public transportation has a rhythm. On my way to work early in the morning, the busses and trains are mostly filled with women. On my way home (after happy hour), men make up the majority of commuters.
I witness this phenomenon on a daily basis. I’m sure it would be a different trend, a different percentage of men and women depending on the time of day and the region, but since I travel at the same times everyday, I share each commute with the same group of women and men. Since I specialize in PPC, this got me thinking about the AdWords Ad Scheduling feature. These simple observations have helped me build more specifically targeted campaigns for some clients.
Search users vary greatly as well – gender, age, interest, culture as well as their daily schedule. We already know that tailoring ads and landing pages to the niche market by crafting as many targeted campaigns and ad groups as possible is the best way to receive the most amount of each click. But, what if you could find the peak times of day where your target market is actively seeking your products or services and use that to the advantage of your PPC campaign, decreasing your CPA and ultimately the entire cost of the campaign? This would save you a lot of money.
For example, gender specific industries such as cosmetics and apparel can use this tidbit to craft more effective ads by accelerating their ad delivery or scheduling higher bids for ads that target women during peak morning hours. This is a screenshot from a clients Adwords account that buys and sells boats.
Choosing the Perfect Time
Before you embark on a PPC campaign, specifically one that will incorporate Ad Scheduling, there are a couple things you need to know. First are the demographics of your target audience; second is what time their relevant online search activity peaks.
Before you do anything else, I recommend that you wait at least 1-2 months after the campaign launches to study trends in your AdWords account. Study the history of clicks and conversions. You can sort the data by hour to discover when these actions were taken. This option is on the Segment tab of the campaigns section under Time.
You may notice that there are fewer clicks and conversions later on at night. However, this doesn’t mean you should rule out those times entirely. It just means that you have a greater chance of securing a better ad position at a much lower bid price.
Then, gather data about peak times during the day when people are finding your site through search. Do these peak times change on weekends? Are certain days more active than others? Is after lunch when more conversions are being made compared to other times? Be as thorough as possible.
Once you have this data, revisit the purpose behind your campaign. Are you trying to attract customers to your brick and mortar store? Do you want them to make a phone call? Compare the times your store is open or when you are available to take phone calls to the times when activity is at its highest. This way you can post at the times you are actually available to interact with leads and not waste money.
If you have certain days or times of the month where demand for your product or service is high, you can schedule higher bids for those times, which will ultimately provide more opportunities to increase your CTR while improving your quality score. There are bid management systems that can make this happen; or you can create multiple campaigns to set different time frames for each ad.
Scheduling Your Ads
Ad Scheduling pays off big during holiday season. Understanding the behavior of your niche market, especially during this time, will help you schedule the most effective ads at the most effective time for the lowest bid price possible, which will extend your budget even further.
The Ad Scheduling feature also allows you to create more highly targeted ads, which will improve CTR. For example, if you own a restaurant and want to promote your breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials through paid ads, you can make a separate campaign for each special and schedule them at their respective peak times throughout the day.
If you want to promote all three specials throughout the day, schedule a higher bid price before and during the time that the coupon can be used and schedule a lower bid price for that meal for the rest of the day. For example, if you were promoting your breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials throughout the day, breakfast would have a higher bid price from around 6am – 11am. The bid price would be lower for the rest of the day. However, the bid price for lunch could be higher between 11am and 2pm, and so on and so forth. The higher bid price at the peak times of day ensures better positioning for your ad when you want it. So Ad Scheduling should be an essential part of your targeting strategy.
Not only is scheduling useful when it comes to taking advantage of peak times of activity, but it is also useful for those of us who have limited time offers that we want to promote, but who lack the time, resources, energy, or memory to pause each campaign when the deal is over.
It is also possible that we may become distracted and forget to enable a campaign on a certain day. With the Ad scheduling feature, you can set the start date, as well as the end date, for your campaign. This way you never have to worry about missing leads or getting leads from expired offers. How convenient is that?
However, when using Ad Scheduling, it is important that you do not make drastic or exaggerated changes to your campaign. Doing so can make a well functioning PPC campaign lose its profitability. That is why we suggest gathering as much data as possible and analyzing it thoroughly before starting a new campaign or making changes to an existing one.
If you would like to learn more about PPC, please browse through our articles section. If you need help crafting an effective PPC campaign, please contact us today for a free consultation.