Day Parting in Google Adwords

The great advantage of search engine marketing is that it allows you to implement many of the standard techniques and best practices of traditional marketing with greater precision than ever before. You can target ads and promotions to specific locations or demographics; test variations for performance; and attribute revenues to ad spend—down to the I.P. address or the penny. This is also true of “day parting.” In traditional advertising, day parting is the practice of guessing how your ads will perform at different times, and scheduling them accordingly. With Google AdWords and other search engine marketing networks, it is a technique that allows you to specify a percentage of your standard pay-per-click (PPC) bids for every 30-minute interval of the week, and to base your adjustments on precise historical data.

Collecting the Data You Need to Schedule Your Ads on Google AdWords

Unless you have a special circumstance – such as a “Click to Call” campaign that directs users to a call center with limited hours – you shouldn’t implement day parting in a new campaign. Instead, you should begin by showing your ads at all times of the day, and then using performance data to determine how you should distribute your ad spend.

In Google AdWords, that data is included in the “Campaign Performance” report. Building an hourly report in AdWords is fairly simple:

  1. Log into your Google AdWords account.
  2. Click on the Reports tab.
  3. Click Create Report.
  4. From the Report Type options, select Campaign Performance.
  5. In the Settings, set the “View (Unit of Time)” to “Hourly (regardless of date)”; set the Date Range to “All Time”; and, for Campaigns, press the radio button for “Manually select from a list” and choose the relevant campaign from the list that appears.
  6. Finally, select a name for your report at the head of the “Templates, Scheduling and Email” section, and click “Create Report.”

The new Hourly Report will now appear in your AdWords Report Center. Click on the report to view it, and you will see your campaign’s average performance at various hours of the day for a number of metrics, including Impressions, Clicks, CTR, Avg CPC and Cost.

Week Parting: Making Broad Adjustments for Weekdays and Weekends on Google AdWords

The simplest way that you can use the data you’ve collected is by “week parting” your ads. That is, rather than setting bid percentages – or simply turning your ads off – at different times of day, you can do it at different days of the week. The most common use for week parting is to disable ads (or reduce bids) during weekends. This is because many campaigns don’t perform as well on Saturday and Sunday, when more users are away from their work machines.

If your data demonstrates this trend – better performance on weekdays than weekends – consider implementing week parting. But, rather than turning your ads off altogether on weekends, try reducing your Saturday and Sunday bids by a specific percentage instead. Better yet, reduce your bids on the weekend, and increase them by a corresponding amount on your best-performing weekdays. This will allow you to take full advantage of your online marketing investment.

Day Parting for Beginners: Turning Ads On and Off at Specific Intervals on Google AdWords

The next step from week parting is to turn certain time intervals on or off depending on performance. For instance, if your ads don’t perform well in the middle of the night (say from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.) you can disable them at those times. You may still be paying for clicks, but insomniacs surfing the Web at 2 a.m. are more likely to click on ads than they are to complete transactions.

The Clickable Pro Tool’s “Ad Scheduling” interface makes it very simple to turn units of time on or off. Just go to the Google AdWords campaign you want to manage, click on “Campaign Settings,” then click on “Ad Scheduling & Serving.” You’ll see a grid for each day of the week, as well as a “Bulk Edit” option at the bottom which allows you to manage Weekdays and Weekends all at once.

By default, every 30 minute interval will be green: ads are showing at that time. To turn a unit of time off, just click on it, and it will turn light gray. To turn it back on, click again. That’s all there is to it!

Advanced Day Parting: Setting Bid Percentages for Every 30 Minute Interval

The most precise way to manage day parting in Google AdWords is to set specific bid percentages for different time intervals. Doing so in Clickable Pro is simple. First, mouse-over the clock icon in the grey bar for the day you’d like to manage. A small lightbox will display the time interval the bar represents (if you haven’t used ad scheduling before, it should just be 12:00AM – 12:00 Midnight) and indicate the percentage of your bids that your campaign is set to make on that day (the default is 100%).

Click on that percentage, and a new one-field wizard will launch.

All you need to do now is set a new percentage, and every bid in your campaign will be reduced by that amount on that day of the week. For instance, if one of the keywords in your campaign is set to a default Max CPC of $1, setting the percentage to “80” will change its default bid to 80 cents on that day. The same thing will happen across every bid in your campaign.

Repeat the process for each day you’d like to adjust, and you’re all set.