There is a simple underlying theme in paid search: different segments of customers behave differently. In order to capitalize on these unique characteristics, it is beneficial to treat groups differently. An easy place to start your segmentation strategy is with your ad schedules. Whether you want your ads to only show at certain times or you want to change your bid strategy for different hours, day parting is a great way to get more bang for your advertising buck. Before we get started, it is important to confront 3 myths many new paid search analysts might believe.
Myth 1: Every hour of the day should be treated in the same way
It can be tempting to set a singular big strategy during the creation of campaigns or ad groups. However, this one-size-fits-all approach to bidding does not take into consideration different customer behavior throughout the day. From the Campaign or Ad Groups tab in the AdWords interface, you can select “Hour of Day” from the Segment – Time drop down.
From here, you can gain insight into how your different campaigns perform at different hours of the day. Perhaps you see a surge of impressions you’d like to capitalize on in the 1 pm hour (“13” in this view). You could test bidding up to a higher position during this hour to increase CTR and benefit even more from the increase in search volume. Alternatively, you could notice you are bleeding funds during the middle of the night when customer intent to purchase is especially low. You could experiment with bidding down, or completely leaving the landscape during these low sales hours.
Myth 2: Desktop and Mobile campaigns should have the same schedule
In a similar way that users behave differently during various hours of the day, the type of device used also impacts search volume throughout the day. Looking at your own daily schedule, you most likely gravitate towards desktop or mobile searching at different times throughout the day, depending on what is most convenient or readily available to you. For instance, you may be more likely to search on desktop while you’re sitting at your desk during the day but might turn to mobile when you’re doing a quick search in the evening at home. You can access “Device” in addition to “Hour of Day” in the Segment tab. After selecting campaigns or ad groups with the majority of visits from a particular device, you can dig in further to see the hourly behavior based on the type of search. After detecting usage trends, you can adjust bids to target desktop and mobile campaigns differently throughout the day.
Myth 3: Bing and Google ad schedules should match
In the same way hour of day and device type behave differently, the search provider can also unveil different trends in searching and level of intent. However, it is important to note one key difference when deciding ad schedules for Bing and Google. In Bing, the scheduling of ads appears in the time zone of the person searching. For instance if you are in New York and set an ad to stop running at 8 pm, searches in California would see it at 8 pm their time (but 11 pm in New York). On Google, the ad schedules appear in the time zone of the advertiser setting the schedule. Following the previous example, the ad would stop running at 8 pm in New York and 5 pm in California. If you tend to copy settings from Google campaigns to the Bing counterpart, ad scheduling is one glaring situation where the need for individualized thought and attention is necessary.
After using the Segment tab to uncover different patterns based on hour of day or device, you can adjust your ad schedule in the Settings tab in AdWords. In this section, you can apply bid modifiers to target certain hours of the day differently. Alternatively, you can also set hours here if you only want to appear during a certain portion of the day, for instance during normal working hours. You makes these changes using the “+Ad Schedule” button.
No matter how you determine to segment, ad scheduling is a straightforward way to cut out spend during unprofitable times and capitalize on search volume during the times with the greatest likelihood for conversion.
Meaghan graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in economics & sociology in 2014 and earned her Masters of Management Studies from Duke University in 2015. Before joining RV last August, she spent the summer road tripping across the United States with the goal of eating ice cream in every state along the way.