Dayparting Ain't So Tough – How To Start Simple

First, a definition, in the context of pay-per-click advertising: Dayparting is the practice of limiting or shutting down ad campaigns at certain times of the day, and/or increasing activity at other times, in an attempt to maximize the profitability of the campaign.

Or you may prefer SEMPO’s definition:

Dayparting – The ability to specify different times of day – or day of week – for ad displays, as a way to target searchers more specifically. An option that limits serves of specified ads based on day and time factors.

No matter how you define it, a lot of advertisers are left wondering how it works, and whether they should do it… Over the years, I’ve seen many speakers, writers, and educators talk about pay-per-click advertising. I’ve done training on this myself, of course.

When it comes time to talk about day-parting, we all seem to get a little scared that someone will misunderstand, so the explanation of dayparting rarely seems to get beyond the definitions offered above.

While it’s true that a complete understanding of dayparting would require a lot of discussion, it’s equally true that there are some very simple things an advertiser can begin to do, in order to understand how “time of day” affects their profitability.

Getting Some Numbers

What you really want is your revenue per visit and cost per click, hour by hour, for each ad group, keyword, and campaign… but guess what? That’s kind of hard to get. If you use Google Analytics, you can’t get ‘hourly’ reports for keywords… so, what to do?

Although you can’t get hourly reports at the level of detail you want, you can get an overall sense of how well the incoming traffic on your site performs at different hours of the day.

In the ECommerce section of Google Analytics, you want to look at two reports:

  • First, the Conversion Rate report – click the link for hourly data, and export that report.
  • Second, Average Order Value – do the same – hourly report, export the data. If you collect leads, just assign a value.

The next steps are 5th grade math:

  • Your average order value times your conversion rate = your revenue per visitor
  • Mulitply your profit % by your value per visitor = your breakeven click cost

The table below, from Microsoft Excel, shows this calculation for a friend’s site:

They are at breakeven between around 8am and midnight, and most profitable during the hours of 10am-8pm (shown in green).

Not Science, But Maybe Better Than Nothing

While this method isn’t as scientific (or accurate) as analyzing your keyword campaigns’ traffic directly, it does have the advantage of being easy to do. For a campaign that is losing money, or barely profitable, eliminating click costs during off hours can make a huge difference. Maybe even enough difference to get some better-than-free analytics software up and running.

That’s it for today… we’ll talk more soon.

(PS – Stompernet is open today for a few hours to fill up the last few spots. If you missed it last week, today is your last opportunity.)