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.)

11 thoughts on “Dayparting Ain't So Tough – How To Start Simple

  1. Hi Dan,

    I live in Italy and was thinking of joining Stompernet but the reason I didn’t join is because I can only do dropshipping and according to it has slimmer profit margins and it should be part of product sourcing but not all of it.

    Wholesaling will have huge shipping costs because I want to sell products to North America.

    So I was thinking of joining some affiliate programs and promoting some products for a commission. Do you think Stompernet will work for affiliate programs?


  2. Hi Guiseppe…

    I have a lot of friends inside and outside of Stompernet who run their ecommerce businesses entirely through drop shipping.

    Naturally you’d want to look for markets with better margins and avoid stuff like consumer electronics, but it’s entirely possible, and there’s a big downside in carrying inventory and shipping stuff yourself. Amazon is the largest user of drop shipping in the world.

    Jerry West is our main expert on affiliate marketing, and what you’re talking about is the basis of his business. We do have quite a few affiliate marketers in the fold.

  3. Hi Dan,

    Been a big follower of yours since I got into SEO and enjoy your teachings. This was an interesting post, however I’m a bit lost with where you are getting the numbers for your breakeven click cost. Where are you pulling your profit % and your value per visitor numbers from?

    A bit late so my brain might be missing something obvious. Is your value per visitor also your revenue per visitor total? What factors are you usng for your profit %?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

    Jesse DaCosta

  4. This is a great tip, thanks Dan!

    Quick question: I don’t have e-commerce reporting enabled because my sites aren’t e-comm (no shopping carts.) Are you suggesting using e-comm reporting to extract data for dayparting regardless of whether or not the site is e-comm?

    (ps. Wasn’t able to comment here using Firefox When I placed my cursor in the captcha field, it would automatically move the cursor up to the URL field. Perhaps it’s just a weird add-on conflict…)

  5. Dan, I usually experience something opposite. When limiting daily clicks I had lower CTR and higher CPC. When going “full day” I had better results. How would you comment on that based on your experience?

  6. Dan,
    Along the lines of Google Adwords, do you have an explanation for the Adwords “ranking” system – where a site can pay less for a top position for a search term? Does Google use PageRank or some other system for determining how a site is rewarded with a lower pay per click pricing? Google’s explanation reads like a site should be fully optimized so it would be worthy of a high organic ranking independent of any Adwords placements. Is there some correlation between the two?

  7. After having observed hundreds of campaigns as an online advertising analyst, I came to this same conclusion. Nearly everything converts better between 10am and 8pm. Monday, closely followed by Tuesday, also seems to be king for conversions. And, contrary to what I would have thought about shopping behavior, weekends are generally terrible for conversions.

  8. ——————————————————————————–
    Very informative read for the would-be dropshippers.

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