Improving B2B Search Advertising Results via Ad Scheduling
In the first part of this series, I explained how B2B Marketers can improve the efficiency of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns via geo-targeting, and why this technique is beneficial, even for national advertising programs. Today’s article will explore a second, proven method of focusing PPC campaigns and improving results: ad scheduling. Ad scheduling Basically, there are […]
In the first part of this series, I explained how B2B Marketers can improve the efficiency of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns via geo-targeting, and why this technique is beneficial, even for national advertising programs. Today’s article will explore a second, proven method of focusing PPC campaigns and improving results: ad scheduling.
Basically, there are two methods of scheduling ad serving: time of day, and day of week. With time of day scheduling, you set specific times you would like to run (or not run) ads. With day of week, you run (or do not run) ads on certain days. You can combine these two methods and set ad serving for specific times on certain days. For example, you may choose to run ads between 8:00am and 6:00 pm on weekdays, and only during evening hours on weekends.
Day/Time reporting tools
Before you start an ad scheduling program, I recommend that you analyze past campaign performance by day and time. The specific metrics you analyze will depend on your campaigns goals and how you measure success.
Google allows you to report impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, average cost-per-click, and cost – all by time of day and day of week. You can do this by generating an Ad Group, Campaign, or Account Performance Report. These metrics are great ways to better understand traffic patterns.
However, for campaigns that measure success based on conversions (sales, leads, registrations, etc.) you will need to move beyond basic Google reporting and use a third-party tool that allows you to report conversion metrics (such as volume of conversions, conversion rate and cost-per-conversion) by time and day.
Analyze historical results
Once you’ve prioritized campaign success metrics, it’s time to analyze historical results. If you work in a seasonal industry, you may want to run a separate analysis for various time periods. For example, PPC results may be different in the summer months, or may vary greatly during the holiday season. If your business isn’t particularly seasonal, it’s best to analyze a full year of data if possible, to average out any short term anomalies.
Once your data is compiled, you will likely see significant trends in campaign performance by day and by time. Below are some examples of data from actual PPC campaigns:
Implement a scheduling strategy
A common occurrence for many B2B campaigns focused on reaching corporate buyers is that results decrease significantly after business hours and on weekends. If this is what your historical data indicates, you should consider focusing your campaign, realigning your budget, and only serving ads during business hours.
Alternatively, if your target audience is small business owners and independent consultants, many of these folks work out of their home or run a business on the side. You may see better results during evening hours and weekends. If this is the case, it makes sense to focus your limited investment during these peak conversion times.
Once you have determined a scheduling strategy, you can easily implement this in each of the PPC campaign interfaces by setting your ads to run at the best performing days and times. In both the Google Adwords and Yahoo interface, you will find this option in campaign settings.
Focus your investment
Searchers (and prospects) behave differently at various times. Ad scheduling can be a great tool to add to your PPC arsenal. Whether you have unlimited funds, or a limited budget, ad scheduling allows you to take advantage of the times of day or day of week when your customers are most interested in your product or service.
Bottom line: Make sure you’re spending your dollars in the right places and at the right time!
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