One of the appealing features about Google AdWords is the ability to control exactly where and when your ads appear. And yet despite that control, most people run their campaigns from midnight to midnight with no changes or variations in between – they’re missing a trick:
- By bidding the same throughout the day, you may be spending over the odds at certain times of the day where there is lower volume, and appearing nowhere when dating traffic traditionally picks up in the evening
- By using the same ad copy, you’re assuming people are at the same point in the buying process throughout the day
- By not splitting out your campaigns, you won’t fully understand which times of day work best for your site(s).
If you want to test scheduling your Google campaigns, here are a couple of ways you can start:
- Schedule your Existing Campaigns
- In your AdWords account, select the Campaign you’d like to adjust, and select Settings
- Under “Advanced Settings”, “Ad Scheduling” select “Edit” and you’ll see a grid for each hour of each day of the week.
- Make sure the “Mode: Basic” is selected
- Select which time periods you would like your ads to run. In the example below, I’ve chosen my ads to run from 12 midnight to 7 in the morning, then from midday to 2pm, then finally from 5pm to midnight.
- You can then copy this setting for every day of the week or, if you want to, have your ads running at different times throughout the week…although that’d probably be overkill!
- The downside with the “basic” mode is that your ads won’t show at any other times, meaning you’ll miss opportunities. So the other option available to you is to adjust your bids instead, effectively suppressing your ads in the quiet times of day, but making sure they still show.
- To do this, in the same screen, switch “mode” to “Bid adjustment”. Then, in the same way as before, adjust your bids through the day and week. Building on my previous example, my ads will still appear in those quieter times, but I won’t be paying through the nose to appear.
Create New Campaigns to run at different times
You can use the tools I’ve shown you above to get even more control over your bidding strategy, advertising copy and marketing data, but it does require some more up-front work.
Put simply, it involves duplicating your existing campaigns and running one during the day, and one during the evening.
Say you have a campaign called “Dating Sites Broad”, this is what you’d do:
- Duplicate the campaign and call the new one, for example “Dating Sites Broad-Day”
- Using the Adscheduling tool I showed you above, schedule your ads to run from 7am to 5pm, and adjust your bid strategy accordingly
- Adjust your “Dating Sites Broad” campaign to run from 5pm to 7am, again adjusting your bid strategy.
- Once you’ve had them running for a couple of days, you’ll be able to see the difference in performance between the two, and keep tweaking your bid strategy too. Once you’re comfortable with this set up, try experimenting with different ad copy for different times of the day, and see if there are any noticeable differences.
Give it a go and see which method works best for you. Before you start, take a note of your average CPC, CPR and CPA, and see how those are affected through splitting out your traffic in this way. If you’ve got any questions on how to improve your own PPC campaigns, email me at email@example.com.