Friday, May 4, 2012

Google Ad Scheduling


Finally! Google has introduced Ad scheduling for AdWords. This new system allows advertisers to choose when ads should appear, and how much each ad should cost.

To access the dayparting features in Adwords, just edit your campaign settings. Click on "Turn on ad scheduling". You will have to specify a time zone if you have not already done so. Now you can specify the time periods your ads will appear. For example, if your B2B customers are located in the U.S. and Japan, you can specify that your ads only be shown during business hours in those areas. If you are directly targeting consumers, and you know that your customers are more likely to buy during the usual "after dinner" hours, you can specify that your ads only be shown during this time. There is also the control of adding several day parts within each day.

To make life easier, you can also do a "bulk edit". This means you can specify hours of the day, and apply them to every day of the week. The default setting is to have all the ads on all the time.

You have even more control when switching to advanced mode for Ad Scheduling. You can specify how much you want to pay for each ad. If you know that your customers buy more during the hours of 9-5pm, you can up your bid to 130%, for example. If your normal max bid is $1.00, then during the specified hours, your max bid becomes $1.30. After the time period ends, your max bid reverts back to $1.00. During low-conversion hours you can pay less for an ad - just specify a lower bid percentage.

Bear in mind, however, that the time of day on which all this is based is your time zone. Your ads will appear within the time frames you specify in your own time zone. Make sure you allow for different time zones when specifying your ad scheduling. If you are in EST, allow 3 extra hours for those in PST.

According to Google, Ad scheduling will not generally affect your budget. Remember, however, that there is the risk that Google may not be able to spend all of your budget if you specify too narrow a time frame, or too low a bid price.

Of course, maximizing the power of ad scheduling will require some testing. Check your analytics program for the best conversion times, and see what happens when you raise or lower your bid prices. Remember, however, that sometimes customers may require some time before they actually buy something. A customer who finds your site on their lunch break may not be purchasing until after dinnertime at home. It will require some analysis before you can be sure that you are getting the most out of Adwords ad scheduling.

All in all, Ad scheduling for AdWords is a feature that has the potential to really improve the efficiency of your ad spend, if you are willing to put in the time. Google dayparting is a feature that has been long in coming.

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