February 23, 2017

When Is The Best Time To Run PPC Ads?


The goal of marketing — reach the right people, with the right offer, at the right time. I don’t remember where I heard this first, but it’s been a powerful motto for me.

The statement is very simple, but profoundly true. Your business should already have a product or service that meets the needs of a specific set of customers. These are the right people, whether they’re current customers or potential customers.

Your offer should solve a problem they have or meet a need. That leaves us with the right timing to run PPC ads.

The Right Time

Even if you reach the right people with the right offer, you can fail if the time isn’t right. Think of a marriage proposal. You could have the right girl or guy and the right offer, but you’re not going to propose on the first date. The timing is critical.

Your marketing efforts are the same way. I am going to show you how to use your AdWords account to determine when is the best time to run PPC ads.

When Is The Best Time to Run PPC Ads?

One of the beautiful things about pay-per-click (PPC) marketing is that you have very precise data. Nowhere is this more apparent than in AdWords and we can learn a lot in the Dimensions Tab. Since we’re interested in knowing the best time to run PPC ads, this is where we want to look.

Here is what you’re looking for in the interface:

AdWords Dimension Tab

As you can see, we want to select the drop down box for “View” and then choose Time > Hour of day (the Day of the week option is also highlighted because that’s another good one). This report is going to show us all of our performance metrics for this campaign by hour of day.

Here is the data for a campaign of mine:

Time-Of-Day

I’ve sorted this by the Hour of Day column to give you a chronological view. As you can see, the volume of clicks and impressions is quite typical with most of the action during the hours of 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Keep in mind that this account is on Pacific Time, so most of that traffic at 5 a.m. is probably Eastern time zone people at 8 a.m. Eastern.

You can see there are a couple sweet spots during the day; 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There are also some real dead times at 3 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Taking Action

Now that you know what times of day are good, bad and ugly when it comes time to run PPC ads, here’s how you act on that information. Go to the Settings tab of your campaign and then select “Ad Schedule.”

Here you’ll create an ad schedule for our “sweet spots” like this:

Edit-Ad-Schedule

Once that’s saved, you add bid modifiers like this:

run ppc ads

You can bid up or down for any hour of the day or for any day of the week based on the data you found in the Dimensions tab. That’s powerful and specific action on detailed data.

Time Photo via Shutterstock

5 Comments ▼
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Robert Brady


Robert Brady Robert Brady is Senior Manager: Software, SMB, Strategy at Clix Marketing, a Google AdWord Certified Partner. Robert helps small business owners and large companies just getting started with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) get better results from their PPC advertising.

5 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    Interesting. I guess different days and time has an effect on it. But is this true for all types of campaigns? You will not know until you have tested it yourself.

  2. @Aira – You’re right, it’s all about testing. I’ve been surprised more times than I can count.

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