Every retailer has a different target audience, and different audiences behave in different ways. One way in which they can differ significantly is the time of the day that they like to shop. This information can be extremely useful when optimising PPC campaigns and, used properly, could turn an unprofitable campaign into a profitable one.
Understanding When Your Customers Shop
A great way to identify when customers are shopping is to look at the advertisers brand keywords. Brand keywords generally have high traffic volume and high conversion rate, meaning they usually provide a large enough data set to draw solid conclusions from. Let’s have a look at an example.
The graph above shows the conversion rate of the exact match brand keyword for a well known fashion retailer. The X axis shows the hour of the day. We can see from the data that conversion rate increases sharply after 4am. Conversion rate is above average from around 7am until 1pm, after which it gradually drops, aside from a small peak around 8pm. There is also a peak visible at around 2am, however it’s important to consider traffic volume, which in this case is very low at 2am.
Setting Bid Adjustments to Take Advantage of Conversion Rate Trends
Once we have identified when our customers shop from us, the next step is to translate this insight into actions. The brand conversion rate suggests that users are much more likely to convert after 7am and before 3pm, and they are much less likely to convert in the early hours of the morning. This insight can be translated into bid adjustments for non-brand campaigns, by bidding higher in the hours when users are more likely to convert and cutting out wasteful traffic in the hours when they are less likely to convert.
The ad scheduling settings within AdWords can be found in the the campaign settings tab. Advertisers are given the option to split each day up into custom time frames and set bid adjustments to each one. The bid adjustment works as a percentage increase or decrease of the keyword bid. So if the keyword bid is 20p, a 100% bid adjustment would result in a bid of 40p for that time period. The screen-shot above shows how the bid adjustments were set up for the advertiser in the earlier graph. Now let’s have a look at the impact these changes had on performance.
Following the changes to the ad scheduling, conversion rate increased significantly for almost every hour. The overall conversion rate increased from 1.9% to 2.5%. We also saw an increase in CTR as average position increased.
Brand keyword data can deliver valuable insight. Using bid adjustments in this way can help advertisers to remain present in highly competitive keyword auctions. Remember that every advertiser is different and its likely that the conversion rate trend will vary over time so it’s important to revisit this analysis every couple of months.