Retargeter Blog

Dayparting for Precision and Profit

What is Dayparting?

You won’t see ads for Grey Goose on TV during the afternoon, and you won’t see ads for Lucky Charms at night, and for good reason. Different times of day bring with them different audiences, which is why savvy marketers need to take dayparting into account when planning their online ad campaigns.

Dayparting is the practice of dividing a day into several segments and directing different forms of programming or advertising to each segment. In the TV and radio context, dayparting is partially dictated by decency requirements—that’s why “mature” content can only be broadcast late at night, when children are less likely to be exposed to it. In online advertising, however, dayparting can be a powerful tool to bring focus to your ad campaigns. By being able to suspend or ramp up ad campaigns during certain times of the day, dayparting can help you define which of your ads are seen at what time, and ensure that you’re not wasting your impressions, clicks, or ad dollars.


Google Internal Data 2011. % of each platform’s traffic shown hourly for one day. Does not indicate absolute or relative traffic volumes. (source)

Dayparting for Precision and Profit

There are several reasons why you should factor dayparting into your online advertising strategy.

  • People look at different things at different times. The content that is popular in the morning is often very different from what is popular during the evenings, and weekend browsing habits are distinct from weekday browsing habits. For example, most people seem to prefer news and information sites during their weekday mornings, and entertainment and sports sites during the evenings and weekends.
  • People have different browsing modes. Though people browse shopping sites throughout the day, a study by The Media Audit indicates that the bulk of buying activity is concentrated between 11am – 1pm and midnight – 8am. The study demonstrates that browsing and purchasing don’t necessarily occur during the same periods, an important factor to consider when scheduling ads.
  • People use different devices throughout the day. A recent Google report shows that desktop computer use peaks between 4pm – 6pm and then tapers off, while both mobile and tablet use climbs steadily from the mid-afternoon to the late evening.

In short, dayparting has the potential to enhance the targeting precision of your campaigns while maximizing the ROI of your ad spending.

How to Use Dayparting

Before you begin dayparting your online ad campaigns, there are a couple of factors you should consider:

  • What are your goals? Do you want to adjust your dayparts to maximize clicks and overall traffic, or are you more concerned with driving traffic that is more likely to convert? Is your online ad campaign oriented towards spreading brand awareness or producing sales?
  • How long is your sales cycle? Do your customers typically conduct extensive research before making a purchasing decision, or are most of your sales done at the spur-of-the-moment?
  • Where are your customers? Are they geographically concentrated or disperse? What proportion of them are in the same time zone as you?
  • Do you have enough data to draw conclusions about dayparts? Is your data set large enough to offset natural statistical variations in clicks and conversions? Do you have a wide-enough time span to account for seasonal differences?

Once you’ve addressed these issues, you’re ready to begin your analysis and discover which days of the week and which times of day yield the most clicks and conversions.

To determine the optimum dayparts for your ad campaign (must have Conversion Tracking enabled):

  • Open your Google Analytics account
  • Click on Ecommerce -> Conversion Rate
  • To see reports by hour, click on the first icon next to “Graph by:”
  • To see reports by day of the week, click on the second icon next to “Graph by:”

You can supplement this information with click data from your ad platform—ReTargeter, Google AdWords, and Bing AdCenter all offer dayparting analytics.

By combining the click data and conversion data, you should be able to identify times of day and days of the week when you’re likely to receive a higher ROI on your ad spending. Armed with this data, you can then setup your ad schedule on your platform of choice and plan your ads accordingly.

The Relentless Pursuit of Precision

One-size-fits-all advertising is a thing of the past. Effective display ads have to be custom-tailored to viewers’ demographics, interests, and habits to yield clicks and generate conversions. Dayparting is a worthwhile addition to any marketer’s bag of tricks because it focuses ad dollars on the days and times where they’ll have the most impact.

If you’d like to implement dayparting for your retargeting campaign, please contact a ReTargeter Account Manager today.