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Friday, June 16, 2006

This Might Be the Last Time I Call it "Dayparting"

For you night owls, tonight Google has announced (and gone live with) Ad Scheduling.

I just tried the feature. Sweet.

For those who manage many paid search campaigns, usability is paramount. It just took me a few seconds on this one test to pause ads during time frames I didn't want them shown. By switching to "advanced mode," you can raise or lower bids by whatever percentage you like, during specific time frames. This is truly a set and forget approach to account customization, not requiring a cumbersome & costly third-party tool.

As for how I expect it to affect many advertisers: badly. No, that's not a complaint about the feature, which is extremely easy to use. It's just that many advertisers will use it as an excuse to show their ads less often, forgetting that it's not just when customers buy that matters, it's the overall persuasion process that takes place over time. I've been talking about my hunch on this for a couple of years now, it seems. When everyone starts overusing the scheduling, you might as well leave your ads on, because you'll get a better deal on them in the auction while others' ads sleep. That is, unless you're rock solid sure of high-conversion times. By diverting funds from so-so time frames, and actually boosting bids during your hot times, you'll potentially increase ROI. The beauty is, this should be easy to do, and the impact on your bottom line, easy enough to test in a rough & ready fashion.

It appears that the feature is currently available only at the campaign level. Advertisers have been asking for this for some time, and Google has responded. I wonder how many will now turn right around and begin asking for more granularity in the scheduling, so it can be done by keyword.

As always: choose your time zone with care, and when in doubt, call in a trained professional.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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