Google today added dayparting capabilities for advertisers worldwide, thanks to a major infrastructure change on its AdWords platform.
"It was a bit like changing the engines on a jet while you’re flying," Richard Holden, director of product management at Google, told ClickZ.
The feature, which Google is calling "ad scheduling," is available today in the AdWords campaign management interface. It enables advertisers to automatically adjust their bids, or pause and resume their campaigns based on the time-of-day or day-of-week.
"It’s a feature that’s consistent with something we’ve been focusing on for the past year: increasing the amount of control we give to advertisers," Holden said.
Holden suggests that dayparting can be beneficial to advertisers of all sizes and levels of sophistication. Small businesses and local advertisers might want to schedule their ads to run only during business hours. More sophisticated advertisers can fine tune their campaigns based on intra-day and intra-week cycles of buyer behavior.
Dayparting has long been available through third-party vendors working through Google’s API. Those solutions can provide the same or greater control than Google’s own offering, according to Kevin Lee, executive chairman and co-founder of Did-It.
"Doing it through API access gives the third-party vendors additional flexibility in how they implement dayparting. For example, through the API a third party technology or platform can choose to either pause or change a bid based on time of day, day of week or some combination. In some cases one may be preferable to another," Lee told ClickZ.
Lee also contends that a third-party provider can help an advertiser make the best choices about how to use dayparting, and how not to use it. "Doing dayparting badly," he said, "is as bad or worse than not doing it at all."
While third-party solutions are useful for certain advertisers, another group of advertisers will find a Google-supplied option ideal, according to Nidhi Modi, director of SEM at Carat Fusion. "For a lot of advertisers who are working directly with Google, using Google’s other tools like Google Analytics, this will be very welcome," she said.
Another benefit will be for planners, who will be able to get better insight into trends from Google, Modi said.
One less obvious result of dayparting is an increase in relevance for searchers, Lee said. This results when marketers up their bids during times when their target audience is more likely to be searching, keeping their ads live and highly placed. At the same time, marketers who know their audience is not around as much at the time will lower their bids, causing them to move lower, or pause their campaigns.
Advertisers can already use dayparting on Microsoft’s adCenter, and Yahoo is expected to offer it in an upcoming release of its paid search platform.
The infrastructure changes also allow advertisers to view reports in their own time zone, rather than that of Google’s California headquarters. That feature was rolled out in late April.
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Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.