Dayparting in Online Advertising

Daypart targeting has been a common practice in radio and television advertising, with proven results. Learn more about dayparting and why it should be part of your online advertising strategy.

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Dayparting, also known as ad scheduling, is the process of dividing a day into several parts and restricting the advertisement to only run at a specific time of day when it is most likely to reach and engage a target audience. This practice has been commonplace in traditional media, largely due to the fact that consumers have various needs and wants at different times of the day, making them more receptive to certain advertisements at particular hours. For instance, if you’re a fast-food chain that serves breakfast, consider this: when would be the best time to advertise your new breakfast offering? If you’re a children’s toy retailer, when do you think is the ideal time to run a campaign? Dayparting allows advertisers to maximize the campaign’s budget since it delivers ads only during the relevant times of day to your target market.

In traditional media, daily timetables are usually segmented into several slots:

  • Early morning – 6am to 9am
  • Daytime – 10am to 4:30pm
  • Early fringe – 4:30pm to 7:30pm
  • Prime access – 7:30pm to 8pm
  • Prime time – 8pm to 11pm
  • Late news – 11pm to 12mn
  • Late fringe – 12mn to 1am
  • Post late fringe – 1am to 2am

The cost of running an ad differs from one time slot to the other.

Online advertising works differently from traditional marketing, in that the Internet can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world, and it may make sense to have your ads showing all the time. However, there are many cases in which dayparting can still play an important role in the efficacy of your advertisement.

The cost of running an ad differs from one time slot to the other.

Online advertising works differently from traditional marketing, in that the Internet can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world, and it may make sense to have your ads showing all the time. However, there are many cases in which dayparting can still play an important role in the efficacy of your advertisement.

Options for Daypart Targeting

  • Time of the Day – You can choose to restrict the ad to run only during your audience’s local time, or a specific time zone if you are showing the ad only to a particular continent/country. For example, you can choose to display the ad from 8am to 5pm.
  • Day of the Week – You can choose to restrict the ad to run on particular days of the week (e.g. Monday to Friday, or only every Wednesday to Friday).
  • Time and Day – A combination of both Time of the Day and Day of the Week, you can choose to target a particular time and day for the campaign to run (e.g. Friday afternoons from 1pm to 4pm).

Why Use Dayparting

  • Consumers view various content at various times of the day – What people look at in the morning can be vastly different from what they look at in the evening. Similarly, what people browse on the Internet during the week can be different from what they browse on weekends. According to a white paper by The Online Publishers Association, most people prefer to view News and Information sites in the mornings on weekdays, and viewership of Entertainment and Sports sites spiked in the evenings and weekends.
  • Consumers view content from various locations – Does your target audience work from home, or do they commute to work? Are they stay-at-home parents, or do they spend their time in an office cubicle at a 9-to-5 job? Are they local, or are they located clear across the country? The browsing habits of audiences can vary depending on where they are located.
  • Consumers browse and shop at various times – A study conducted by The Media Audit shows that while online shoppers generally begin browsing at 8am until 10pm, the bulk of the actual online purchases are made between 11am and 1pm as well as midnight and 8am.
  • Consumers browse the Internet from different devices – Desktop and laptop computers are primarily used during the workday to browse the Web, peaking at around 4pm to 6pm; smartphones are used throughout the day, with use spiking after office hours; tablet use steadily climbs beginning from 4pm and tapers off in the late evening. (Source: GoogleMobileAds)

What does this mean for online advertisers? This means that daypart targeting can be an important and effective tool which will help you to focus your ad campaigns in order to bring maximum impact. With dayparting, you can determine which ads are displayed at a certain time, ensuring when it will be most likely to reach your intended audience. This way, there are no wasted impressions or clicks, which translates to savings on your advertising budget.