Alarm clock

Try and think of the times during the day when you’re not using a mobile device.

If you’re a sane person, you can probably think of at least 6 hours when you’re not using a mobile device. This may sound crazy, but people don’t use their mobile devices all day. So is it smart for mobile advertisers to target their customers at all times of the day? Probably not. There’s a reason why you see different types of TV ads according to the time of day. Coors Light probably doesn’t want to advertise to moms while they’re preparing their children for school in the morning, neither do you want to advertise your latest hot app to the mobile user who’s counting sheep at 4 a.m.

Luckily, dayparting features help you target your customers when they’re using their mobile devices the most. In other words, it’s essentially time targeting and isn’t some revolutionary technology that’s going to drastically grow your mobile advertising campaigns. However, it’s needed for precision and contextual targeting and can help you increase your ROI as you progress deeper into mobile advertising. Here’s why.

Why It’s Important

Timing is everything. Industry statistics on mobile usage will have you believe that smartphones and tablets are glued to us. That’s not (entirely) true. The fact is there are times of the day when mobile usage increases (e.g. mornings and after work). Targeting off-peak times can be a waste of money. People use different devices throughout the day, have different browsing habits, and use different apps according to the time of day. There’s a lot to figure out to effectively target your audience.

This graph from Flurry, which was published in May 2013, shows usage habits of American iOS users:

Here are a couple of tips to consider before dayparting:

  • Avoid off-peak times during the day (e.g. overnight).
  • When testing, split test times of the day.
  • Compare CTRs and conversion rates throughout the day, by the hour.
  • Don’t target too soon. Gather a healthy dose of conversions before breaking out campaigns.
  • Think about how your app would be used throughout the day and its frequency of use.
  • Think about device preferences for people throughout the day (e.g. smartphones are most popular for commutes).

Side Note: “Off-peak” is relative. For example, off-peak times for American users may not be off-peak times for European users.

I would even go as far as creating an ad just for a specific time of the day. Sample copy: “Why are you up so early? Download this game while you eat breakfast!” You never know, it could work.

How To Day Part On Decisive

Before you daypart, you need to gather data about your campaigns. If you’re advertising on our platform, you’ll notice that our Live Reports feature contains daypart information. Use this information to create dayparted campaigns.

To create a dayparted campaign on Decisive, navigate to the ad creation screen. The “Time” section of the “New Ad” window gives you the ability to target your campaigns for a specific length of time (days, weeks, months, and years) and time of day (by the hour). The start time is when you want your ad to start running. The end time is when you want your ad to stop running. You can run your ads for any length of time. Dayparting allows you to run your campaigns at specific hours during the day. Pretty simple!

Select all the hours that you want your campaign to run. For example, if you want to run your campaign from 3 p.m. EST to 6 p.m. EST, you would select 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, and 18:00 in the space provided.

If you want to run your campaign during different time ranges (e.g. 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. & 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.), you would select the hours corresponding to those ranges only (e.g. 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 20:00, 21:00, 22:00). There is no need to create two campaigns.

All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST). So, if you want to run your campaign during 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. in London, which is 4 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST), you would select 13:00 (1 p.m.), 14:00 (2 p.m.), 15:00 (3 p.m.), and 16:00 (4 p.m.).

So make sure you think about dayparting before you scale your mobile advertising campaigns. However, don’t expect me to tap on your ad when I’m out on a Friday night.