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IAB Leadership Forum: Daypart

Posted on 3.14.2007
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Esco Strong, senior analyst for Atlas Institute spoke about the results of a daypart study - research gathered from 20 advertisers involved with the top four genres on the Web. The data analyzed included a total of 56.8 million clicks and 2.1 million primary conversions (defined as the desired action taken), over a two-month period.

Some of the findings (all times are Eastern):

  • On average, the worst time for clicks and conversion were between 4 - 7 a.m.
  • At 10 a.m., the clicks and conversion rates were on par with each other.
  • The highest volume of clicks and conversions were during the lunch hour, 12 - 1 p.m.
  • The next highest total of clicks and conversions were between 7 - 10 p.m.

Some of the results were broken down into verticals, including:

  • Retail: High conversions and clicks occurred between 10 a.m. and noon and again between 7 - 10 p.m. Early morning is the worst time for retail conversions.
  • Personal Finance: High conversion at 1 p.m., right on average at 3 p.m. and a spike at 4 p.m.
  • Dating: The highest conversion rates occur from 7 p.m. and well into the evening. There is even a jump around 4 a.m.
  • Travel: Highest conversion over the lunch hour, but average for the remainder of the day and evening.

Conversion rates can vary as much as 45% during the day, according to this study. At 5 a.m., the overall numbers suggest conversion rates at 30% below average, with the lunch hour producing a 15% above-average conversion rate. So, it's important to adjust your bids accordingly. Bid low for the off hours and move those funds to increase your bids for the peak hours.

The study also looked at search vs. display advertising. The numbers were nearly identical, as far as click and conversion rates except for the morning hours - display conversion rates are 50% below the average for the morning. One possible explanation is that users are doing more surfing/searching in the mornings.

One oversight of the study - geo location. All of these numbers came from the Eastern time zone. The west coast may have slightly different habits. And that would be nice to know if you were selling say surfboards instead of winter coats.

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