Does Timing Matter in Advertising?

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The easy answer to the question posed in the headline is yes. But you already knew that.

Advertisers have been focused on timing ever since television and radio ads have been on the air. Advertisers know that they should air their ads during times when it is most likely that their target audience is watching/listening.

Dunkin Donuts might advertise on a popular morning show, trying to catch people before they leave for work. Burger King might advertise on the radio during the evening commute, hoping to catch hungry workers before they get home. Home Depot might advertise on weekends when they know people are free to do household chores.

So if timing matters on TV and radio, shouldn’t it stand to reason that timing also matters in digital advertising.

Though most advertisers don’t treat digital the same as they do more traditional forms of advertising, the truth is that the same factors come into play. An ad delivered to someone when they are ready to buy has more likelihood of turning that person into a paying customer than one delivered at any other time.

So what should we do?

  1. First, we should establish a plan of action. This involves collecting data on when people are most likely to take action. It also means doing a full audit of existing campaigns to learn the full capabilities of the various platforms. How much control do you have over when your ads are shown?
     
  2. Second, we test the plan. Start putting controls in place to spend the bulk of your advertising budget at times and in places they are most likely to work. Maybe that means bidding more on Google during evening hours. Maybe that means pausing Facebook campaigns on weekends. Whatever it is, your goal is to increase ROI on your ad campaigns.
     
  3. Third, we measure and optimize. Did the plan work and by how much? What worked and what didn’t? If you have the data you need to answer these questions, you can continue to improve the performance of the plan into the future.