PPC Tip: Dayparting using Google Analytics

clock_screen02A good friend of mine that is getting into PPC asked me a question today. A question that I think is common to many people that are really digging into their campaigns. I am not talking to people just getting started (though you should read this too if you are) but those that are wanting to find the next step in campaign optimization.

The question centered around dayparting in Google but based on the specific industry their client was in, so after I guessed (educated guess, really …), I told them to look at the company’s analytics and see where their clients were visiting and buying. The retort was “Google Analytics doesn’t tell me that.”


But I understood the confusion. Information by hour isn’t readily available but it is there. And I am going to show you how to pull the data. But to start, let’s review why dayparting might be important to you.


We get this term from traditional marketing. I first learned it in Introduction to Media Buying at The University of Texas. It had to do with radio and TV time purchasing. Imagine my delight when PPC started using it too. And it’s about the same. Dayparting is molding your spend to specific days and hours of the day to match when your best customers are looking.

Dayparting is not for every company. If you are a consumer based company, people are probably searching for your products at any hour of the day. Business-to-business firms are going to be more open to specifying a time of day. Consider business software – you might have some hard core people searching at night, or small business owners, but if your product is not focused to them, you probably don’t want to be running at 2am. Right? Good. Moving on.

When are your Customers Online?

Your analytics package should be able to tell you when customers are on your site. Above that, you should be tracking what time of the day people are purchasing if you are ecommerce. Google Analytics does provide this information to you, you just have to know where to look. Custom Reports FTW.

1. Get into your Google Analytics Account and find the “Custom Reporting” button on the left side navigation.

GA Sidebar

2. Click and get the bigger menu. At the bottom click on “Manage Custom Reports.”

3. In the upper right side, click on “Create new custom report.”

Custom Text

4. Title it (you’ll forget later) – hit edit next to the “Custom Report blah blah blah” up at the top.

5. First pick the metrics you want to see (in blue, see below). I am a fan of the metrics below, it’s a good place to start when you aren’t sure what to look at.

  • Unique Visitors
  • Unique Pageviews
  • Total Goal Completions (you have to have goals set up to get data here)
  • Avg. Time on Site
  • Unique Purchases (must be e-commerce to use this)
  • Bounce Rate

Sample Google Analytics Dayparting Report Setup

sample dayparting report

6. Once you get those, move to the green aka dimensions. This is where you pick what you are looking at. You can do one of three things here, or I recommend one of three.

  1. Use one dimension – Time of Day – this is the minimal report and will help you see overall trends for time of day.
  2. Use two dimensions – (1) Day (2) Time of Day – this gets down to each day and how things worked out each hour. More detailed but maybe too detailed for some.
  3. Make both. 😛 Two separate reports. You can play with more dimensions of course, but I am just talking dayparting remember?

Once you’ve done that, preview the report and test away until you get it like you want it. If it’s that good and you have more than one client that can use it, you can save it to all of them. Nice huh? Yay for time saving! The rest … you should know what to do with. Pick the best hours, see if there are some major drop offs in traffic and purchasing, and review the data with the client (or executives).

For more information on dayparting check out these resources:

So that was the quick and dirty – please comment with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer or point you to a resource with the answer.


  1. thanks kate, today i found you in the mattcutts blog , and when i read your post then i am impressed because i thoughts that women don’t know about seo

  2. Hi Vikash,

    There are many women that are leaders in the SEO space. If you want an example of a real leader, check out Vanessa Fox, a former Google employee and one of the most intelligent SEOs I’ve ever met.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. thanks kate for tell me about Vanessa fox And can i contact you personaly? if you allow then please check my blog or take id from there or from also in comments. and please send me your email id , if don’t mind. i send to mail by your mail plugin also .

  4. Hi Kate,

    Excellent post. Just one question for you. Is Goal completion or unique purchases the closest that you can get to calculate the ROI of the keyword per hour of the day? If I wanted to see the time of the day when I get the maximum ROI (not unique purchases or goal conversions) from my keywords, what would you suggest I do?

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