In June of 2006, paid-search advertisers worldwide let out a collective sigh of relief as Google AdWords introduced dayparting capabilities to its campaign management interface. By enabling an easy way to control the specific days and times their ads would be running (as well as being able to adjust the maximum bids for those ads), Google advertisers would be able to optimize campaigns in a far more dynamic manner, promoting a more efficient spend of pay-per-click funds for organizations of all sizes and verticals.

Now that we have the option, it’s time to consider which dayparting tactics and strategies make the most sense for any given campaign. For example, Google recommends that some advertisers may want to schedule their ads to run only during business hours, and others may want to raise maximum bids during high-traffic times of the day (lunchtime, for example, is typically a time of higher-than-average consumer purchases). At first glance this seems logical enough, but will this truly contribute to overall campaign efficiency? Based on what I’ve seen, not necessarily.

Taking a look at three months worth of data representing campaigns across three different industries (retail, financial and travel) and sliced click and conversion data by the hour of the day (EST), here are some findings.

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