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Should Dayparting Be a Part of Your Amazon PPC Strategy in 2024?

Do Amazon’s Fluctuating Algorithms Present Optimization Opportunities, Or, Is There a Better Way?

  • January 5, 2024
  • /
  • Patrick Donelan
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If you’re running advertising campaigns on Amazon, chances are that you’ve spent a fair amount of time digging into the campaign reports and analytics. After analyzing the data, you’ve probably noticed significant differences in performance based on time of day. Specifically, some hours of the day clearly outperform others. 

This variability of ad campaign performance has long interested marketers. Recently, Amazon made a change that affects the transparency – and immediacy – of access to their data and has brought dayparting to the forefront of the eCommerce conversation. 

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A lot of Amazon sellers are specifically asking: is NOW the time to take a closer look at dayparting? 

Keep reading to find out what dayparting is, why some sellers have made it part of their PPC approach, if it makes sense for your brand, and finally, how to implement dayparting for your Amazon sponsored ads.

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What is Dayparting 

Dayparting involves scheduling your ads to run during specific periods of the day when shoppers are more likely to click, convert, or when advertising costs less per click or conversion. (Think higher RoAS/lower ACoS)

We know that buyer behavior varies dramatically throughout the course of the day. Should you adjust your marketing strategy to match it? For example, set your campaigns to only run from 7 AM to 11 AM and then again from 8 PM to midnight if that’s when metrics like click through rate, conversion rate, and cost per click are most favorable.

Google’s Ad platform has for some time now allowed you to closely monitor their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) hourly, 24 hours a day. 

Now Amazon allows for a similar degree of transparency. 

What is Amazon Marketing Stream?

Amazon Marketing Stream, is an Amazon product that delivers Amazon Ads campaign metrics and information to advertisers’ or integrators’ AWS accounts through a push-based model in near real-time. 

Campaign data sets available on Amazon Marketing Stream and can be accessed through your existing Amazon Ads API token and by providing your AWS account details. Once you subscribe, Amazon Marketing Stream will deliver hourly performance metrics. 

Details include targeting expression performance by placement and budget consumption and helps reveal exactly which hours of the day produce the best and worst results.

Armed with this intel, you can align your ad delivery with higher performing periods and limit exposure during low performing periods – that’s dayparting.

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Why Dayparting Can Work

There are a few key reasons why dayparting has the potential to be an effective strategy:

Tune Your Campaign to Shopper Intent and Behavior Shifts 

At different times of day, shoppers have different mindsets, intents, and behaviors. Someone browsing at 7 AM may be more conversion focused as they start their day. Late at night shoppers may research more, or simply be window shopping. Aligning ad delivery around these patterns improves relevancy. 

That way, in the case that you have additional budget available or want to scale aggressively, dayparting can show you exactly when to concentrate spend for lower costs and higher return.

Rather than blind budget increases, dayparting can help you to meticulously scale up during the demonstrated best windows for performance.

Dayparting Can Help You Stretch Limited Budgets

For advertising campaigns operating under tight daily budgets, dayparting can provide an opportunity to maximize performance. As mentioned above, rather than setting a static budget across all 24 hours, you can optimize spending to align with conversion patterns.

Specifically, you can reduce bids and budget during low-performing sales hours in order to preserve funding. With excess budget saved from downtimes, you can then increase bids aggressively during historically high-converting peak hours.

This targeted reallocation allows you to spend when customers are most likely to purchase, backed by data. 

By not being forced into a binary spend/pause decision once the budget is tapped, dayparting can help you to sustain ad visibility during primed windows. This surgical approach prevents leaving conversions on the table.

Amazon’s Constantly Changing Algorithm Might Help You to Improve Your Conversion Rate  

Amazon’s ad auction and ranking algorithms likely optimize differently based on time of day and shopper signals. Focusing on peaks takes advantage of periods where you rank better.

By only showing your ads during peak periods for conversion rate, you can increase the overall conversion rate for your campaigns. Shoppers are more likely to convert when they see your ads during the highest intent periods of day as opposed to exposure across all 24 hours.

For example, Amazon may adjust your ad relevance score to show certain products more prominently during morning hours when customers browse for certain categories. The auction dynamics may also favor specific brands based on time-based conversion data.

Additionally, since competitor budgets and campaigns fluctuate throughout the day, the auction landscape is continually optimized. Your ads may rank higher or lower at different parts of the day as a result.

Amazon’s systems use advanced machine learning to optimize conversions and relevancy in real-time. By focusing your ad visibility around peak hours, you can take advantage of periods where everything comes together for your highest potential rank and conversions. 

Lower Your Cost Per Conversion

Beyond budget management, dayparting can lead to cost reduction opportunities even if spend is not capped. By eliminating high cost, low converting hours of the day, you can reduce your cost per conversion.

It’s not uncommon for the cost per conversion metric to fluctuate 200-300% or more from peak performance hours to daily lows. For example, a conversion may cost $0.50 during the best hour for purchases, but that same conversion costs $1.50 if generated in the afternoon slump.

These sizable swings demonstrate potential savings simply by focusing your ad visibility and budgets around the demonstrated cheapest windows to generate conversions each day.

Conversion costs likely bottom out at certain parts of the day due to a mix of higher rank potential, heightened purchase intent shoppers, and fluctuations in competitor budgets. 

Align your strategy to those golden hours.

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How to Implement Dayparting for Amazon PPC

Once you’ve decided that you would like to give dayparting a try, let’s discuss how to actually put this strategy into place for your account. To get started, follow these steps:

Step 1: Analyze Hourly Metrics in Amazon Marketing Stream

Begin by identifying your Amazon ad campaign hourly highs and lows. Log into Amazon Marketing Stream and navigate to the Hourly Trends report. 

Assess performance metrics like clicks, spend, orders, CPC, CTR, CVR, and CPA hour by hour for at least a week (longer if possible).  

Look for patterns showing consistent peaks and valleys by time of day. Note which 1-2 hour windows consistently outperform or underperform.

Step 2: Compare Campaigns to Find Biggest Gaps

Repeat the hourly analysis for your individual campaigns, particularly your best performing campaigns. 

Some may have a more drastic swing from strong to weak hours. These present the best dayparting opportunities. Avoid over indexing on bottom performers.  

Step 3: Implement Schedule Based Around Peaks and Valleys

Now comes the execution! 

Use your hourly data to set schedules in your advertising platform or agency software. 

For example, you may set your top Shopping campaign to only run from 7-9 AM and then again from 9-11 PM based on ideal conversion rate hours.

Step 4: Continue Assessing and Optimizing Schedule  

Check back regularly on hourly metrics to confirm your dayparting schedule is having the intended impact.  

Are your key metrics now more concentrated in the peaks? Tweak the hours being used as needed.

Consider dayparting as an ongoing optimization technique, not just a one-off effort. Keep in mind that shopper patterns can evolve over time.

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Dayparting Does Have Limitations 

As with most things having to do with entrepreneurship and eCommerce, there is a healthy amount of disagreement whether dayparting is worth all the time and effort. After all, large automated Amazon ad companies will probably use this and end up flattening the PPC ad cost curve. 

At the same time, dayparting tends to mirror the conventional shopping cadence throughout the day. While dayparting can be an effective strategy, it does have some limitations depending on the product and buyer journey. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Granular Hourly Data Can Be Difficult to Obtain

While some types of conversions (like Add to Cart or View Detail Page) might be reflected closer to real-time in the stream, others like Purchase Conversions remain subject to the 7 and 14-day lookback windows.

Dayparting Can Limit Prospecting Opportunities

The buyer journey is rarely linear. 

While concentrating budget during high-intent periods can boost performance, the tradeoff is potentially missing out on earlier stage prospecting opportunities. 

Shoppers often follow a more iterative research and discovery process, with multiple exposures to an ad needed before an eventual conversion. They may see your ad while casually browsing one morning, not quite ready to purchase yet. But then recall your brand days later when they have higher intent and convert as a result of that initial prospecting touch.

Overly rigid dayparting rules limit your ads to only a couple hours per day, and end up reducing visibility during other discovery moments throughout a shopper’s journey. Even if they don’t directly convert every exposure, consistent messaging builds vital awareness.

While dayparting boosts immediate conversion performance, you sacrifice potentially valuable prospecting impressions earlier or later in the buyer funnel.

One-Size Dayparting May Not Fit All Amazon ASINs 

Dayparting is best suited to products with clear cut peaks and valleys in intraday demand and conversion trends. Products with steady hourly demand curves or varied buyer audiences may not benefit as much from dayparting.

Ongoing optimization is crucial as well. To be successful, after launching dayparting campaigns, you’re going to want to monitor performance by hour. This will allow you to adjust the scheduling of ad campaigns over time based on the latest trends. 

And most importantly, what works today may differ next month.

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Top Amazon Agencies Are Already Doing This With Expert Human Oversight

At Canopy Management, we build out all of our adtech internally. That means that the potential of dayparting is part of our overall process. At the same time, dayparting also tends to mirror the organic shopping cadence throughout the day. 

That fact, coupled with extensive in-house testing, has shown that our industry-leading Amazon advertising experts consistently outperform AI-driven dayparting algorithms. 

Yes, it’s true that absent the level of Amazon ad talent that Canopy has been able to attract and cultivate, dayparting might be a good way to hedge your bets, lower ACoS, and save a little money. 

Still, there IS a better way. 

If you’d like to know more about how Canopy Management – the fastest growing Amazon Agency in America – has consistently averaged an 84% year-after-year profit growth rate for our partners, just ask.

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