How Marketers Can Optimize For Clicks Based On Time Of Day

As we enter 2013, the growth of online advertising continues at a healthy pace. In October 2012, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a report showing record-breaking, $17 billion online advertising revenues in the first half of 2012 – a 14% increase over the same period in 2011.

With this growth also comes a greater need for strategy. As TV advertisers are well aware, an advertisement’s time slot can have a dramatic impact in terms of how a consumer reacts to that ad. For marketers or advertisers running campaigns online, it can also be extremely useful to know the optimal time periods in which to run their initiatives.

CTR As Function Of Time & Day Of Week

To shed light on this area of user behavior, Chitika Insights conducted a research study comparing user click-through rates (CTR) as a function of the time of day and day of week. The goal of this study was to provide a data-backed answer for marketers looking to identify the days and time periods where users are most likely to interact with ads.

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights took a sample of ad impressions from the Chitika ad network originating from the U.S. and Canada during the entire month of December.

For the first graph, the x-axis on the plot shows the hour of the week. For instance, the x-axis point labeled “Sunday 6AM EST” measures the average CTR for all Sundays at 6AM EST for the month of December.

As a result, this graph shows how the CTR changes for each of the 168 hours that comprise a given week. It is also plotted as an index, where the highest hour’s CTR is assigned a value of 1, and all others are proportions thereof. The second graph shows indexed CTR by day of week (all hours in a day combined).


Optimizing For Time & Day Of Week

The data displayed in the chart below shows that marketers can best capitalize on elevated user CTR on Saturdays and Sundays, when the rate at which users click and browse the Web lies well above weekday levels. User CTR on the weekdays is, on average, 7% – 12% below the CTRs during the weekend, depending on the day.

In addition, if we look at this data with hourly granularity, we can see that CTR tends to peak in the mornings, from 6AM to 1PM. It then declines until midnight, where it stays low until the early morning.

The trade-off is these time periods also see some of the lowest impression volumes of the week. As such, if marketers’ main focus is maxing Click and Action rates, these CTR differences over time can influence the effectiveness of their campaign.

As always, this is simply one factor that influences click likelihood; nonetheless, considering time of day can become an important tool in the marketer’s toolbox for improving campaigns.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Analytics | Analytics & Marketing Column | Channel: Analytics | Statistics: Online Advertising


About The Author: is a Data Solutions Engineer at Chitika and a lead author for reports by Chitika Insights, the research arm of the online ad service. After graduating with a B.A. in Business Administration from Ithaca College, Gabe has been pursuing his passion for technology by researching and analyzing new and emerging trends in the online world.

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  • Pat Grady

    Do we want to optimize for clicks?


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