How to Analyze Hourly Ad Performance with Google Analytics for Effective Dayparting

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in Advertising, Search, Social | 8 Comments
How to Analyze Hourly Ad Performance with Google Analytics for Effective Dayparting

Back in August, Facebook rolled out dayparting functionality. With this feature, you can now optimize campaigns by turning ads off during the times of day or week when they’re less profitable. It’s a great way to limit wasted spend so that you can devote your budget towards the more profitable times of day. But how do you get the data to drive your dayparting decisions?

While the tools to take action are available, the data you need to make such decisions isn’t… There are no hourly reporting features in Facebook’s ad  tools. Fortunately, there is another way to get this information. This post will show you how to use Google Analytics custom reports to analyze campaign performance by time of day and day of week.

Using Google Analytics to Make Data-Driven Dayparting Optimizations

If you’re using Google Analytics, it’s easy to track performance from many traffic sources; including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google AdWords and Twitter Ads. With Google Analytics, you can see the behavior of your Facebook traffic and segment it by time of day. It’s worth noting that spend data will be missing from Google Analytics, but you’ll still be able to see conversion rates which can help indicate the value of traffic during off-peak hours.

How to Build a Custom Report for Time of Day

Google Analytics Create Custom Report Google Analytics Custom Dayparting Report

  1. Click the Customization tab
  2. Click + New Custom Report
  3. Under Metric Groups, click + add metric for each metric column you want to view
    • Sessions, Bounce Rate, Conversions, Conversion Rate, etc
  4. Under Dimension Drilldowns, click + add dimension for each level of segmentation  and row you want to view
    • Choose Source / Medium in order to focus on Facebook Ads traffic
    • Then, choose Hour to segment this traffic by time of day
  5. Click Save

Build a Custom Report for Day of Week

To analyze performance by day of week, follow the same steps above; except in Step 4,  replace the second dimension of “Hour” with “Day of Week.” 

Analyzing Your Custom Report

Google Analytics Custom Dayparting Report Source

  1. Now that you have your custom report, click into the Source / Medium of your Facebook Ads traffic.
    • My Facebook ad traffic comes in as “facebook / cpc,” but that’s because I set it up that way.)
  2. Adjust your date range to analyze performance over time.
    • Try looking at the past business week (Monday to Friday) and see how that compares with weekends.
    • If the data is sparse, look at a longer date range.
  3. Look for patterns
    • Look at the graph to see how traffic spikes over time. 
    • Sort your table by Hour to see it in the order you’d expect.
      • Time is displayed between 00 – 23 in the hour column (according to the Time Zone in your Google Analytics profile)
    • Adjust the Show Rows dropdown to “25” to view all 24 rows on one page


Google Analytics Custom Dayparting Report DateGoogle Analytics Custom Dayparting Report

Armed with this data, you’ll be able to make informed dayparting decisions! If you have any questions or suggestions, please share in the comments below.

Sam Mazaheri

Sam is the Director of Online Marketing at InVision and former Director of Marketing at AdStage. Prior to AdStage, he was part of the AdWords product team at Google, serving as the in-house AdWords expert and advisor to product management, engineering, and UX. Prior to that, he personally managed and grew in-house digital marketing programs with over $300,000 in monthly ad spend.

View Sam Mazaheri's profile on LinkedIn