October 5, 2015
I was recently checking out Hanapin’s very own Carrie Albright’s post on what she’s learned from a year’s worth of hourly ppc data across e-commerce accounts. This post inspired me to find out what I can learn about user behavior in lead generation ppc accounts, and how that behavior varies on weekends vs. the workweek.
Having access to lead-gen accounts across multiple industries provided a diverse data set, which allowed me to get a deep understanding of the typical lead-gen user’s interaction and engagement patterns. Although I’ve managed many lead gen accounts throughout my career and learned the ebb and flow of each one of them individually, I’ve never studied accounts side by side to see if the ebbs and flows I’ve observed are account specific or if they’re indicative of a broader user behavior typically seen throughout the lead generation space.
Let’s get into the data and what I learned!
Conversion Rate – Weekdays vs. Weekends
I sampled 6 of Hanapin’s top lead gen accounts to more fully understanding weekday vs. weekend conversion patterns. The sampled accounts were a combination of B2B and B2C to provide a more complete cross set of data. The data below shows the aggregate conversion rate and how it fluctuates during the week vs. weekends. What struck me was how conversion rate actually rose on the weekend.
However, when I examined each client separately, conversion behaviors tended to be more erratic. For instance, one client had weekend conversion rates equal to during their conversion rate during the week. Another client’s worst day of the week by conversion rate was Saturday, yet Sunday was their best. Another client’s data showed that weekend days are their best converting days of the week. Finally, two clients confirmed what I expected: weekends converted at a rate significantly lower than during the workweek.
What did I learn from this? I learned that:
- B2B and B2C lead gen accounts followed similar conversion patterns. Some B2C clients had strong weekend conversion rates and others were very weak. Same thing held true for our sampled B2B clients.
- For the most part Saturdays performed worse than Sundays. My educated conclusion is that Saturdays are most people’s “off day” where they tune out work and important life decisions. People get back to their “work” schedules on Sundays and start thinking about the important work or personal decisions they need to make during the week ahead. This results in increased conversion rates on Sundays for lead gen accounts.
Click Thru Rate Weekdays vs. Weekends
The next area I explored was click thru rate and whether it fluctuated on weekends vs. during the week. My assumption going into this exercise was that CTR would be strong between Monday-Friday then drop off on Saturday and Sunday. What I saw in aggregate fell right in line with these assumptions.
However, based on the individual account data sampled, my assumption was only partially correct. Only one of the six accounts sampled experienced a click thru rate decline on the weekends. Data from the other 5 accounts sampled experienced either the same or higher CTR’s than during the week. One of the accounts I sampled had a large amount of traffic with a high weekend click thru rate, which skewed the aggregate total.
My key takeaways from analyzing this data are:
- Weekend traffic patterns are erratic but this doesn’t mean there aren’t serious prospects in the marketplace on weekends willing to engage with your brand.
- Analyze and understand conversion patterns. Cutting back weekend traffic could have the unintended consequence of hurting both weekend and weekday conversion volume. Research done over the weekend could lead to conversions during the week so make sure to also understand your businesses conversion lag.
Understanding interaction patterns on weekdays vs. weekends is important information that can be leveraged to make strategic decisions regarding how to manage a lead generation account. Failing to understand an accounts overall behavior patterns, sub patterns, and the connection to interaction and engagement can lead to misguided strategy choices.
Impression Share Weekdays vs. Weekends
The final area I explored during this analysis was how impression share varied between weekdays and the weekends. I was curious to learn whether or not the lead gen marketplace specifically shifted across the week and into the weekend.
Just as with conversion rate and CTR, metrics by client varied greatly. Impression share for three of our clients rose on the weekend, two clients maintained their weekday impression share throughout the weekend, and only one client lost impression share. As I further examined this data I noticed some other anomalies as well such as higher impression share lost due to ad rank on the weekends vs. weekdays. I also noticed that a few accounts had less impression share lost due to budget on the weekend.
My overall conclusions about impression share variances between weekdays and weekends are:
- Many advertisers pull back budgets on weekends while Hanapin’s clients tend to keep their budgets running as normal. Often competitor ads showing less frequently, which opens space for the advertisers who keep their budgets at normal levels to absorb that traffic.
- Remain in the auction on weekends. As competitors drop out, it opens more opportunity to gain qualified prospects that others are ignoring.
The lead generation market is very active on the weekends. When evaluating performance and making that critical decision on whether or not to remain in auctions on Saturday or Sunday, consider the risk of higher CPA’s vs. the reward of increased interactions that could lead to new customers during the week.
Although the lead gen clients I examined ranged across B2B and B2C, represented multiple industries, and had their own unique interaction and engagement patterns, I was able to uncover some consistent underlying behaviors such as a vibrant marketplace and steady click thru rates. This learning reminds me that it’s important to really think through your weekend strategy. Whether it’s addressing bid strategy, shifting budget, or pausing certain areas of your account, it’s important to understand the relationship of how weekend performance affects overall account performance and how much it impacts workweek performance. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of focusing on short-term optimizations at the expense of long-term success. Understanding how each piece of your account fits in relation to the big picture will lead to strategies and optimizations that will keep your business growing in the future.