Understanding the best time to advertise

time waitingCyber Monday has been and gone. Early indications will have begun to reveal its winners and losers -   retailers and marketers will either be popping champagne corks or looking at what they could have done better to engage customers during this critical sales high in the year. Barclaycard said an average of £312,500 was being spent online every minute on Monday 2nd December, with Amazon UK claiming Monday was its busiest day ever, with 47 orders placed per second throughout the day. So it’s no wonder companies time their marketing so carefully around it.

While it’s clear that cyber Monday points to the overriding peak in sales throughout the year for many brands and retailers, it also underlines the importance of looking at other times of year when engagement is likely to be at its best. Why look simply at gearing up for peaks to coincide with the holiday peak? Surely there is an opportunity to better understand which days of each week at any time of year prompt better engagement.

We believe a number of businesses simply aren’t looking closely enough at which days of the week are the most valuable points to run online marketing campaigns. In our most recent media barometer that we run each quarter, which analyses online marketing engagement, we evaluated a new data point investigating the times of week consumers most actively engage with online advertising.

We found that consumers are 7 per cent more likely to click on online display advertising during the weekend, with a significant rise on Saturday and Sunday compared to the rest of the week. Perhaps what seems to be more interesting, however, is that this is the most cost effective time for advertisers to run campaigns online. The average cost for online advertising at the weekend was found to be around 12 per cent lower than during the week.

There are some good reasons behind the figures – a lot of which comes down to good old fashioned common sense. The most logical explanation for more consumer engagement during the weekend is that most shoppers have more time to properly browse the web on a Saturday or Sunday. This is perhaps complemented by the fact that the more assiduous are also reluctant to click on online ads when they are at the office.

Then we have to understand why then online advertising prices are typically cheaper at the weekend. It’s safe to assume businesses like ours receive more requests for online advertising bids on work days than on weekends, which means the competition for inventory is highest Monday through Friday. Out of work hours, many brands and retailers aren’t putting the same impetus into advertising online so costs for campaigns plummet at the weekend.

In today’s world of programmatic buying, this seems pretty archaic. What’s sad about the situation is that many advertisers have access to an extremely powerful automated advertising engine, but many don’t have a clear vision of how to use it effectively. Where these technologies are maturing all the time, the good news is that they are becoming increasingly accessible and straightforward to use. Meaning the running of campaigns becomes more self-sufficient, requiring less human intervention.  Becoming acquainted with the right technologies allows brands and retailers to trust in their capabilities and in turn time campaigns to perfection all year around, not just in line with projected sales high that are counted on because holidays are coming.

Martin Stockfleth Larsen is CMO at Adform.