Pete Bowen's site

Should you run Google Ads 24/7 or only during working hours?

This is a pretty common question when you're using online ads to generate leads.

The 24/7 crowd argue that every lead is good and clicks can sometimes be cheaper in the middle of the night.

The office hours only crowd make a valid point that if you only get back to a Friday night lead on Monday morning your chances of winning the sale are minuscule.

Both arguments have merit.

Don't guess, test.

You'll be confident that you've made the right scheduling choice once you've tested what works best for your account.

Run your ads 24/7 for a while and compare performance between office hours and after hours. Or, if you're currently running ads 24/7 you can compare using data from the last few months.

Cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-action (CPA) (aka cost-per-lead) are popular metrics for judging campaign performance but I don't think either is right in this case.

You see, there is a very strong link between how fast you respond to a lead and how likely the lead is to turn into a sale. Leads that arrive after hours often turn into sales at a much lower rate than leads that arrive during working hours. Just looking at how much the click or lead cost can be misleading.

Instead you might consider using cost-per-converted-lead. i.e. how much ad spend did it take per lead that turned into a customer. Calculate this by dividing the ad spend during each period by the number of leads from each period who turned into a customer.

Here's an example.

Working hours

After hours

It's a bit more work to calculate, but it tells you how well the ads are working to deliver sales, not just clicks or leads.

If you don't have enough sales data to get a clear answer you could use cost-per-contacted-lead as a proxy. It works on the assumption that if you can't contact a lead you're not going to be able to win a sale.

It's calculated in a similar way, except instead of counting the number of leads that turned into a sale you count the number of leads the sales team was able to speak with.

Again do this for both office hours and out of hours periods.

Need some help with this?

I offer 1-to-1 mentoring and consulting. You’ll get help, advice, support and answers without having to commit to a long-term contract. Details here.

Want to increase your conversion rate?
I’ve seen conversion rates double, triple and even 10X after a few quick and easy changes to the enquiry form. Subscribe now, and I'll send you a free copy of my in-depth ebook High-Converting Enquiry Forms.
You're already paying for clicks. Now turn them into conversions. Privacy policy. Unsubscribe at any time.

Related articles

How I stop Spanish job-seeker leads from Google Ads Most Spanish job-seeker spam comes from click fraud. Here's how I stop it.

Data from launching a brand new campaign using Target CPA bidding. Normally you wouldn't launch a new campaign using a conversion-based bid strategy. I did, here's what happened.

A new Google Ads campaign needs deep data, not wide data. 100 clicks on 100 adverts tells you nothing. 100 clicks on 1 advert and a picture starts to emerge.

How I track WhatsApp conversations as conversions in Google Ads At the time of writing Google has no way of tracking WhatsApp leads as conversions. I've used a couple of work arounds to solve this.

Most Google Ads advice is wrong for small businesses A small account needs a different setup and different management. You see, something that improves a $50 000 a month account might tank a $500 a month account.

Modernising legacy Google Ads account structure A successful restructure leaves the account easier to understand, easier to optimise and better positioned for the future. Understanding why the account looks like it does is key to getting from sticky mess to well-oiled machine.

How I reduce wrong-business leads from Google Ads This is for you if you advertise on Google Ads and get leads who think they're contacting a different business. They call or fill in a form looking for someone else.

How I improve lead quality by telling Google which leads are good. By default Google Ads believes every lead is good. But that's not true. You can give Google feedback on lead quality and use that feedback to get better leads.

How's your Chinese? Google shows English adverts to people who searched in Chinese even though the campaign language is set to English. Here's how you can stop this and why you might want to.

Is it safe to use broad match keywords for lead generation campaigns? Google is pushing broad match hard and, some people are reporting good results. But, is it actually best practice now? Or are broad match keywords a waste of money?

Should I split a massive multi-country Google Ads account into separate accounts? At first glance it seems like splitting a big account into smaller accounts will make it easier to manage. But, there are downsides and, there are ways to make big accounts easier to manage.

Why did Google charge me $300 for a $20 click? Every now and again Google would charge an outrageous amount for one click. As much as 15 to 20 times what they normally paid. Here's how to prevent that.

Why I don't just delete fake leads from my inbox If the only thing you do with fake leads from Google Ads is delete the lead delivery email you risk getting swamped by fake leads. Here's why and what to do to improve lead quality.

Getting a lot of junk leads from Google Ads? You can spot conversion fraud because the leads have genuine email addresses and phone numbers but when you call them they don't remember filling in your form.

A love letter to statistics This is for you if you’re interested in making data-driven decisions about your Google Ads. Amy Hebdon, founder at Paid Search Magic, wrote a fantastic article she described a love letter disguised as a how to about PPC data interpretation.

Allocating budget How do you know the best way to split your ad budget between search and display, between Facebook and Google, between one keyword and another?

Does Google rip advertisers off? I'm not saying that everyone who's paid for Google ads has turned a profit. That's definitely not the case. But, when people lose money on Google ads its likely to be because Google Ads was a poor fit for their business, or because of the way they did Google Ads. I can't see Google risking their future to steal your advertising budget

Don’t believe every recommendation from Google. The optimisation score is Google’s newest way of telling you how to run your Google Ads account. Read on to see how following it blindly can hurt your business.

Don't believe my writing I'm not trying to bamboozle you, it's just that my - and everyone else's - writing isn't always right for your circumstances. Read on to find out more...

Google showed your ads to the wrong people today. Google showed your some of your adverts to the wrong people today. You (or someone you hire) must deal with this or your ads are going to start costing more and generating fewer leads. Here's how.

Has Google jumped the gun on mobile? How much commercial activity happens on mobile phones? Is it enough to justify a mobile-first approach to development? Case study with mobile vs desktop AdWords generated leads across 7 industries.

How do you get more leads from Google Ads when you’ve maxed out impression share? How do you get more leads from Google Ads when you’ve maxed out impression share? Here's how we solved this problem...

How to get fast traction on a brand new Google Ads campaign. I worked out a process for getting fast results from new AdWords campaigns so I didn't have to worry as much. You're welcome to copy (and improve) my process.

I’m getting too many B2C leads. I want only B2B. I’ve bumped into this problem with almost every client who sells to other businesses (B2B) not to consumers (B2C). Here are some options ..

I'm scared I'll break my campaign If you don't feel confident making changes to Google Ads campaigns this might help...

Improve conversion rates by adding extra calls to action. Need to improve your conversion rate? Here's a tested approach that takes only a few minutes.

Putting a little science into AdWords In the past I relied on a combination of the change history in AdWords, some rough notes and my memory to keep track of my testing. It worked but it wasn't great. It became more difficult as my business grew. I started to feel like I was losing control. I couldn't answer questions about an account without having to root around in Google docs, AdWords and email. Read on to see how I fixed this.

Should you advertise on Search Partners? We check the campaigns we manage regularly to see how much it costs to generate an enquiry on Google search versus search partners. Most of the time it costs more or less the same. Sometimes the difference is huge.

Should you show ads to people on their phones? It is a fact that more people use the internet on their phones than they do on computers these days. But are these glued-to-their-phone types going to buy from you?

The hidden trade-offs of automated bidding I like automated bidding. But, there are some trade offs with automated bidding that are not well documented.

Using the Search Terms Report to find negative keywords. The Search Terms Report is a great place to find negative keywords to add to your AdWords campaign. It shows (some of) the actual words and phrases that triggered your ads.

You don't have enough data to be confident that you're making the right decisions. Here are 3 rules of thumb I use to to help me make more of the right decisions when data is scarce.