A few days ago there was a debate on the Spanish Google AdWords Community Forum about ad scheduling. Some of the comments were misleading, others simply incorrect.
I weighed in – after all I had spent some time getting my head around this issue a couple of years ago.
So here’s a break down of the problem…
You are based in Madrid and your account is, therefore, set to Central European Time – but your clients are all over the world. You know that your customers are most likely to be searching for you during office hours… so you’d like to set a timeframe for your ads to appear – 9am to 5pm. So that’s what you do.
The simple thing to assume is that Google will “translate” this into the local time of the searcher, right? Well, that’s what we all assume at first. But of course, a little thought tells us that all Google can do is have the account awake or sleeping – it cannot have it awake for some visitors and asleep for others. So anyone looking for you in New York, for example, will only find you between 3am and 11am – ooops!
So how do you configure time windows for international campaigns? The answer is – you have to have multiple campaigns for different time zones. Both the ad scheduling and the geo targeting are set at the campaign level – so you cannot have different times or geo regions between Ad Groups in the same campaign.
To use our example, therefore, we can set up a duplicate campaign (this is really simple to do if we use the AdWords Editor) and then we change the geo targeting to include our New York target (it could be the US – or the eastern states, whatever we need to cover – bearing in mind, of course, that within the US there are multiple time zones) and then set our ad scheduling for 3pm – 11pm – remembering that this campaign will wake up and go live at 3pm in Madrid – so 9am in New York!
The only slight complication comes when your time frame overlaps midnight. So if you needed to have your ads running in New Zealand, for example, you’d need your ads running from 9pm to 5am – but Google will not let you have a start time AFTER the end time (obviously!). The solution in this case is to have two active periods. The first from midnight to 5am, then later in the day another from 9pm to midnight.
At first this can be quite confusing – but once you understand that Google runs your ads in your own time zone it does make sense. But you’ll still need a pencil and paper to write it all down before you try and configure campaigns across the continents!