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SEA Campaigns: Clients do not move in mysterious ways

While optimizing and distributing SEA-campaigns to different terminal devices in a performance-orientated way, several exciting questions arise: at what point in the buying cycle do you reach which user, through which device at what time, and does it generate a conversion?

As part of a case study conducted by QUISMA within the insurance industry, the use of several terminal devices was analysed based on the time of the day. The goal was to determine a strategy for a performance-orientated distribution of SEA-campaigns for different device types, based on CPL and CPO.

Over a longer period of time the search volume passing through three possible device groups – desktop computers, mobile devices, and tablets – was analysed and differentiated by time. Simultaneously, we measured the number of sales at the different times of the day.


Impressions and sales across all three types of devices

Impressions and sales across all three types of devices

It was found that, during the course of the day, the search volume development for desktop computers and mobile devices runs parallel. While for mobile devices the search volume starts continuously increasing at 6am, the same thing applies for desktop devices one hour later, at around 7am.

The demand through desktop devices remains steady throughout the day and only starts to decline after 10pm. On mobile devices the search volume has already started to decline at around 6pm.


Clicks vs. sales through desktop computers

Clicks vs. sales through desktop computers


Mobile calls vs. clicks

Clicks vs. calls through mobile

An opposite trend was found for search queries made on tablet devices. Here, the search volume starts to rapidly increase at 6pm and reaches its peak at TV prime time, 8pm to 10pm, reflecting a “double screening approach” where consumers are responding to adverts on both TV and tablet.


Clicks vs. sales through tablet devices

Clicks vs. sales through tablet devices

By considering the number of sales actioned throughout the day on a desktop computer, you will notice that most of them were made around noon or in the evening. We can see a similar distribution for sales made through mobile devices – by measuring the impressions – with an additional peak in the evening between 5 and 6pm. Tablet users, however, prefer to take out insurance between 11pm and 1am, after having further informed themselves using several online channels.

Strategy recommendation

In order to successfully implement a campaign it is necessary to employ a varied setup – essentially adapted to all three devices. This implies a clear account division and campaign structure, since it has a great influence on the distribution and therefore the performance of the campaign performance. No matter which industry a company is in, in addition to maintaining a regular website, it has been proven successful for advertisers to also create a landing page exclusively for searches done on mobile phones.

Possibilities for action within the campaign management can mainly be found within bid management, which should be adapted during times of high demand. For desktop search, the results indicate that during the times of day when the search volume is high, a constant visibility should be guaranteed. An exception presents itself during the time frame of 2-6am.

In addition, during times of high demand (between 9am and 8pm), it is clear that advertisers should strive for an easily visible position on the landing page. An increase of the average CPCs during this time would also be recommended to target the market at its peak. Choosing a similar approach for the mobile campaign would optimize results in this area also, and here the strategically important times are between 9am and 6pm.

For optimising search through tablet devices it has been found that the later it is during the day, the more visible your ads need to be to attract potential customers, in order to absorb the increasing search volume. By efficiently allocating a daily budget allowance using an advertising time planner, advertisers are advised to use, for instance, 20 percent of a campaign budget between 1am and 6am, 90 percent of it between 6am and 4pm, and during peak time, between 5pm and 1am, 120 percent.

For strategic measures it is advised to keep an eye on influential factors such as the customer journey (in the search sector and cross-channel) and the cookie life span. By keeping track of such factors, permanent monitoring of all strategies and campaign management can be guaranteed at any time.

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