By Jocelyn Le Conte

Don’t miss out on those golden windows of opportunity that come from identifying how clicks vary per device throughout the day. See how hourly clicks for computers, tablets and mobiles differ for extra insight when considering ad scheduling and bid adjustment.

  • Search

Back to blog home

Clicks per Device by Time of Day

Ever wondered how device usage for computers, mobiles and tablets translates into clicks throughout the day? Incorporating data from 1st April to July 17th 2012, the graph below demonstrates the proportion of daily clicks that occur in each hour by device. These statistics cover 307 websites and over 1.4 billion impressions.

All three devices see a similar percentage of their daily traffic early in the day, with traffic from computers more predominant throughout late morning and afternoon and remaining relatively stable apart from a home time dip as everyone leaves the office. The most noticeable peak from all devices comes from a surge in tablet activity during the evening that suggests a switch from work-related computer usage to tablet browsing, perhaps whilst reclining in front of the TV and enjoying a well-earned glass of wine.

The proportion of mobile clicks increases steadily throughout the day with no significant peaks or troughs before dropping off at night alongside computers and tablets, but as these are devices we tend to always carry with us and use regularly regardless of where we may be, this is perhaps not surprising.

To put this into context…

The following graph shows the total percentage of clicks per hour that come from each device over the same time period. Although mobile and tablet web usage continues to grow, computers still dominate the majority of clicks in the accounts used for this data, even in the evening during the peak of tablet clicks where overall volume rises slightly above mobile clicks.

How do I see this information myself?

To see data within AdWords for how clicks for your own account differ by hour, go to the Dimensions tab and view by Hour of day. Here you can customise the columns to include key metrics such as clicks, clickthrough rate and conversions to determine which are the top hours for your specific target audience. You can also view this at campaign, and ad group level by applying a Segment and choosing Time > Hour of day.

What does this mean for my campaigns?

This is another great reason why splitting out your campaigns to target computers, mobiles and tablets separately is so important. As well as facilitating viewing this data at device level, we can apply ad scheduling and bid multipliers at campaign (and therefore device) level to capitalise on the top click percentage times to ensure our ads are visible and in the ideal page positions for the best return on investment.

For example, if you have a product or service that is particularly relevant to or performs noticeably well on tablets, surely you would want to ensure you aren’t excluding these key click percentage hours with your ad scheduling rules? Bear in mind that if you only have ads showing for office hours (e.g. 9am to 6pm) your campaigns are not able to benefit from increased click activity later on in the day. You can extend your ad scheduling hours and set up bid multipliers to raise your bids within these periods of concentrated clicks to ensure your ads are in more competitive positions for a better clickthrough rate.

If you tend to run out of budget before the end of the day, there could be a greater percentage of relevant clicks that you are missing out on after your ads stop showing. Take steps to avoid depleting your budget to allow your ads to be eligible to show in search results later in the day when a greater proportion of the day’s clicks may be taking place. According to the Research survey The State of Retailing Online, 49% of retailers claim their average order values on tablets are higher than desktops and mobiles, and if this trend is reflected in your campaigns, it may be more lucrative to target these higher concentrations of evening tablet traffic more aggressively.

A couple of things to consider include time zone differences and location targeting. Peak hours in the UK are unlikely to be peak hours in South Africa, Australia or the US. Keep in mind which time zone you are targeting and how it differs by country or territory. Similarly, these hourly patterns may vary from weekday to weekend, so be aware of how any changes you make may affect different days of the week.

To avoid getting caught out by changes in click volumes throughout the day and to check what you have set up is working correctly, remember to review your clicks by device regularly to identify any changes in usage or emerging trends, and amend your bidding or scheduling rules accordingly.


The State of Retailing Online 2012 - Research Survey

Share this article