Facebook Ad Scheduling: What Marketers Need to Know
Do you use Facebook advertising?
Do you want to control the times when your ads run?
Facebook recently introduced an ad scheduling feature to let users choose what times of each day their ads run.
In this post we’ll explore what ad scheduling is, where to find it and how to use it.
About Ad Scheduling
In the past you’ve been able to specify the starting and ending dates and times for Facebook ads, but you couldn’t schedule specific times of the day to run your ads.
To prevent your ad from running all day long, you had to manually pause the campaign. With several campaigns running at once, it’s been a hassle.
Now with the new Facebook Ad Scheduling feature, you can:
- Specify what days and times you want your ad to be served
- Combine run times with independent budgets and audiences
- See how your ads perform at different times of day
Although it’s new to Facebook, this type of ad scheduling isn’t new. Google ads have been offering this feature for a few years now. If you’ve never heard of it, that may be because it’s also referred to as dayparting—the practice of dividing the day to show your ad campaign within specific blocks of time.
Activate Facebook Ad Scheduling
Although I believe this feature will eventually be offered on the Ad Creation Tool most people work with, at the moment you can only use it through Power Editor.
Ad scheduling is configured at the Ad Sets level. This is what allows you to combine times with budgets and audiences.
To find the feature, head over to the Power Editor dashboard top navigation bar and click on Ad Sets.
Because this feature isn’t available for daily budgets, you’ll need to change the budget to lifetime.
The first time you use ad scheduling, you’re taken through a quick tour.
Once the tour is over, the Ad Scheduling option is activated and you can switch to the Run Ads on a Schedule option.
Below that, you’ll see a chart to select specific days of the week and times you want to serve your ad.
Scheduling Your Ads
Important: One thing you need to consider is that your ads are served in relation to your audience’s time zone, not your local time. If you’re on the West Coast and you select to serve your ad from 9am to 5pm, your audience on the East Coast will see your ad 3 hours ahead of you—starting at 6am your time. Plan around different time zones carefully.
You have three options to set up your times:
First, you can simply select full days by clicking on the All Day column.
Second, you can click and drag through the grid cells to select specific blocks of time. Your scheduled hours will show in blue.
Third, you can select the same blocks of time for every day of the week by clicking and dragging the Every Day row at the bottom of the chart.
Once you’re done, you can move on to create the ads inside your set as usual.
Is Ad Scheduling Right for You?
While some people are calling this feature “revolutionary” or a “game changer,” I’d like to take it down a notch and look at a couple of different scenarios to show where it can be useful (or not).
Use Facebook ad scheduling if the nature of your business means it could benefit from advertising at specific times of the day. For example:
- When an ad click from a user requires a responding action in real time on your end.
- When your restaurant is open only for lunch and dinner and you don’t want to advertise at 7am when people aren’t likely to want a good steak.
- When you need to promote an event or TV show a couple of hours before, but not after.
- When a B2B company needs to target their audience only during business hours.
If you’re targeting your fan base, you might be tempted to serve ad campaigns based on the “When your fans are online” chart on your page Insights—thinking your ad will reach more people at those times.
Because this metric is no indication that your fans who are online at other times won’t also engage with your ad, scheduling ads to coordinate solely with when your fans are online might be a mistake.
How do you know?
You guessed. Just like audiences, budgets, days and pretty much everything else in marketing, you test, gather data and analyze the results to make an educated decision.
Run independent ad sets with the same creative, copy and budget at different time blocks and observe their performance to mark any significant differences.
How About You?
Facebook’s Ad Scheduling feature will let you target delivery of your ads with greater precision. In addition to setting begin and end dates for your ads, you can now choose specific hours of delivery for each day.
While this feature is certainly a welcome addition to Facebook’s ad tools, use it with care and consideration. What you view as a “game changer” for your business might actually play against you if you don’t use it correctly.
What do you think? How might Facebook ad scheduling be right for your business? Have you experimented with ad scheduling already? Share your thoughts and comments below.