The question of when is a good time to advertise can perhaps suggest that there is a magic bullet solution to effective advertising, but it’s also a question that serious marketers can’t avoid.
We’re not going to pretend that there is some kind of one-size fits all answer to the question of timing in advertising, so we’re going to suggest some ideas that are popular, as well as some of our own thoughts on the matter.
So here goes, let’s take a look at…
…When is the best time to advertise?
At the end of a long day
It may sound counterintuitive but there is evidence to suggest that consumers are more likely to engage with advertising when they are tired or have been making lots of decisions.
The reasoning goes that, whilst making decisions people gradually become ‘depleted’. They have used up their internal resources, so have fewer resources left over. The upshot of this is that when they focus on an advert in a depleted state, they feel that they have used all of their resources to make a decision about whether to engage with this brand. Think about it: if you spend all your paycheck in one month, then even if you only spend a fiver on a purchase you will have spent the bulk of your money on your final purchase.
Relativity aside, this means that if you were, say, taking out advertising at a sporting event, it may be more effective to advertise towards the end of that event, when punters are depleted. They will have the impression that they have devoted their full resources to considering your ad and therefor will be more confident in the decisions they make about your brand. This approach is fairly cynical, but it does appear to work. Just sayin’.
When it’s topical
The best adverts have some kind of hook to make them relevant.
This could be seasonal periods and holidays. In an ideal world you’d have an advertising campaign to fit every season and every public holiday. In practice, although it’s generally a good idea to advertise during public events, you should think about when it’s the most effective for you to do so. If you sell luxury goods, Christmas is of course most likely to be the optimum time to advertise. If you sell surfboards, you’ll probably want to mount your campaigns during the summer months.
Holidays are not the only public events to consider. Think about how many brands jumped on the Pride bandwagon this year, particularly via social media. Brands have become increasingly aware that they need to relate to a diverse audience, so Pride weekend has become a good time to advertise with an inclusive message.
Advertising around political campaigns
It can be a controversial time to advertise during political events, but if it’s done with due consideration this can be very effective.
Twitter might seem like an unlikely institution to take out Outdoor advertising, but their award winning visual hashtags campaign was highly effective because it found a way to instantly tap into important social and political events, like the rivalry between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and issues such as pollution and gun control.
Notice how the creatives didn’t make an overt comment on their subject matter. They walked a fine line between relating to public debates and weighing in on one side of a political argument and therefore alienating sections of their user base.
Seriously, how many questions in marketing isn’t this the answer to?
But the point is there’s no abstract answer to the questions of what’s a good time to advertise. It’s not the same as asking what’s the weight of the moon? (7.35 x 1022 kg, since you asked) there’s no fixed answer.
You have to understand the niche you are in. If you are selling alcoholic drinks, advertising in the evening and over the weekend is probably the way to go. If you are a retailer looking to tap into the Black Friday/Cyber Weekend period, you’ll want to begin your campaign a couple of weeks in advance.
Maybe you’re advertising online. If you are, say, posting organic posts on Facebook, you need to post when your fans are most likely to be engaged online if you want a chance to get onto people’s news feeds. If, however, you’re taking out paid ads, you will be able to get onto the news feeds of a broader audience and won’t face such strict time constraints.
It should be clear that there is more to the question of when to take out advertising than meets the eye. It’s worth noting that there is a move towards dynamic, flexible scheduling out Outdoor advertising. With digital panels it is now much easier to display an ad at a particular time of day or over a particular period.
In a way, the question should not be so much “when is the best time to advertise?” but rather, “when is the best time for my brand to advertise?”. As always, Google is your friend. Before taking out advertising, take the time (pardon the pun) to research the best time to advertise for your niche. See how other brands do it and don’t be afraid to innovate. At the end of the day, only you can know when the time is right.