Blown Out Between Midnight and 4a

If all your ads are used up between midnight and 4a, there are none left for waking hours

Hourly Charts Reveal Suboptimal Pattern

If you use FouAnalytics or if you use any analytics platform that gives you HOURLY reports, be sure to look for the following patterns. Every day at midnight, a huge volume spike, then much much lower volume. In the first chart below, at least there’s still some volume for the rest of the day. In the second chart below, all of the volume is exhausted in the first half of the day so no impressions are left for the rest of the day when humans are awake, surfing the web, and using mobile devices and apps.

It’s bad enough if your ad impressions are all eaten up before waking hours. It’s even worse when you get most of the clicks to your site between midnight and 5a and then virtually nothing afterward — e.g. from a vendor selling you clicks. Even if those clicks were from humans, it’s likely not the right humans you want coming to your site. It’s far more likely that it’s bot clicks or accidental clicks — e.g. fat thumb or users desperately trying to close a popup ad covering the game they are playing. Those are not ideal customers/visitors to your site.

Not a New Phenomenon

As far back as 2014, using just Google Analytics HOURLY view, we could already see “sourced traffic” was problematic. All of the volume came in huge spikes and then disappeared till the next day. This is not how humans move and visit websites. But it is trivial for botnets to deliver the large number of pageviews they were paid for, as quickly as possible, so they could move on to their next paid customer. So those pageviews you got were not human and certainly wouldn’t “convert” or buy your product.

So What?

If you see this pattern in your in-ad data or your on-site data, ask your vendors if they set up pacing. This will help spread the impressions more evenly through the day. Also, you may want to turn off ads entirely in the hours between 1a - 4a when most humans are sleeping. See the hours of the day when humans are most active in slides 4 - 7 in this deck https://www.slideshare.net/augustinefou/humans-sleep-at-night-bots-dont-fraud-research-by-augustine-fou

The following is what pacing set up properly looks like.. the volume is spread out across the entire 24 hour period. In this case the volume increases towards midnight when humans are at home and awake, before they go to sleep.