Analytics

At what time of day does your website get the most traffic? More importantly, what time of day does your website perform best in terms of goals or sales?

conversion-rate-hours-of-the-day

Below I will describe the different techniques by which you can view vital website statistics based on different times of day, week or month.

Google Analytics Hour of Day Report

Most websites receive the majority of their visits during the day when people are awake and have predictably busy periods during weekdays. You may see spikes in website traffic just before school or work time in the morning (7am to 9am), or at lunchtime (12pm to 2pm), or right after school or work (4pm to 6pm).

Saying that, some websites experience peaks of traffic throughout the day depending on the content they publish and the audience they target. For example, a children’s website will be quiet at night, while a business-to-business website will be much busier during typical business hours.

As with a lot of statistics from Google Analytics, we cannot tell unless we dive in to the data. Follow the steps below to create a 24 hour traffic report, or click here to add this report automatically in to Google Analytics once logged in:

Add a “New Custom Report” from the “Customisation” tab

Select these settings within the custom hourly traffic report

Make sure you pick a large date range in the top right corner. The more data you have, the clearer the results in the hourly report will be:

Pick the biggest date range which is relevant to get the best statistics

You can now see a graph and a data table with the number of sessions throughout the day:

The total sessions per hour will now show in the chart revealing when the website is most visited during a typical day

Use this graph to identify the peak times of the day when the website receives traffic. If the peak is just before midnight, then consider adding a special offer on the website that ends at midnight to create a last minute rush of sales. If the peak is around lunchtime, then make sure you promote the website with advertising heavily around 11am, just before lunchtime, to draw in the biggest number of visitors.

If you have goals and/or ecommerce tracking setup on the website, then these can give you valuable insights on what time the website converts the best, independent of traffic levels. Follow the steps below to create a 24 hour goal and ecommerce conversion rate report or click here to add this report automatically in to Google Analytics once logged in:

Add a new custom report again

This time we are looking at the “Goal Conversion Rate” and the “Ecommerce Conversion Rate” metrics each hour in the day

Again, ensure you pick a large date range in the top right corner once the report has run to get the best results.

Now you can see how well the website performs at different times of the day. You can switch between goal completions and ecommerce conversion rate using the drop down just above the graph shown below. This is especially useful when adding bid adjustments on ecommerce PPC campaigns to boost overall profitability:

Pick the metric you want to show on the chart. You will see a blank chart if there are no goals setup or no ecommerce tracking

On all forms of paid advertising and social media, this report can highlight the exact times to ramp up efforts on both fronts to capture as many visitors as possible during times when they are likely to convert.

If ecommerce tracking is installed correctly, remember to account for different average order values as well as the different conversion rates throughout the day. The effectiveness of the website during the day depends not only on how well the website converts at different times, but also the average amount people spend during those times.

 

Google Analytics Day of Week Report

Having analysed hundreds of websites, we’ve seen that traffic is highly likely to dip and have a lower conversion rate during the weekends.

Traffic levels can also be lower on Fridays, when a large number of people are socialising, travelling, or watching their favourite TV shows.

There’s often surprising statistics from Monday to Thursday, with certain days having much higher conversion rates than others. For example, we’ve seen that many people make the biggest purchases online in the middle of the week.

There’s a great collection of Twitter & Blog post statistics over at BufferApp.com and Email sending statistics at Mojn.com, if you want to see how these specific channels vary at different times.

The statistics for different days of the week are important to look at if you want an idea of how a visitor’s mood might change throughout the week. For example, the conversion rate for a teenage clothing website we promote increases by almost 20% on average on Thursdays. Why this happens, we don’t know. What’s important though, is that we know we can spend 20% extra per person with paid advertising on Thursdays, while ensuring that all social media channels save their best content for this highly lucrative day.

Follow the steps below to create a day of the week traffic report or click here to add this report automatically in to Google Analytics once logged in:

Add a “New Custom Report” from the “Customisation” tab once more

Follow these steps to create a day of the week traffic report

As always, ensure you pick a large date range in the top right corner for more accurate statistics:

Pick a big enough date range to show the best statistics

Now we can see the average number of visitors (sessions) for each day of the week within the data table:

You can see the daily traffic statistics within the data table

To compare statistics more easily, use the comparison tool next to the data chart:

Now you can compare traffic for each day of the week with the average using the comparison tool

With the comparison tool, you can now compare each day to the average for all days. Red bars show a decrease and green bars show an increase compared to the average.

Again, if you have goals and/or ecommerce tracking setup then you can see what day of the week the website converts the best, independent of traffic levels. Follow the steps below to create a day of the week conversion report or click here to add this report automatically in to Google Analytics once logged in:

As always start a new custom report

Follow these steps to create a day of the week conversion report

Remember to pick a long date range in the top right corner once the report has run or else these stats will unreliable.

Using the comparison tool will highlight the best and worst days of the week. This can help craft ideal time bid adjustments in Google AdWords and when to boost social media activities:

For this ecommerce website example Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days for converting visitors into customers and Saturday is the worst by far

Advanced Google Analytics Time Reports

To get really accurate data you may wish to combine the 24 hours of the day report with the 7 days per week report to get an hour-by-hour account of how your website performs on each day of the week. For example, traffic on many websites will be very different on a Friday morning compared to the same time on a Sunday morning. This report will highlight the differences.

This report is ideal for time of day bid adjustments on paid advertising platforms, such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads, which allow you to adjust bids at different times of the day and on different days of the week.

Simply add the “Hour” and “Day of the Week Name” dimensions to the same custom report and run it as before with a large date range. Click here to download the traffic report, or here to download the ecommerce and goal report if you want to skip this part once logged in to Google Analytics:

Add both “Hour” and “Day of the Week Name” to the dimension drilldowns to compare both

To get both the hours and days on the chart you have to reveal the secondary dimension and select the one not shown:

Use the secondary dimension drop down to get both hours and days on the table

Then you need to show all rows and export the data in a spreadsheet:

Select 250 or greater rows to reveal data for every hour/day combination

Export the data in to your preferred spreadsheet format (do not select the PDF report)

Using Microsoft Excel, you can turn this data into a usable graph showing conversion rates for each hour of each day of the week:

Using Excel to create a visual graph showing conversion rates for different hours of different days of the week

Notice that within the real statistics shown above, Saturday and Sunday are very similar in the day time, but Sunday has a much better ecommerce conversion rate than Saturday after 3pm. Friday and Thursday evenings are also a poor time for converting compared to other weekdays.

Another advanced report that may be of use would be looking at the day of the month conversion rate (click here for the automatic report). Simply select the “Day of the month” dimension and then export the data as shown in the previous report after showing all the rows of data within the table:

You can see days of the month also with another dimension drilldown

You can see days of the month also with another dimension drill down

Again, using Excel spreadsheet techniques you can turn this data into a usable graph showing conversion rates for each day of the month:

Real data showing a website’s conversion rates on different days of the month

I suggest avoiding national holidays within these stats, especially Christmas time – between the end of November until the first week of January for most of the world . Christmas time gives unnaturally high traffic and conversion rates at the end of the month for many ecommerce sites, and the opposite for many B2B websites.

If there is a trend for higher conversion rates during different days of the month, as there is in the example above, you can either manually raise Maximum CPC amounts in these periods, or create automatic AdWords scripts to raise and lower them at the right times.

The example above has an upwards trend around the middle of the month and the end of the month. Many people get paid at the end of the month which influences buying behaviour around the end and start of each month on most ecommerce websites. Luxury goods seem to have a mid-month boost in conversion rates whereas cheaper goods have a boost between near the end of the month and the first week of the month I’ve identified.

Conclusion

Looking at traffic levels and goal or ecommerce conversion rates during different times gives great insights into how people interact with your website.

Finding any times that differ from normal statistics allows you to optimise paid advertising channels and to get more traction from social media.

Experiment with these custom reports and you can find a wealth of valuable data. When experimenting with custom reports, the worst that can happen is that you don’t see any data or anything of use. Nothing you do here will run the risk of breaking your site, and if you don’t like what you see, starting another report is easy.

Have any questions or issues? Comment below and I’ll get back to you shortly.

22 responses to “Google Analytics: Hour of Day & Day of Week Reports”

  1. STPL says:

    Yes I have enjoyed this post very much.

    Thank you,
    Anita

  2. Susan Hallam Susan Hallam says:

    We had an email query about your post, Jonny, from Shirish:

    “If I want to analyse the pages from where the conversion happened (not the entry page for that converting visitor) how do I go about doing that? If I have the ‘landing page’ metric checked it seems that it is for the page that user entered but not necessarily the page on which the conversion happened?”

    Thanks!

  3. Jonathan Ellins Jonathan Ellins says:

    Hi Shirish,
    You can see where goal conversions are triggered by looking at the Google Analytics report and selecting [Conversions > Goals > Goal URLs]. You can separate our goals here with the drop down above the graph to focus on one goal and see which exact pages triggered it in your chosen date range.
    Thanks,
    Jonathan

  4. Jennifer says:

    This is an excellent tutorial. My report is coming up flat with no data. Any ideas why?

  5. Jonathan Ellins Jonathan Ellins says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    You may not have any goals or transactions to report on within your account which would give a flat graph. If you are seeing a flat graph for session data then check that sessions are on the normal reports and you may have to switch “view” by going back to the analytics homepage if multiple views are used.

  6. This Strategy works for E-commerce sites. Thanks.

  7. Hi, so I was curious, when analytics reports at 8pm what time period is it reporting on? 8-9pm or 7-8pm? Thanks!

  8. Jonathan Ellins Jonathan Ellins says:

    Hi Ann, As the hours metrics goes from “0” to “23” within the reports, this means that “8pm” will be the time period between “8pm – 9pm” as “23” represents the last number which must mean “11pm to 12am”. Many thanks for your question!

  9. Ranae says:

    Thank you so much! It was so helpful to be able to add these directly to my Google Analytics. Very appreciated!!

  10. Chris says:

    Instead of exporting this to Google Sheets, I’m using Google Data Studio instead to visualize all the data that matters. Great post, thanks!

  11. Becky A. says:

    Thank you so much–I was trying to figure out how to view aggregate traffic by hour data and these instructions were exactly what I needed!

  12. Daniel says:

    Great advice. It is really useful to see data by day of week / hour and not only for eCommerce websites.

    Thanks 🙂

  13. Jessica says:

    How does timezone impact the results? I understand the military time aspect, but is it safe to assume these are all reporting based on the local time from the user or does it default to my computer’s time zone?

  14. Jonathan Ellins Jonathan Ellins says:

    Hi Jessica, it makes a big difference with the results exactly matching the set timezone on the Analytics account (not the computer accessing it). You can view and change the timezone with this guide here from Google: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1010249?hl=en

  15. Rakesh says:

    We must appreciate the tips, specially the way to import custom reports into analytics, that makes really simple. we are so glad to see all the reports, now we can manage the best time for best result. Thanks a lot.

  16. Carl Griffiths says:

    Hi, great article. The links work to apply the report to my GA views. Any idea how to filter on specific goals ( we have 5).

  17. Jonathan Ellins Jonathan Ellins says:

    Hi Carl,
    Thanks for your comment.
    You will need to “Edit” the custom report and add a new Metric of “Goal x Completions” with x being your goal ID number, see this screenshot: https://www.hallaminternet.com/assets/edit-metric-goal.png

  18. Tom Nguyen says:

    I was looking for a way to track visitors to my site and my clients’ websites by the hour. Your blog post was the best one on this subject. I was able to create my own custom reports by following your tutorial. Thank you.

  19. Jems says:

    Hello, Jonathan.

    I love this post. It will help me to generate custom Google Analytics report for my Customer.

  20. Ahmad Mansee says:

    Thanks Jonathan! very good tutorial I’ve learned so many useful things.
    Maybe it is useful if you explain how to create the Graph in excel 🙂

  21. Jonathan Ellins Jonathan Ellins says:

    Hi Ahmad, there’s lots of ways to make the graphs, I organise the data within Excel as shown in this image and then create a scatter graph to quickly visulaise it: https://www.hallaminternet.com/assets/time-bid-adjustments-excel-graph.jpg
    You can also use conditional formatting on the statistics to colour code the highest and lowest conversion rates, simply highlight all the stats and select HOME > CONDITIONAL FORMATTING > COLOR SCALES 🙂

  22. abc1212333 says:

    Hi there, can you please provide instruction for how to make that chart in Excel or Google Spreadsheets? Thanks for your awesome write up.

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