So your boss has asked you to set up an AdWords PPC campaign that automatically modifies bids or switches ads on and off based on weather.
For example, you might be advertising a cooling product and may want to increase bids in places that are experiencing warm weather, whilst decreasing bids where it’s cold.
There are really two methods for creating a weather triggered AdWords campaign. The first is to use an AdWords weather script, in conjunction with a weather API. The second –and by far the easier option is to use a weather automation tool such as WeatherAds.
In this article, I’m going to show you what the pitfalls of using scripts are – and why using a weather targeting tool is by far the easier, cheaper, and more reliable method.
From speaking with hundreds of Paid Search account managers that have abandoned weather scripts in favour of WeatherAds, I have now become all too familiar with the shortcomings of running a weather script for PPC campaigns.
Hopefully, this post will save you hours of pain and frustration by explaining why relying on scripts to add weather automation to your campaign will more often than not end in disaster – and why using a tool such as WeatherAds will save you hours of work and bring you significantly better results.
One of the many issues with using a weather bidding script for AdWords is that it is a massive headache to set up and maintain. If you don’t believe me, just read this post by renowned digital marketing agency PMG. Secondly, the bid-by-weather script is notoriously unreliable – prone to breaking, failing, and timing out without any forewarning, compromising your entire campaign. You can read all about that in Google’s own documentation on the limitations of running weather based scripts. Furthermore, you need to be an advanced user of AdWords to run scripts, coupled with a working knowledge of programming to customize the script to actually work for your specific campaign strategy and use case. Here’s a quick summary of the main complaints that we hear about again and again at WeatherAds.
Scripts will necessarily timeout after 30 minutes. This means you have to divide the script and spreadsheet up into numerous versions. In their experiment, digital marketing agency PMG ended up with about 65 spreadsheets that they had scheduled to run over several hours.
If your campaign is running for a relatively broad geo, let’s say a US nationwide campaign, you’re going to hit hard limits fast.
First, you have to go through the extremely tedious task of matching all your AdWords locations to the weather API’s locations – as the nomenclature is different. Then, when the OpenWeatherMap API can’t identify a specific AdWords location (which happens a lot, trust me) it will return an error which terminates the script. This instantly breaks your campaign’s weather targeting.
The Weather API call is liable to simply timeout, and this will terminate your script and break your campaign.
On top of everything, this method can get prohibitively expensive. This is because you still have to pay for a 3rd party weather API to run scripts – and for a large campaign, calling current weather nationwide every 30 mins or so for 10,000 locations, the costs will become untenable, eating into your marketing budget and campaign profitability. By contrast, WeatherAds has transparent, flat-rate monthly pricing starting at just $49/ month.
In Google’s own words, “The Bid-by-Weather script only affects bid management, and updating it to perform a different campaign management task (e.g. pausing a group of campaigns) is not entirely trivial.”
With WeatherAds, you can do this with the click of a button – and avoid those long IT bottlenecks and hours of downtime when your campaign suddenly fails.
With WeatherAds, you can run super nuanced and precise weather based rules for your campaigns, for example;
Increase bids if the temperature has risen above 90F in last 3 days, on each of those days (as opposed to on just one of those days).
Trigger ads during the week only in those areas where a sunny weekend was forecast. (Great for outdoor activities brands)
Don’t even think about setting up these kinds of rules using AdWords weather scripts - Your head might explode.
Thankfully WeatherAds provides a much more stress-free way to add weather based rules to your AdWords campaigns. With WeatherAds you can make your existing AdWords campaigns weather responsive in under 5 minutes – without any coding, excel spreadsheets, or API wizardry. Like scripts, you can use WeatherAds to bid by weather, but you can also use it to switch ads on and off based on your audiences local weather. The intuitive dashboard also offers much more powerful weather targeting options and flexibility than scripts.
WeatherAds automates all the backend processes for you so there’s no messing around with spreadsheets trying to match up the Weather API location with your campaign’s geocodes. And unlike scripts, it works for search, display, shopping, and social campaigns. WeatherAds uses hyper-accurate weather data from a variety of 3rd party providers, and has hourly, 24-7 update cycles, meaning your campaigns are refreshed based on latest weather data, around the clock.
It speaks volumes that many of our clients actually switch from AdWords weather scripts to WeatherAds because of how much easier, faster, and more efficient WeatherAds is by comparison to running a weather bidding script.
And hopefully, we’ve saved you going through the pain of using scripts for weather-based bidding in AdWords yourself. Go ahead and try WeatherAds out for free now – and save yourself hours of work.