How Weather Affects Social Media Engagement (And Ad Performance)

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The weather is no longer a topic of conversation solely reserved for breaking the ice or filling the void of a socially awkward silence. It is being used to measure sentiment, target relevant ads to consumers, and predict social media engagement. Facebook has been measuring the effects of weather on social engagement and sentiment, and their findings show that bad weather positively impacts usage, engagement and post interactions. Social Marketers, pay attention...

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Weather Affects Emotions And User Sentiment on Social Media Posts

Researchers from the University of California joined forces with Facebook to study the effects of status updates on the moods of the people reading them. They found that users are more likely to be having a bad day if their social media contacts are too - and, since the weather affects our mood and emotional outlook, the weather played a role in defining user sentiment on social. 

Negative Facebook posts increased 1.16% with bad weather and positive posts decreasing by 1.19%. Each negative update subsequently caused a 1.29% increase in unhappy posts by an individual’s friends. However, it is not just the bad weather that leads to a surge in Facebook posts; happy status updates have a similar effect. It was found that upbeat updates led to an additional 1.75% positive mood posts by an individual’s friends.

What these stats show is that emotional states can spread via social media and cause a ripple effect or ‘emotional contagion’ within social circles – and that weather can be the trigger. Positive posts, it would seem, actually have a marginally greater impact in terms of virality than negative posts – something marketers will want to bear in mind.

But how can these insights be leveraged by brands and organizations within the context of their social media marketing strategy? The next study could hold the key:

 

Bad Weather Drives Social Media Engagement

A study by Fanpage Karma which analysed the average interaction with 1500 German Facebook pages in 2013. The weather was rated for every day of the year in 2013 and used to analyse interactions on the 1500 pages. A distinct correlation between weather and amount of post interactions was found, with fans reacting 42% more often in the absence of sunshine. Rainy summer weekends saw a substantial rise in social media engagement with post interaction increasing by 90%. Although the remaining 3 seasons experienced less increase in post reactions compared to that of rain in summer, a clear difference is still evident with 39% more reactions on rainy days in spring, autumn and winter than that of sunny days.

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The Results:

  • Inclement weather always increases interactions, regardless of season.

  • Average engagement is up 42% when the sun is not shining.

  • Post reactions double on rainy summer weekends, and interaction increases by 90%

  • In spring, autumn and winter there are still 39% more reactions on average during rainy days.

 

What Does This Mean For Marketers?

As the figures show, on days when snow, rain or sleet fall from the sky, or the heavens generally unleash their wrath (umbrella term: bad weather), consumers become more engaged on social media, meaning that marketers have a much more receptive and captive audience with which to interact. 

Positive posts e.g. promotional deals and discount offers made during periods of inclement weather could generate the most engagement and achieve largest reach on social networks, according to the stats.

So if you want to take the manual approach, be sure to plan ahead and check the forecast to make the most of the bad weather. Or, if you want the easy automated option, use weather based automation to trigger posts, ads, and messaging according to latest real-time weather. It’s not all bad; after all, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain!

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