For many businesses, email represents one of the most effective channels for generating sales. It is an important tool for nurturing new leads, as well as up-selling and cross-selling to existing customers.
However, there are numerous factors that can affect the success of your email campaign – the day and time of the send, the recipient’s device, and, believe it or not, the weather.
A study carried out by looked at the impact of weather on email marketing campaigns by analyzing the open and click through rate on over 7 million emails across a range of B2B and B2C products and services. The results make fascinating reading.
The study proves that weather significantly affects the success of an email campaign for a variety of products and services – even ones which are ostensibly weather-neutral.
It found that overall, during spells of sunny warm weather, recipients are far more receptive to easy-to-purchase goods, as well as services associated with the outdoors or holidays. However, bad weather can also positively impact email metrics for certain niches.
Effect of Good Weather on Email Metrics:
Campaigns for domestic holidays had a 500% increase in open rates in good weather. Click through rate also rose from 12% to 27%.
In hot weather, campaigns promoting satnav systems had a 48% click through rate compared to 23% on bad weather days. Camping equipment emails CTR rose to 46%.
B2B campaign effectiveness almost doubled when the sun was out. Campaigns promoting business-related events, services and products increasing from 15% when raining to 27%.
Effect of Bad Weather on Email Metrics:
Bad weather increases the likelihood of customers engaging with property-related emails, with an open rate of 8% versus a good weather open rate of 4%.
Emails pertaining to winter holidays performed very well during periods of bad weather – with a CTR of 44%.
Transport is another sector that seemingly benefits from bad weather – their email campaign click through’s soared to 35%.
Restaurant industry emails, perhaps surprisingly, do much better in bad weather – peaking at 22% CTR.
How Weather Affects Email Marketing Performance
The Results showed an increase in effectiveness of campaigns promoting summer related products during hot sunny weather (no surprises there), with recipients twice as likely to open emails promoting festival tickets when the sun was out, than on a rainy day. Swimwear (15% CTR) and sporting events (19% CTR) email campaigns also performed significantly better during spells of fine weather.
On hot days, the UK holiday industry experienced an open rate 5 times higher than on days when the weather was cooler. Campaigns promoting satnav systems saw a significant increase in click through rates at 48% when the sun was shining compared to 23% on days when the weather was considered poor, demonstrating that sunny weather inspires more consumers to get out and explore.
However, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops! Results showed that on bad weather days, consumers are more likely to be considering higher (financial) risk purchases such as a new car or house, showing an increased likelihood of engaging with property related emails which demonstrated an open rate of 8% during this study compared to 4% during good weather. During spells of bad weather campaigns promoting restaurants were found to be twice as effective too.
The transport industry as well as the packaged holiday industry will both be praying for perpetual rain – the desire for consumers to escape from a dank and gloomy spell of weather is reflected in their engagement with these types of emails – averaging 35% and 44% CTR’s respectively.
So What Does This Mean for Email Marketers?
Firstly these results demonstrate that weather should be a key consideration when executing an email marketing campaign.
It is important that marketers analyse the effect of weather on prior campaigns in order to optimise future campaign runs. This can be done by layering historical weather data over campaign performance metrics.
Marketers can then implement agile real-time marketing practices to ensure campaigns are automatically deployed to the right consumers at the exact moment when conditions are right for purchase.
A weather API, such as Weather Unlocked's WeatherTrigger, can be integrated into email marketing platforms (providing your ESP has open APIs) so that content is activated automatically according to the recipient’s weather conditions. This ensures only timely, germane content gets pushed out. However, this requires some technical knowledge and resource to build. For an easier way to trigger email sends based on weather, keep your eyes open for WeatherAds' MailChimp integration (coming soon!) which will enable you to trigger your email automations based on your subscribers weather.
Dynamic Weather-Based Email Content
Another great way to use weather data to personalise and hyper-contextualise an email is to use dynamic weather content within the email body.
If you know the recipient's geolocation or IP address, you will be able to use this information to populate an email with personalised weather conditions for that location. Here's an example from Asda:
Asda can then advertise products within the email that sell well when the weather is hot and sunny - such as multipacks of beer, barbecues, gardening products and so on.
Here's another example of a weather triggered email from big box retailer Argos. This one was targeted to subscribers who were located in areas due to experience freezing conditions. The trigger for this email would have been 'temperature is equal to/ below 0 degrees C'.
As you can see in the screenshot below, Argos have targeted the email to subscribers experiencing sub-zero temperatures, advertising specific products that see a huge surge in demand during these conditions - including battery chargers, hot flasks and car windshield protectors.
Here’s another example of a travel company sending pre-departure messages to their customers containing dynamically updated, real-time weather information for their destination. They use this content as a value add, whilst also legitimizing communications and providing a platform to up-sell additional services:
Realizing the potential of weather data by integrating it into your email marketing campaign will increase relevance of the message as well as open and click through rate, resulting in increased sales and brand awareness. So say goodbye to the days of a scatter-gun email marketing strategy, pushing products to the wrong places at the wrong time. A new era of weather-responsive email marketing is here!