The Complete Guide to Weather Based Marketing
The Complete Guide to Weather Based Marketing
Chapter 1. Context is King
Marketing is no longer about broadcasting messages to an audience.
The most successful campaigns are ones that engage individuals with customized and contextually relevant experiences to inform their decision making process.
Understanding who a person is, is only the first step. The challenge is to understand where they are, what they are doing, and what they are likely to do next.
By leveraging real-time information such as trending events or dynamic signals relating to an individual and their context, more relevant and impactful marketing can be delivered at the precise moment when it will make the biggest impact or confer the most value. This is the power of moment marketing.
Chapter 2. Why Weather Matters
Weather is the most primal and universal factor in consumer decision-making. It affects where we go, what we wear, what we eat, what we buy – and crucially, how we feel.
This makes weather data the perfect tool for contextual targeting. It is virtually the only real-time data-set available to marketers which provides an insight into a consumer’s mood, desires, and purchase intent at any given moment.
By utilizing weather targeting to deliver customized creative, marketers can drive higher campaign returns through more meaningful consumer interactions.
- Weather is the 2nd biggest influence on consumer behavior after the state of the economy
- Weather affects around $3 trillion worth of business in the private sector alone in the US.
- 70% of people in the UK check the weather forecast at least once every day
Chapter 3. Weather-Driven Demand
Weather is a fundamental driver of consumer spending habits. However, many of us don’t realize just how pervasive weather’s impact on the sales of goods and services really is. Forget about umbrellas and ice cream - the relationship between weather and product demand spans across nearly every industry including:
- Travel & hospitality
- Pharma & OTC
- Food & Drinks
- Home Services (roofing, damp proofing, landscaping etc)
- Health, wellness & beauty
- Visitor attractions & amusement parks
- Leisure & Entertainment
- Home & Garden
- Energy & utilities
- ...and many others!
The chart on the following page illustrates how a year-on-year rise or fall in temperature by just one degree Fahrenheit can have significant knock-on effects on the sales of a wide range of products in the USA - Triggering a 24% sales increase in air conditioners, 2% lift in soft drinks, and 4% rise in infant apparel purchases. A greater variation in temperature can produce even more pronounced effects.
The demand for myriad products and services (even ones which appear to be weather-neutral) is largely shaped by weather conditions. However, these correlations vary according to locality, seasonality, and deviation from seasonal norms.
For example an 80° F day in Seattle might prompt people to shop for air conditioners, but 80° F in San Diego may cause locals to search for sweatshirts. Likewise, a 60° F spell in winter will promote different consumption patterns to a 60° F spell occurring during the summer, in the same location.
- When Sainsbury’s examined the link between weather and sales for a selection of product categories in the UK, they found that just a few degrees rise in temperatures in early spring will produce a 200% lift in BBQ sales.
- However, in Scotland, a temperature of 20° C or 68° F will prompt BBQ sales to triple, whilst in London, the temperature has to be exactly 24° C or 75° F to induce the same result.
The above example demonstrates the importance of performing an accurate analysis on weather-driven product trends. By examining POS data against normalized historical data, and factoring in location, seasonal averages, methods of purchase and other variables – accurate and nuanced correlations between weather and product sales can be established.
Chapter 4: How Weather Affects Mood
Weather targeting is not just about tying a particular product to the weather (although this is a big part of it). Weather data can also be used by marketers to tap into the consumer’s psyche at any given moment in time.
Understanding the customer’s mind frame, and tailoring marketing messages accordingly, will result in a much more potent campaign strategy. A message that delivers timely and relevant information, in a tone that resonates with the consumer’s mood, will elicit far greater purchase intent.
- Exposure to sunlight has been proven to increase our willingness to spend money on products/services by up to 56%.
- Negative moods caused by bad weather can make consumers respond better to negative messaging e.g. fear-based ads. This hard-hitting by the The American Dental Association drove significantly more sales on dark, gloomy days than a positive message about healthier teeth and whiter smiles
- Cold, wet, and windy weather forces people to stay indoors, and triggers an increased use of coupons and gift cards for food delivery services such as pizza.
- An advert is likely to have a greater influence if the consumer is in warm surroundings (but not too hot) with optimum ambient temperature being between 75-77° F, or 24-25° C.
- A large online shopping portal found that for many ‘weather-neutral’ products there’s a direct correlation between ambient temperature and purchase intent with an optimal point of around 30-35° C.
Chapter 5: Weather Triggered Marketing
For brands and agencies, weather, health and environmental data is a powerful tool to legitimize communications and contextualize ads. This is being recognized across the entire digital advertising ecosystem - with most large brands and agencies now being well versed with deploying weather targeting.
Weather targeting can be added to any digital marketing campaign using a plug and play tool like WeatherAds.
WeatherAds seamlessly integrates with worlds biggest ad platforms such as Google Ads, Meta (Facebook & Instagram), Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) like Google's Display and Video 360 (DV360), Marketing Automation Platforms and Email Marketing Platforms (ESPs) like Klayivo, Active Campaign, SalesForce ExactTarget and Mailchimp, or virtually any other platforms where weather triggers can be utilized to trigger an action (e.g. SMS or Push).
Likewise, WeatherAds can even be utilized by an e-Commerce store, deal website, or a dynamic site optimization engine to sync promotions and offers with localized weather events, customized to that visitor. It can even be utilized by publishers selling advertising inventory via supply side platforms like Google Ad Manager (GAM).
Listed below are just a few examples of weather-triggered campaigns that have produced considerable performance uplift. For a full list check out our weather targeting case studies and success stories.
- Stella Cidre reported 65.6% increase in YOY sales during the period they ran their weather-responsive DOOH campaign.
- Molson Coors increased CTR by 89% via their weather-triggered ad campaign on social media.
- Neutrogena Beach Defence Sunscreen used in-app ads which were activated by sun and UV levels, increasing purchase intent by 43% and product awareness from zero to 63%.
- Fashion retailer La Redoute saw 34% traffic uplift and 17% sales increase generated by a weather-triggered DOOH signage campaign.
- Bravissimo’s weather-triggered PPC ad campaign increased PPC-driven sales revenue for their swimwear range by nearly 600% during the 3- month campaign. Conversion rate of browsers to buyers increased by 103%.
- Burton menswear used weather-activated dynamic website promotions to generate 11.6% uplift in conversions.
- Pure360 reported 500% increase in email open rates for campaigns relating to domestic holidays during good weather. Click through rate rose from 12% to 27%.
- Pantene’s weather targeted display ads produced a 28% sales increase as well as 600,000+ social impressions.
- Liptons ran a weather-sensitive campaign across Facebook mobile. They reached 6.9 million people, and achieved a spectacular 12.8% video view rate - which equated to just £0.06 cost per view.
Chapter 6: Leveraging The Past, Present and Future
As we've learnt, consumer behavior, mood, and propensity to purchase is strongly guided by weather. But it’s not just the current weather that influences us. The weather we have previously experienced, what we’re currently experiencing, and what we expect to experience will influence us as well. This is a critical point to take into consideration when planning a weather-responsive marketing campaign.
Past (Historical Weather)
Past weather data is often wrongly overlooked as a targeting criteria. However, past weather data can offer real value to marketers. The weather a consumer has recently been exposed to will shape their purchase intention.
- Sears Automotive knows that 5-year old car batteries die after three consecutive days of sub-zero temperatures. They interrogate 3 days of historical data, and activate ads on the fourth day after 3 days of freezing temperatures.
Current (Live Weather)
Current weather data is the most widely used data-set for weather targeted ads. The weather that an individual is experiencing at any given moment has the most immediate and salient influence on their mood and purchase behavior
- Bravissimo increased their sales by 600% by displaying weather-sensitive PPC ads based on current weather conditions.
Future (Forecast Weather)
Forecasts offers an excellent way to legitimize communications with customers whilst providing a value-add (personalized forecast information or weather warning) which affirms the consumer’s need for the product or service.
- Timberland send weather-triggered emails advising subscribers that good weather is forecast over the next few days, with the tagline ‘looks like a great weekend for a hike in [user’s location], and a promotional discount on hiking boots.
Chapter 7: Weather-Based Marketing Strategies
When devising a weather-responsive campaign, there are three main strategies to consider. All three leverage the fact that the weather experienced by consumers is a key determining factor in their receptiveness to an advert, willingness to act, and motivation to purchase.
Targeting by Weather Signal
Using past, current or forecast weather signals to activate a creative. The consumer is typically unaware that weather is being used for targeting.
Example - displaying an ad for a cold drink when temperature reaches above a certain threshold.
- This digital OOH advert for Stella Cidre appears only when temperatures rise by 2° C above the national average, and there is no rain.
Targeting by Signal + Contextualizing
Targeting based on past, current, or forecast weather signals and aligning the marketing message with the weather conditions to show appreciation of context and encourage the desired response.
Example - “It’s cold, grab a coffee”, or “Miserable isn't it? Imagine your perfect holiday, Book it now!”
Targeting by Signal + Value Adding
This approach provides a reason for the communication along with dynamic, customized creative displaying value-added content. The content justifies the consumer's need for the product or service.
Example - “It’s going to be wet, buy that raincoat now!” + [customized forecast]
- Timberland send email promos for the weatherproof range triggered by a 3- day forecast for heavy rain. They display a personalized forecast along with product suggestions.
Weather Analytics for Campaign Metrics & Sales Insights
It is important that brands and agencies have a good understanding of the association between weather patterns, geography, and the product or service they are advertising, in order to execute the most effective marketing campaign possible. Performing a weather analytics audit enables you to measure these exact relationships, accounting for regional variations, time of day, different weather patterns etc, compared against hard metrics like clicks, conversions, footfall, average order value (AOV), and revenue - whilst taking into account seasonality, time of day and background noise such as promotions.
The weather analytics allows brands to identify which combinations of conditions, in which localities, generate peaks in demand for their products. It will also help marketers better understand which consumer-brand touchpoints work best for different weather-based campaigns. For example – a campaign for a weather-proof jacket triggered by wet and windy weather might be best suited to desktop display advertising – as the consumer is likely to be indoors. Conversely, an ad for a soft drink triggered by hot and sunny weather may be most effectively delivered via mobile or DOOH channels – when the viewer is on the move.
- The crafts retailer Michaels traditionally increased their advertising on rainy days, when craft projects are a popular past-time. However, after running campaign analytics, they changed their strategy, advertising not on actual rainy days, but 3 days ahead of a rainy forecast. This tactic resulted in a significant sales lift.
Weather analytics for sales or campaign data provides marketers the foundational insights to execute a the most impactful campaign possible - one that delivers the right message to the right person, in the right location, at the right time, via the right channel - maximizing ROI. In addition, the process of measuring, optimizing, and iterating campaigns through the use of weather analytics will result in consistently improved outcomes.
Analyze past sales or campaign data against normalized historical weather data to determine weather-driven trends and ‘trigger’ conditions.
Apply the insights gained from the analysis stage to create a weather responsive campaign based on the trigger conditions.
Execute the weather-triggered campaign. Return to the analysis stage in order to measure campaign KPIs, and continue to optimize campaign by refining triggers, actions, ad copy etc.
Chapter 10: Summary
By leveraging dynamic, localized contextual signals relating to weather, health / sickness, travel and environmental events, marketers can target consumers more effectively at the precise moment when they are most receptive and likely to act. Marketers can also use weather data as an insight into the mood, attitude and propensity to spend for an individual at any given moment.
Utilizing moment marketing and weather targeting to deliver timely and relevant messages, benefits all involved parties: Consumers receive more valuable and engaging information – which cuts through ad fatigue and media noise. For the media buyers there are fewer wasted impressions, better CTR, engagement and Conversions - through more impactful ads. For the brands - more sales, improved brand awareness, and lower costs. Moment marketing is a win-win-win.
Some of the world's larges brands and agencies are using WeatherAds to legitimize communications and contextualize ads - to outstanding effect. You can view their case studies here.
Naturally, weather targeting will not be as relevant to some products and services as for others. However, an immense range of products and services across 20+ industries are either directly or indirectly weather-sensitive. For these products and services, marketers can expect to see significantly enhanced yield through weather adaptive marketing. Get in touch with us today to discover how your business can benefit from moment marketing.