Can your business strategy weather the storm?


Ross Webster, MD EMEA, The Weather Channel

Britain has been basking in blistering heat this last month. The news is full of health warnings and advice to stay indoors. But I know what I will be doing after work; opening a bottle of wine and lighting up the BBQ. And I’m not alone, across the UK this summer, sales of sausages, cider and salads have sky rocketed!

Weather affects all our businesses directly. It has been estimated that up to 30% of the UK GDP is affected directly by the weather conditions, which brings me to these key questions for the advertising industry…

What is the weather strategy for your business? How will you make weather work harder for you?

The power of weather on the consumer is universal and primal. Canny advertisers have always realised this to target consumers right at the point of intent.

Unfortunately, activation has often been simplified to a one dimensional daily national temperature average, or even to the current view from the media owner’s window.

Luckily, things have moved on, sophisticated data stacks have allowed marketers to better understand the connection between consumer behaviour and weather conditions.

At The Weather Channel, we know there is a powerful correlation between weather variances, location and mobility, and it’s this combination that is allowing us to effectively target and optimise advertising around the weather for the first time ever.

Utilising weather data intelligence through ad tech platforms such as our own WeatherFX, enables advertisers to tap into insights and predictive modelling in an actionable way to unlock the power of weather and take advantage across web and mobile.

So, to get the most out of your weather strategy, here are some key lessons we’ve learned from looking at our data on advertising campaigns and consumer behaviour to help optimise activity around the weather.

  1. Weather is Local

Weather is a highly local phenomenon, and so is the consumer reaction to it. People in rural areas react very differently to the same weather condition than urban dwellers.   People in Scotland will consider a BBQ at 5 degrees lower than those in the South East.

Currently, weather data sets can be forecast in 15-minute blocks to a square kilometre grid, which allows advertisers impressive granularity to deliver very precise location-targeted messages.

  1. Weather is mobile

One hundred and thirty million downloads of The Weather Channel App illustrates where weather data is being consumed, and where it will be in the future.

They are visiting weather on their phones over 20 times a month.   Over 50% of our own traffic worldwide is from users who visit more than twice a day. Users are deciding to start and end their day with a weather check, taking advantage of our weather data to make plans when they are on the move.

Advertisers can effectively target rich engaging messages to consumers based on the current or forecasted weather conditions on mobile devices.

  1. ‘Feels like’ is more powerful than absolutes

Weather data is a powerful ingredient in predicative modelling, and can give advertisers new levels of sophistication to activate contextually relevant message at local levels.

Last summer, the UK enjoyed a much hotter July than the seasonal average. That was until August 6th, when the temperatures dropped about 8 degrees to a more normalised August average.   This temperature drop left consumers feeling cold, and that week saw a sudden and significant uplift in winter food products – soups, gravies, root vegetables, stout and whisky. Leveraging weather variances against the seasonal norms rather than absolute temperatures, offers advertisers more contextual relevancy rather than pure temperature activation.

  1. Always be on and be programmatic

By scheduling ‘always on’ campaigns to activate when they know there will be demand, advertisers can ‘peak the peaks’, and gain significant competitive advantages. Think about the grocer that was advertising soups and gravies in August last year, rather than cider and charcoal.

And all this can all be done in real time. Programmatic buying is the perfect platform for advertisers to build trigger sets ahead of time, and to activate campaigns only when the conditions in specific locations are right.

  1. Think native and tell a story

Advertisers would be foolish to disregard the weather role in consumers’ decision-making process.   The high frequency of user visits allows the advertiser to be part of the consumer’s experience, not a hindrance to it.

Brands can make their products super-relevant and part of the whole weather experience – Benadryl when pollen count is high, Asda meats in the run-up to BBQ weekends, Continental tyres when driving conditions are challenging.

Soon when the clouds return and the inevitable rain comes we will as a nation demand coffee, soups and DVDs and for relevant businesses, supply for these products will have to be re-evaluated. Fundamentally, all our behaviour is highly dependent on weather variances, with the conditions dictating what we do, and now we can use weather data to our advantage it makes sense to make the most of it.

Written by
Ross Webster, MD EMEA,
The Weather Channel

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