Weather-Based Marketing

19 February 2015
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It isn’t ground breaking news when we tell you that digital platforms enhance everyday experiences, especially when it comes to weather-related news. We can easily credit this to increased popularity in picture sharing apps such as Instagram and other technology use. On a daily basis we see weather pictures- especially recently from our friends in the northeast who have been hit hard with snow this month. #Blizzard2015 has been trending for the majority of February 2015, which leads marketers to wonder, “How can I insert my brand into this conversation?” Enter “Weather-Based Marketing tactics.”

According to Weather Unlocked, Weather-Based Advertising or Weather-Triggered Advertising is the practice of targeting consumers by local weather (past, current, or future). From this definition we come up with the meaning of weather-based marketing.

Weather-Based Marketing is both proactive and reactive campaign construction with the intention of facilitating business based on past, present, or future weather-related patterns or out of the ordinary weather events.

Not quite sure that weather impacts your specific target audience’s purchase behavior? Think again. There have been multiple studies from companies including Skymosity, Weather Unlocked , and Business Insider among others that all state the importance that weather has on consumer purchases. Think about it on a basic, temperature level. When it is cold outside, people are more likely to buy jackets and shop online. When it is hot outside they are more likely to buy bathing suits and depending on how hot it is- shop online. Studies also correlate weather with influencing large purchase decisions such as car and house choices. The bottom line? When marketing as a business, weather should always be considered.

If you haven’t already, we suggest that you look into making a weather-marketing strategy for your company to determine your existing and potential customer’s purchase behaviors during each season to better plan when and how to use your advertising dollars. But what about marketing and advertising during the unplanned weather-related events? There are three main ways to stay on top in the midst of weather-related incidents such as January and February 2015’s #Blizzards: Adjusting your AdWords and AdWords Extensions campaigns, promoting relevant and useful products digitally, and participating in real-time weather engagement on social.

Adjusting your AdWords and AdWord Extension Campaigns

When it comes to any Adwords campaign it is important to understand that you want to make the Google search results page your best friend. You must connect with your audience and when it comes to choosing keywords for campaigns  put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes. What phrases are they going to search for when they need your service or product? Use those. As for weather-based marketing, adjust your AdWords keywords by connecting your ads to any weather event that matters and is relevant.

By adding the ‘Bid by Weather‘ script to your AdWords campaign, you are able to fill out a Google Spreadsheet with a list of weather-related campaigns (and associated locations) that automatically update in AdWords when specific weather events happen. The script is powered through a third party called OpenWeatherMap API.

After you have your Bid by Weather campaigns set it is also important to have relevant AdWords Extensions in place to enhance your ad without using up your 95 characters of space.  Extensions help improve ROI and visibility by extending ads with 11 different options (both manual and automated) such as app buttons, call buttons, social links, etc. AdWords Extensions make it easier for customers to see helpful information, so it is something that business owners should consider.

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Promoting Relevant and Useful Products

Present your audience and potential audience with “weather-hacks.” Put yourselves in their position as a consumer. If it is 100 degrees outside they are going to want to cool off. Do you offer ice cream? Make a hot-weather special and offer buy one get one free anytime the temperature goes above 95 degrees. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if it is cold and you sell coffee at your ice cream store, promote that as a good way for customers to escape the cold. Having a great sale, but the weather isn’t reciprocating the love? Promote your online store with the same offers so your shopper doesn’t have to leave home. If you use digital advertising methods like Facebook to reach your potential audiences, you can tap into weather-based marketing when creating your ad. With the recent blizzards, a smart way for a hotel owner in Florida to profit would be by using location targeting on Facebook Ads (the ad featuring a sunny beach with people in bikinis) to those who are snowed into their homes in Boston. Automating email triggers are also a smart way to use weather analytics to aid in your company’s success. Skymosity swears by the method by stating “by using weather-based email trigger technology, marketers can create automated email trigger campaigns that deploy specific content during specific conditions.” This is a great way to individualize consumers.

A big part of weather-based marketing is  about finding ways to introduce your product to new audiences through positive weather hacks that will help your customers out. So if you want to make snow memes, hyperlapses, and slow-mo snow-mo’s do it, but know there are other options.


Participating in Real-Time Weather Engagement

We’ve reiterated it’s importance thousands of times in past blog posts , but real-time engagement is essential in today’s marketing mix. When it comes to weather-based marketing, businesses wanting to get involved in the conversation are lucky because content about weather is one of the top post generators by users on social. So how can you get involved in the conversation? Take notes from these guys, and have fun creating fun engaging content that your target audience will want to see and respond to. It is extremely important to keep in mind that weather-related events can get serious quickly, so tread carefully with the tone that you spread your messages with. It is possible to achieve social success without offending others or their safety. Another thing to remember when it comes to real time engagement through weather-based marketing is that you don’t have to create content solely for the hope of it going viral. Other ways to participate in real-time weather engagement include proactively reaching out to users that could use your products in the weather, keeping up with trending hashtags, and liking and commenting on other users pictures and content.

 Like any other marketing campaign, weather-based marketing campaigns are extremely complex procedures that are constantly changing and evolving. Need help seamlessly inserting a weather-based marketing campaign into your existing marketing efforts? We can help

About Morgan Jones

Morgan is a graduate from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a BA in Communication Studies and a minor in journalism. She brings to the table a vivacious spirit and unique creative energy that she uses in all things SayItSocial. When she isn't being an awesome Digital Account Executive, you can find her running the Wrightsville Beach loop with her dog Grizzly, out on the beach, or on her front porch reading her nook.

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