Is weather targeting right for your next campaign?

Weather is one of the most universal factors in decision making. It affects almost everything. Where we go, what we wear, what we eat, what we buy – and possibly most importantly, how we feel. Like it or not, the weather matters. It matters so much that 70% of the British public check the weather forecast at least once a day and we spend four months of our lives talking about it.  

This makes weather data the perfect tool for ad targeting. If you think of weather as a data-set, why wouldn’t you want to use that data? It operates in real-time, and provides an insight into a consumer’s mood and purchase intent at any given moment. That’s a powerful data set for a marketer to access for the right product. 

By using weather targeting to deliver custom creative, marketers can drive higher campaign returns through more meaningful interactions. With the UK weather being predictably unpredictable as we step into summer, and with lockdown restrictions easing, brands have all the ingredients they need to soar their sales over the next few months.

Why is weather so important for sales?

It goes without saying that good weather improves people’s mood. This positively influences buying habits and drives an increase in sales for certain items such as barbecues, ice cream, and alcohol. This will be especially true this summer as social distancing restrictions are expected to see an increase in gatherings of friends and family as people have more ‘get together’ occasions.  

Research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that after the economy, weather has the biggest impact on consumer behaviour and influences the amount spent per item.

Given the impact the weather has on grocery sales, brands and retailers would be foolish to ignore it when planning their marketing activity. They need to understand the opportunities the weather can give them and should be smart about how they react to the volatile British weather.

How can programmatic marketing help?

If you market a product that will be influenced by good weather, you’ll want more of your ads to be seen on hot, sunny days than if it’s cold and raining. People are much more likely to search for products and services such as BBQs, garden furniture or alcohol when the weather is nice. Using scripts and API plugins it’s possible to programmatically feed weather data and adjust the bids accordingly.

This allows brands to recognise those moments that can be used to boost sales by capitalising on them with increased spend. More importantly it can also improve efficiency as it shows where they can avoid wasting spend, when the weather is not so good.     

Beer giant Stella is a classic example who used weather data as far back as 2013 to promote their Cidre. AB-InBev (who own Stella) discovered that a two-degree temperature rise above the monthly average resulted in a sales increase. Based on this data, they have deployed digital out of home campaigns, to maximise the benefit of those conditions. They run ads on posters due to their proximity to retail stores, only activated when conditions were right to impact purchase intent.

Stella saw a significant 66% increase in year on year sales during the campaign, and because ads were only shown during optimum conditions there were no wasted impressions, meaning they made up to 50% cost efficiencies vs a standard DOOH campaign.

How do we do it?

It’s made possible by setting up programmatic advertising campaigns, using APIs from third party weather data sources. In general there are two broad two types of feed — current and forecast. Regular API calls for current feed data, are executed on the live campaign. The forecast feed is updated on a daily basis, and monitored by our trading team, giving an indication on the next few days. The data is granular at a city level, regardless of territory. Along with temperature (which is the main one used for activation and insight), we also use weather type, humidity, cloud cover, and visibility to activate against the campaign or find correlation where needed. 

We can also deploy weather specific creative via  DCO (dynamic creative optimization). Here the creative message is dynamically changed based on weather conditions. For example, ads for food delivery service when it rains, would trigger ad creative showing people eating indoors as most consumers would prefer to stay at home during that period, but when it’s a sunny day, alfresco dining creative would be appropriate.

What can you do this summer?

It’s not just extreme weather conditions that trigger success in weather-targeted campaigns. The key is to understand how your audience responds to each condition. As shown in the example above, small details can make a huge difference. 

With pubs and restaurants slowly reopening, ‘at-home’ alcohol sales continue to boom, growing 43% in the four-week period up to 14 June, reports Kantar. Now is a great time for food and drink brands to execute a weather based campaign to maximise efficiency. 

Over the last few months, due to the ongoing situation with Covid, sales of soft drinks have increased by 28%, ice cream sales rose by 57%, burgers by 44%, and sausages by 40%. All of these are products that people inevitably have a high purchase intent on sunny days, so there are some huge opportunities for challenger brands to gain market share with more efficient advertising.

For advertiser’s, contextual weather data is extremely valuable for making more informed strategic programmatic marketing decisions. 

To find out more about how we can help you with weather targeting, and other programmatic marketing strategies and campaigns get in touch.