Ultimate Review of Weather Marketing Tools to Supercharge your Advertising Author: Dennis Doubovski
Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur, and marketer once said, "Anticipated, personal, and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk." One way to make an anticipated, personal, and highly relevant campaign is by personalizing your message to your audience through weather-based marketing. Simply put, weather-based marketing uses transitory weather factors such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, and even the amount of rainfall as input to marketing campaigns enabling a client to serve the most appropriate product or service ad to his target customers. Big brands have long started to harness the advantages of keeping the weather on their side instead of trying to market products without considering local weather conditions. Weather-based advertising is a form of real-time marketing that delivers “dynamic, personalized content delivered across channels.” Let’s look at it from a practical point of view: a coffee shop might not want to sell iced lattes on a rainy day in the summer. Understanding the weather and how it affects buying decisions helps a business in two ways. First, research reveals that real-time marketing increases public interest, purchase intent, and consumer sentiment consequently contributing to a boost in sales. Next, it helps brands to create the most cost-efficient campaigns by serving ads only when it matches the weather. It would make sense for McDonald’s for example to sell ice cream to the sunshiny parts of the country and coffee to those on areas with a cloudy day in the summer.
If your business is in food and beverages, travel, health and beauty, insurance, clothing, or pharmaceutical industry, itâ€™s about time that you start analyzing your sales reports and see if spikes and dips in your sales are correlated to weather changes.
Different Approaches Marketing
Here are weather-triggered marketing approaches that you can consider: ď‚ˇ
DIY with Google AdWords - Google has their own Weather-based Management script that you can use to supplement your existing keyword conditions.
Hire an agency or use a self-managed tool - If your AdWords weather-based script seems too complex or you want to run weather-based campaigns on platforms other than PPC search ads, you can hire an agency that specializes in weather-based advertising or purchase a solution that provides a self-managed tool.
Collaborate with weather websites - Weather forecast websites and apps such as Accuweather and The Weather Channel offer advertising packages to match locations and weather conditions with a brand’s ads.
Regardless of the approach that you choose, you first need to gather data and arrive at an initial strategy backed by reports of your consumers’ actual buying behavior. Once you have your assumptions in place, it’s time to roll out your campaign. In this article, we’ll drill down on each one to help you decide on which approach will suit your strategy best.
DIY with Google AdWords Weather-based Campaign Management For entrepreneurs who want to get into the details of their brand’s own weather-triggered advertisements, you can do this by implementing your campaigns using Google’s own script.
How to Use Google AdWords Script First, finalize the data – get geo target codes from Google, weather locations from Open Weather Map, keyword bid modifiers, and weather conditions. Then, download the script and template at Google’s Weather-Based Campaign Management page.
Populate the templates with your bid conditions then place the script on your AdWords account.
Sample Results Cotswold Outdoor, a retailer with stores across the United Kingdom, deployed weather-based marketing using Google AdWords. They ran the campaign which resulted in 41% increase in ROI, 29% revenue boost, and 19% CTR growth.
This approach is best for:
Entrepreneurs who are currently running their own AdWords PPC campaigns. Weather-based conditions help you save up on your campaign fund by bidding higher only when the right weather conditions apply and when your ads are most relevant to your target audience
Those who wish to start exploring weather-based marketing at the lowest possible cost.
Hiring an agency or using a self-managed tool Once you have identified sales trends from your own analytics, you can now pinpoint areas where you can start pushing more sales. Digital marketing agencies recognize the need to include the weather as a deciding factor not only when running PPC ads but also with social media, email, SMS campaigns, and website personalization. In terms of social media, popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do not have a built-in functionality to cater to the use of weather triggers as parameters as of writing. This may change in the future as more businesses see the need for weather-based campaigns. Digital marketing agencies offering platform-agnostic proprietary tools are able to integrate weatherrelated data to more advertising channels such as social media advertising, email marketing platforms, and ad exchanges. These tools are available as self-service or you can also discuss with the agency for a managed solution. Here’s a sample of AdParlor’s tool to create weather triggers for Facebook Ad sets:
Key market players for weather-based advertising from agencies include Skymosity, Fast Web Media, AdParlor, Weather Unlocked, AdShift, Ad-Pure, Planalytics, and AdWords Robot. Let’s take a look at what each agency has to offer based on the following categories:
Features and Functionalities – What each agency has to offer in terms of their services and their supported advertising networks
Support and Maintenance – Configuration and support can either be self-service or managed by the agency
Service Cost and Installment Fee – Price for services and tool installation
Weather Location Coverage – Weather locations covered by their tools
Skymosity Features and Functionalities: 1. Weather and Sales Analytics 2. Website Personalization 3. PPC Targeting 4. Integration to SMS, Email, AdWords, Automated Bid Adjustment Maintenance: Self-service Coverage: Limited weather locations are supported Cost: Price and installment fee available upon request Skymosity offers a multi-platform solution for weather-based campaigns. Campaigns under Skymosity include Brooks Running and Lyft.
Fast Web Media Features and Functionalities: 1. Weather and Sales Analytics 2. Integration to Adwords 3. PPC Triggers Maintenance: Managed Coverage: Worldwide Cost: Price and installment fee available upon request
Fast Web Media, a digital marketing agency with offices in Manchester in London, offers managed weather-based advertising on Google AdWords as part of their PPC capability. FWM enables weather triggers
with Bravissimo and The Ticket Factory.
AdParlor Features and Functionalities: 1. Weather and Sales Analytics 2. Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest) 3. Cross-Media Campaigns 4. API 5. Switching ad content based on weather Maintenance: Self-service Coverage: Worldwide Cost: $99-400 / month, installment fee available upon request AdParlor’s Weather API can be used to integrate with social media platforms to run multi-channel campaigns. Molson Coors’ weather activated campaign is one of AdParlor’s success stories.
Weather Unlocked Features and Functionalities: 1. Weather and Sales Analytics 2. PPC Triggers
3. Integration to AdWords 4. API 5. Switching Ad content based on weather 6. Custom Ad Banner Design Maintenance: Self-service Coverage: Worldwide Cost: Price and installment fee available upon request Weather Unlocked focuses mainly on weather-based marketing through WeatherTrigger,Weather Data APIs, and WeatherAds. Testimonials on their site show good review from Nissan Moto Sports International and Instant Access Technologies.
AdShift Features and Functionalities: 1. Reporting Dashboard 2. PPC Triggers 3. Integration to AdWords 4. API 5. Switching Ad content based on weather 6. Custom Ad Banner Design 7. Use of Dynamic Information on Banners Maintenance: Self-service Coverage: Worldwide Cost: Price and installment fee available upon request AdShift provides Weather Optimized PPC Bidding and Ad Changes as well as the capability to insert dynamic weather data in the ads. These solutions can be integrated to existing campaigns.
AdWords Robot Features and Functionalities: 1. Free Weather/Sales Correlation Analysis 2. PPC Triggers 3. Integration to AdWords 4. API 5. Switching Ad content based on weather 6. Custom Ad Banner Design 7. Use of Dynamic Information on Banners in Beta version Maintenance: Managed Coverage: Worldwide Cost: €499 /month, €0 installment fee AdWords Robot offers a fully managed Weather-based Ads package that includes AdWords campaigns, the use of dynamic information on banners, and the option to avail of a professional display banner design. AdWords Robot’s roster of clients includes Green Man Gaming and Jeans Centre.
Ad-Pure Features and Functionalities: 1. Weather and Sales Analytics 2. PPC Triggers 3. Integration to AdWords, Email Systems, Social Media Platforms (Facebook and Twitter), and CRM 4. API 5. Switching Ad content based on weather 6. Custom Ad Banner Design Maintenance: Self-service Coverage: Worldwide Cost: Price and installment fee available upon request Ad-Pure focuses on providing real-time data such as weather changes to help their clients serve significant ads at the right time.
Planalytics Features and Functionalities: 1. Weather and Sales Analytics 2. PPC Triggers 3. Integration to AdWords, Email Systems, Social Media Platforms (Facebook and Twitter) 4. API 5. Switching Ad content based on weather Maintenance: Managed Coverage: Worldwide Cost: Price and installment fee available upon request Planalytics believes that the effectiveness of a weather-based campaign starts with a thorough analysis of existing data. This information can then be used to create weather-driven demand projections. Ace Hardware and Coca-Cola are a few of the well-known brands with campaigns launched with this agency.
Summary The choice of which agency to entrust your weather-based marketing strategy will depend on which channel(s) do you want to deploy your campaigns on, the level of involvement that you want to take, and your campaign budget. Once you identify these parameters, the next step is to ensure that the agency you are considering completely understands your goals and whose execution plan is aligned with your overall marketing strategy.
Sample Results Burton, a menâ€™s clothing retailer in the UK, collaborated with a digital marketing agency to include checking the location and local weather conditions to customize website display. The campaign brought an 11.6% increase in conversion rates.
Weather-triggered campaigns also work in the automotive industry, as proven by BMW UK. The company launched a campaign using different Facebook ads shown depending on the current weather conditions and the results showed a 30% boost in customer engagement during snowing scenario plus an increased ROI.
This approach is best for: ď‚§
Businesses willing to pay a premium price for expert advice on the most cost-efficient weathertriggered campaigns.
Small businesses who have no resource available to monitor campaigns can get fully managed services.
Collaborate with weather forecast websites The third approach involves brands partnering up with weather forecast sites like AccuWeather and The Weather Channel for ad listings on their respective sites and their ad networks.
AccuWeather Brands can contact AccuWeather for managed advertisements that can be launched depending on the device used, preference for video offerings, and specific place-based ads located in their partner institutions such as airports and mall networks. Brands can also opt to buy self-service platform ads of different sizes that will be served on the Accuweather channels. Pricing model is CPM starting at $6.50 per 1000 ad impressions.
The Weather Channel With 55 million unique visitors monthly, The Weather Channel provides a wide reach for those whose businesses rely heavily on the weather. TWC’s main platform is WeatherFX®, which uses the user’s location, historical weather data, sales data, and predictive models to deliver targeted ads. Channels include display, video, mobile, social, linear, and connected TV. TWC’s advertising packages include fully managed service with options for deploying branded backgrounds, display and video formats using native TWC website elements, creating custom content integrated into the TWC feed, along with offers for Ad Targeting and Analytics. The pricing model is CPM and package prices are available upon request.
Sample Results Both The Weather Channel and AccuWeather have a stellar list of big brand names running campaigns on their weather platforms. Jeep launched a campaign to promote the 2014 Cherokee to a younger demographic. To reach out to their target audience, The Weather Channel created Native Branded Background and Native Element ad campaigns that blend well with their mobile apps. The sleek, native campaign resulted in a 600% jump from the standard CTR and increased engagement rates.
McDonaldâ€™s sought the help of AccuWeather to promote a new coffee beverage in 2013. The fast food giant launched the event by bringing the winter to the sunny city of Tampa, Florida. AccuWeather delivered custom forecast videos to boost the excitement and create buzz in time for the product launch. The campaign caught the attention of the national press and the launch was successful across thousands of stores in the US.
This approach is best for:
Businesses heavily affected by the weather such as surf and beach resorts, ski resorts, pharmaceutical companies (eg. medicines for seasonal illnesses), and theme parks.
Brands looking to launch weather-specific events such as a gathering during the hottest day in a specific city or a sponsored weekend beach party.
Businesses who want to reach out through other advertising channels (video, connected TV, and weather forecast company’ affiliates)
Summary In the end, your brand’s marketing goals will be the main driver in determining which approach (or a combination of these) you should take. Some might find PPC campaigns working great for them while some businesses might see the need for weather-triggered emails. Consider each one carefully and consult a marketing expert. Here’s the summary of the pros and cons of each:
1. DIY Via Google AdWords a. Benefits: Low cost, easy to start b. Disadvantages: Needs someone from your team to monitor and analyze metrics, timeconsuming, trial and error, requires scripting skills 2. Hiring an agency or using self-service tools a. Benefits: Easy to use tools, work with experts from marketing agencies, option to advertise to other channels such as social media platforms and email, option to choose a fully managed solution, agencies can help you out in analyzing your metrics b. Disadvantages: Can cost higher than DIY using Google AdWords 3. Collaborating with Weather Forecast sites a. Benefits: Option to advertise via video and connected TV networks, site visitors are all weather-conscious b. Disadvantages: Audience is limited to their ad network and the visitors of these sites Go ahead and give weather-based marketing a try. Remember, in order to stay relevant, it is crucial to keep up with the changes; the weather just so happens to be one of those things that are always changing.