Weather Co. exec: Leverage seasonal data to deliver relevant ads
October 30, 2013
The Chevrolet ad in the Weather Channel app
LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ –A Weather Co. executive at the Mobile Shopping Fall Summit said that retailers should take advantage of local weather data to provide timely, location-specific ads.
During the “Lessons learned in location based marketing at The Weather Company” session, the executive explained how weather and seasonal data can affect consumer purchasing. He said that retailers can push specific ads to consumers based on local weather and its effects on the industry.
“In Atlanta, it takes two days of hot weather for people to start buying air conditioners,” said Vikram Somaya, general manager of WeatherFx at The Weather Co., Atlanta, GA. “In Chicago it happens after about one day of average summer weather.
“We then started getting more specific,” he said. “As we had the data from retailers, we could tell at the skew level in January when people would be interested in buying blueberries.
“We then realized we needed to build something on top of that. We brought in a whole host of folks who worked across platforms, and we built a platform in real-time for online ad buying.”
All about weather
While retailers were struggling to accrue specific data about their audiences, The Weather Co. was realizing that one of the biggest variables for shopping habits is none other than the weather.
The company also realized that weather is extremely local. Consumers only care about the weather of where they live or of a location that they are traveling to.
The Weather Co. realized that it could leverage data on weather and consumer purchasing habits to help marketers advertise on local and relevant basis.
The other characteristic about weather is that it is not personal or private. Consumers do not worry about security and privacy issues when it comes to weather, according to Mr. Somaya.
That meant that The Weather Co. could easily obtain data. Then it could easily translate the data into meaningful applications for marketers by combining weather data with the merchants’ own data.
Retailers may think that they are addressing weather variables when they advertise a new line for spring-time clothing, but in reality, the timing of spring-time clothing highly depends on where a consumer is located.
One example of a successful use case of The Weather Co.'s model was with Proctor and Gamble’s Pantene. Depending on the city and its weather, The Weather Co.'s application displayed a different ad that recommended a different kind of shampoo depending on the weather. Pantene immediately saw spikes in sales from these pushes and signed on to advertise for 2014.
Mr. Somaya also pointed out that while the advertising is based on weather variables, the creative does not need to explicitly relate to the weather. The weather factor can be implicit as opposed to blatant.
While mobile advertising can obviously more easily integrate real-time weather information, The Weather Company has also been able to integrate the data to create time-specific ads across channels such as TV, in-store displays and online.
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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