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Home Depot, Weather Channel expand partnership to mobile

The Weather Channel Interactive, in partnership with home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc., launched an updated Weather.com section dedicated to do-it-yourself home improvement projects.

The improved "Project of the Week" site at http://www.weather.com/homedepot allows for easier access to a wide variety of step-by-step project guides. Consumers can send their project shopping list to a mobile device for easy access.

During tough economic times, the site provides users with home improvement details that can save the expense of bringing in a contractor.

A genuine cross-platform effort, the expanded features will allow viewers to watch "Project of the Week" reports on The Weather Channel network Saturday from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET.

Viewers can then visit the expanded Web site for more details and resources.

The enhanced site also includes banner ads, the Home Depot store locator and direct links to the online store and weekly ads at http://www.homedepot.com.

One mobile component to the Home Depot Project of the Week online site is the ability to send a shopping list to the mobile device for the first time.

There are mobile media placements -- click-to-WAP banners -- that drive to the mobile version of the "Project of the Week" site at http://potw.mtiny.mobi/featured.ftl.

This mini-site features all of the projects, including the project details and shopping lists.

The weekly ads available from the Project of the Week online site are links to the Home Depot circular for the week.

With help on everything from painting indoors and roof repair, to winterizing the home and increasing energy efficiency, the "Project of the Week" site guides do-it-yourself consumers to maximum accomplishments using minimal expense.

The page offers a guide to help users go from start to finish on a wide range of projects.

For each featured project, the upgraded site includes a downloadable project guide, instructional video and the mobile shopping list.

Other enhanced features include the Seasonal Spotlight section, which has information and video on recommended timelines for starting specific projects, depending on the time of year.

A full page is dedicated to more than 40 projects, including additional information and helpful details. Projects are divided into indoor and outdoor project categories.

There is a "most popular projects" list, as well as a comparable list of similar projects related to a particular area of interest.

The home improvement site also has a social networking capability that lets consumers send a project to a friend or bookmark it on their favorite social networking site.

In addition to increased project details and functionality, the home improvement site also now includes local weather information provided by Weather.com to help decide whether to start that landscape lighting project or any other.

Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,278 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China.

In fiscal 2007, Home Depot had sales of $77.3 billion and earnings from continuing operations of $4.2 billion.

TWCi provides segmentation data on mobile
Meanwhile, whether targeting city dwellers or rural folks, hip young singles or proud parents, The Weather Channel Interactive claims that it is now able to help advertisers reach these types of specific audiences more effectively with the introduction of segmentation data via the mobile Web.

The new product, TWCi's Segmentation Targeting featuring Nielsen Claritas' PRIZM segmentation data, is now available on device-specific mobile weather applications and at The Weather Channel Mobile http://www.weather.com/mobile site, adding to the enhanced ZIP code-targeting capabilities TWCi already provides its advertisers on the Weather.com site online.

"When advertisers think of The Weather Channel, we want them to think of audience engagement, reach and targeting," said Louis Gump, vice president of mobile for TWCi, Atlanta.

"We know people care about weather, many people check it every day, and we know we have a highly engaged audience on all our platforms, including mobile," he said.

TWCi has been in the marketplace of mobile Web sites for 10 years, since 1999, which is a pretty long time relative to the rest of the market.

"We are the largest mobile content provider in the U.S., and one of the largest in the world," Mr. Gump claims. "Now we reach more than 10 million consumers a month, according to Nielsen, which is a lot of market traction as far as pure reach.

"We offer geo-targeting, so Goodyear, for example, can run a warm weather tire campaign in Miami and a snow tire campaign in Boston at the same time," he said. "Adding Nielsen Claritas' PRIZM segmentation data is a logical extension of what we've been doing."

Nielsen Claritas, Nielsen's key marketing information source, has been a leader in segmentation and consumer insights since it launched the first PRIZM system nearly 35 years ago.

PRIZM combines data from the U.S. Census with proprietary methodology that classifies the U.S. population into 66 demographic segments based on demographic, psychographic and socio-economic data attributes critical to advertisers' marketing strategies.

Available on the Weather.com site since October, the Segmentation Targeting product leverages Nielsen Claritas PRIZM data for more highly-targeted campaigns. It allows advertisers to customize their message and creative units to reach a targeted audience.

Since mobile visitors to the Weather Channel naturally enter their ZIP codes while checking their local weather, the site can offer Segmentation Targeting with a high degree of accuracy.

"We know advertisers are looking to make the most of their marketing dollars, and this increases the probability that they're reaching the segments that are interested in their products," Mr. Gump said. "We want to make sure advertisers have a great experience when they place a buy on mobile, which is very much a growth platform.

"This is the first time Nielsen Claritas' PRIZM segmentation data has been deployed on a mobile Web site, which is a big advance," Mr. Gump said. "We already have it online, so now advertisers can buy cross-platform -- online and mobile at same time -- to expand reach."

Segmentation Targeting will also soon be available through advertising on The Weather Channel Desktop, creating a multi-platform opportunity for advertisers.

Nielsen Claritas data join existing TWCi ad products that include weather-triggered creative, geo-targeting and interactive-map-based ads.

The Weather Channel Interactive, or TWCi, is a provider of broadband and wireless weather products including http://www.weather.com, The Weather Channel Desktop and The Weather Channel Mobile.

Weather.com, the Web site of The Weather Channel, helps consumers by delivering current conditions, expert forecasts and relevant lifestyle content for 98,000 location IDs worldwide.

TWCi reaches more than 38 million unique users online each month and is the most popular source of online weather, news and information, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Also, TWCi provides consumers with products such as Desktop Weather, toolbars, extensions, widgets, gadgets and a full lineup of mobile services including downloads, messaging, mobile Web and mobile video.

Other TWCi sites include http://www.forGetaway.com, a vacation home rental site, Forecast Earth http://climate.weather.com, a site dedicated to the discussion of climate change, and a series of international sites, including http://www.weather.co.uk, http://www.meteo123.com, http://www.wetter123.com, http://www.canaldotempo.com and http://www.weather.com/espanol.

"The core piece here is that consumers already enter their ZIP code or city name to get their weather information, and advertising relies on location to be most valuable, so it's a natural fit for our site," Mr. Gump said. "We partnered with Nielsen to make sure this is really valuable to our advertisers.

"The tendency of marketplace is to think that all inventory is created equal, which is the wrong way to approach this market," he said. "The real opportunity is to provide value for advertisers and to link their campaigns with audiences that are most likely to engage with that advertiser's product.

"Don't think of mobile alone, because it's a valuable and effective channel that's been proven to work, so now let's make sure it's seen as integral part of every buy."