Using Weather Data To Improve Advertising

Madison Avenue is recovering from hurricane Sandy and the last thing on its mind is to improve the art of advertising using weather data. So, I thought it’s a good time to pitch in with ideas.

Weather has an inordinate impact on sales of consumer products. The impact is not always intuitive. For example, contrary to intuition, bad weather is actually good for outdoor and sporting goods retailers. On the other hand, an unusually cold spell in fall could lead to loss of sales for lightweight jackets for a fashion retailer. As consumers most of us rely upon hourly and weekly weather forecasts to plan the day and the week ahead. However, it is surprisingly uncommon for advertisers to do the same even while they are spending millions of dollars.

Weather data and forecasts are easily available, leveraging this data, it is possible to rapidly reallocate advertising dollars among categories or geographies to achieve better ROI for the advertising.  Some simple examples to drive the point home, assuming that you have integrated the hourly forecasts for the next few hours:

  • Ad (re) Targeting: If you have some intelligence on what products are most likely to be bought in what weather, you can improve ad targeting at a local level significantly.
  • Sales Targets and Bidding for Ads: If you are suffering from a snowstorm and staying at home, it is quite likely that your are going to do more online shopping than on a normal day. Wouldn’t it be nice if you bid more aggressively for spots on that day for that customer (who are probably going to close the transaction)?

Some of our clients who have automated the utilization of this data to improve the ROI and the results are impressive.

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