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Tricks to Increase Revenue by Targeting Weather That’s Always Changing

When it rains, it pours… but long enough to meet your delivery goals?

To run a successful digital advertising campaign, you need to balance two factors:

  1. Delivering inventory with ease
  2. Targeting with precision

Make the target too specific — 18–24 year-old females in the Northeast who purchase 1.78 bags of store-brand kitty litter a month — and you under-deliver. Open up the target too much — all pet owners — and your message is washed out in a bonfire of spontaneously combusting inventory. The challenge is even greater in the world of weather targeting.

Weather targeting challenges

When you choose a weather trigger, so many atmospheric factors weigh in— temperature, precipitation, precipitation type, cloud cover, and wind speed are all fair game for targeting. Drill a little deeper and it becomes more complicated — do I target areas of heavy rain or light rain for my rain tires? Both? What is the best temperature for advertising fleece pullovers? At what wind speed do power systems become compromised so folks can explore purchasing a generator? These are tricky questions, even for seasoned digital weather veterans.

Recently, we had a prospect reach out over email, saying that they wanted to target their footwear product wherever “it was snowing”. Surely, this fluffy, beautiful, worthy trigger would send boots flying off the shelf — after all, the brand was strongly linked to snowy weather, what could go wrong? Well, consider this:

  • Even in the snowiest cities in the U.S. — Denver, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston — 90% of wintertime hours do not have snow falling from the sky. It is essential to know your climate.
  • The typical snowstorm only lasts around 12–18 hours, some less than that. It is the rare blockbuster snowstorm that exceeds 24 hours. The mountains and lake effect areas are a different story, but we are talking about big cities (no offense, Buffalo).
  • People are generally not out and about during snowstorms shopping for apparel.

So how do we overcome statistical and behavioral challenges?

Add a forecast trigger

One way is to add a forecast trigger — open up the targeting by serving ads in areas where it is forecast to snow at least 4”. Do this, and you lengthen the life span of the ad while allowing the end user to prepare for the approaching storm.

Utilize a past weather trigger

Another way is to utilize a past weather trigger. Get the message out to areas where people are traipsing across freshly fallen snow without the benefit of enhanced traction.

From an inventory perspective, the benefits of these added forecast triggers can be tremendous. If you add 2 days of forecast snowy weather and 1day of past snowy weather to your current weather triggering strategy, you are turning a 12 hour event into a one that lasts for 3.5 days. And, when you consider that around 2 significant snowstorms fall per month in northern U.S. climates, that translates into a full week per month to get the message out to those in the boot-path of the storm.

About the Author
Daniel Alexander
About the Author

Daniel Alexander, Co-Founder / Chief Meteorologist & Data Scientist

Dan co-founded WeatherAlpha to help people and businesses understand the impact of weather on their customers while creating solutions to proactively manage its effects. Dan has had an eye to the sky for as lon...  more

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