Retargeter Blog

How Can the Weather Affect Your PPC or Display Campaign?

When considering your next PPC or display campaign, chances are that you’ve considered most possible scenarios. You’ve considered the target demographic of the audience you’re trying to reach. You know their ages, their online activities, what they spend their time doing and where you’re most likely to reach them. You have spent countless hours researching keyword tools and narrowing down your list of keywords that are likely to increase your site visits. But, what if there was another factor that could play into your keyword campaign in larger ways then you’ve ever imagined.

You might be wondering what could possibly be as important as knowing your target market and the keywords and SEO strategy that you’re planning to employ. Could it be your daily budget? Maybe, but chances are it’s something more, something you have no control over: the weather.

You’ve probably never considered the weather when planning an advertising campaign, in fact, as something completely out of your control, the very idea that it could affect your advertising efforts may seem ludicrous. But, the research is in: the weather matters more than any advertiser could have previously imagined.

Reaching Those Affected By Weather

Recently, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors tested the idea that weather could affect online activities and therefore advertising efforts as well. The results were surprising and could play a large role in the shaping of your future advertising campaigns.

The study revealed that good weather – sunny with moderate to warm temperatures – had positive effects on sales for restaurants, durable goods, automotive and apparel industries. Temperatures also play a role in some unexpected ways, as Weather Trends International points out – one degree hotter, and soft drink sales increase; one degree colder, and mouse trap sales increase. Snow negatively affects these industries with a sales decrease of 10% to 15%. Industries like wholesale foods and gasoline sales were not affected by the weather due to their necessary commodity status.

While the study failed to mention the link between online advertising and the weather, the conclusion is simple to come by: people search for items they don’t by on a regular basis – restaurant specials, clothing items, business services that they have not used in the past and more. They’re less likely to search for habitual purchases like groceries and gasoline, which aren’t as likely to advertise through PPC marketing in the first place.

Weather Trends International also concludes that you can reach more TV viewers – and arguably, any kind of viewer, of commercials, PPC ads, or retargeted display ads – when there is bad weather and people are more likely to be cooped up inside, watching TV or using their computer. Always a silver lining!

The bottom line? Many offline sales result from online searches, which target the exact market you’re trying to reach. This means your target demographic is most likely to search for your business under specific weather conditions, so your campaign could be impacted in big ways by what Mother Nature throws your way.

The Importance of Past Campaigns

If you’re still unsure of the validity of the idea that weather can affect your advertising campaign, use the past as your guide. Pull out the metrics for the past three months of your advertising efforts. Take note of any spikes or sudden decreases in site visitors. Then, exclude any external factors – press releases, announcements and any other outside of online advertising efforts.

From there, pull up your city’s weather history for the same time period. At this point it’s simple. Compare and contrast the charts to see if your campaign had any noted success during specific weather conditions. If you find a correlation, it’s likely that your business’ advertising is affected in one way or another by the weather.

Weather Related Products

In some industries, it’s clear that the weather could play a large role in your sales; studies have also proven this fact. While it may seem blatantly obvious, it never hurts to mention that certain products are tied directly to weather conditions:

  • Umbrellas are purchased at an exponentially higher rate during extended periods of rain;
  • Swimsuit, sun care product, and air conditioning sales hike as warm weather arrives;
  • Pool toys and picnic items are equally tied to hot, clear weather;
  • Kite sales are affected by wind speeds, and so on.

It never hurts to consider specific product lines and how advertising them specifically during certain weather conditions could set your business apart from the competition while increasing your ROI on your PPC or display advertising.

Tools to Utilize

Great, so advertising rates are affected by weather. So, what do you do with that information? It’s easy: use it to your advantage.

Designed for PPC programs like Google AdWords, WeatherFIT is a cloud-based application designed to show AdWords advertisements to specific locations and demographics during pre-specified, localized weather conditions. The tool allows managers to define specific weather conditions – temperatures, precipitation rates and types, wind speeds, pressure zones and more – to created refined advertising campaigns. Ads are only shown if current weather conditions fall into certain zones. Another tool, Weather sensitivity analysis by the Met Office, allows managers to look back at past campaign success to see the impact weather has had on your PPC advertising conversions.

You can use local weather to impact your retargeting campaigns, too. Many advertising providers offer powerful targeting tools that give you access to details like the weather to keep your ads relevant and timely.

If you’re looking for a new way to target your PPC or display advertising campaigns, think outside of the traditional advertising box. By taking a look at the way the weather affects your product line and services you could find an advertising edge that many businesses have yet to consider.

Adrienne Erin is a blogger and internet marketer who helps all kinds of businesses succeed, from local businesses to an Amish outlet store. She spends most of her time writing, but when she’s not you might find her brushing up on her French or painting.

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1 Comment

  • Hi Adrienne, I love this article! I work for Fast Web Media, the company that developed weatherFIT so was really happy to see it mentioned on here! We definitely believe in the power of the weather and it’s astonishing just how many industries are affected by climatic conditions. WeatherFIt definitely goes a long way to helping businesses make the most of the weather, but like you rightly said, you need to start by analysing data in detail before you can begin.