If there’s one thing that we absolutely cannot control in our lives, it’s the weather.

Most of the time we don’t even think twice about it, but the weather forms the backdrop to everything and affects everything we do. It impacts how we feel, how we think, what we do and even how we interact with others. We’ve all had days where we wake up bleary eyed to rain hammering on the window, or have found ourselves beaming on a bright and breezy day.

The most powerful thing about the weather is that there’s nothing we can do to change it. However, if we can predict our emotions based on the weather, we can also anticipate consumer behaviour and buying habits.

Misery business

Studies show that we’re much more likely to spend money when the sun is shining, and also more inclined to tip. Similarly, the weather also dictates which products are most likely to entice us and where we’re likely to be – an ice cream ad won’t appeal if we’re cooped up because of the snow.

Weather-triggered marketing is nothing new, and marketers have long recognised and capitalised on these variations in consumer behaviour. For example, Campbell Soup Co. was reported in 2010 to keep a “Misery Index” to monitor weather changes in the US. The algorithm takes into account weather fluctuations and average temperatures in different regions, whilst considering conditions over the past year.

When a particular region reaches 5%, or people become 5% more miserable, ads for soup are ramped up on radio. Not only did the algorithm drive sales, it has also been said to be a flu-tracking system as it reflects who is feeling under the weather and in need of creature comforts.

This technology becomes more advanced, widespread and easier to deploy, and weather-triggered marketing is increasingly a pivotal aspect of marketing campaigns.  

Straight to the point

The ramped up use of weather-based marketing can also be attributed to consumers no longer having time for irrelevant content amid the noisy online advertising landscape. This fatigue is evident through the growing chatter about ad-blocking software and premium ad-free subscription services at the moment. As people are bombarded by marketing messages at every turn, it becomes crucial to make sure messages are interesting, relevant and delivered at the perfect moment, even more so on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For example, consider a car manufacturer that wants to reach potential customers via social media at the perfect moment during the day. In the knowledge that adverse weather conditions supposedly make people more inclined to buy a specific car model/type, the campaign could be an opportunity to tailor ads to ensure consumers don’t see contextually irrelevant content.

Weather-triggered marketing technology means that ads can be activated using real-time weather data, and the creative and copy can be adapted to the different weather conditions such rain, shine or snow to engage the right people at the right moment.

Of course, not every brand is set up to be reactive to environment, but when both weather and advertising are such constant features of our day-to-day lives, relevance and timing are increasingly essential. After all, what’s the point in advertising sandals when it’s pouring with rain? Using the weather to anticipate trends may not be new, but data-driven marketing is being used in increasingly innovative ways and there are many more platforms at our disposal.

Marketers are beginning to get creative with these tools to tailor ads to the right audience and environment, all in the hope of improving campaign performance and results.

This can also be incorporated into email and content marketing to engage consumers at that crucial moment. The fabled ideal of the right message reaching the right audience at the right time is at our disposal with data-driven, triggered campaigns that react to change. So, although we can’t control the weather, we certainly can control the financial implications of the weather for brands.