When you hear the term ad targeting, you probably think of demographics, location, behavior, and interests. These are all important aspects to take into account when shaping your targeting strategy, but the buck doesn’t stop here. The most successful campaigns are like love at first sight: they greet the right person at the right time. Incorporating weather into your social ad targeting can help you identify the “right time” of that equation.
You may think that weather-based ad targeting is not relevant for your company, but you would be surprised how many industries can benefit from the ad targeting strategy. It’s not just sunscreen and ice cream that are affected by seasons and weather. There is a myriad of products and services that can be affected by weather – some more obvious than others.
When done well, you can leverage an area’s weather forecast to reach your audience at the moment they would be most interested in your product.
Making decisions based on weather is one of the most instinctual actions we take as living beings. Think about it – that decision-making factor goes back to the stone age. Weather is so entwined in our core instincts, it makes sense that it is a deciding factor in many of our daily activities.
Weather is the 2nd biggest influence on consumer behavior after the state of the economy. So, when a factor has such an impact on our decision-making, how can we not take it into account for our social ad targeting?
Don’t overlook the psychological connection to the weather. The weather affects what we consider a priority, where we want to go, what we crave, and how we feel. I noticed this the last time my town experienced a rare rainy summer day. Scrolling through social media, many of my peers in the area posted about making a pot of hot soup… in the middle of July. That bit of rainy-day weather changed the course of their plans, and in turn, their spending, even though the rainy day was sandwiched in-between two 87-degree and sunny days.
The impact of weather on consumers can lead to different consumer priorities, increased or decreased spending, and altered cravings. If you understand how your market reacts to your product based on different types of weather, you can leverage this animal instinct to reach your market at the right time with the right message.
Credit: REI creates ads to catch people when they are feeling their most adventerous.
First, before diving into weather trends, it’s important to note that the enthusiasm of a market’s reaction to weather is heavily reliant on location. An 85 degree and sunny day in southern California will not warrant as intense a shift in spending patterns as an 85 degree and sunny day would in Washington State. Take the location into account when planning social targeting around the weather.
Another factor that can impact your targeting decisions is seasonality – purchasing habits naturally change with the seasons, whether that’s based on holiday tradition or climate. Within those seasonal trends, daily weather changes still play into how consumers plan their schedules and purchases.
With those in mind, here are some weather-based trends that can affect the productivity of your ads targeting:
Credit: Snowbird Ski Resort
When it’s sunny outside, people may be more inclined to seize the day. Ads that paint a picture of adventures in nature or enjoying an afternoon outside with friends show a day-well-spent. When the sun is out, the demand for travel opportunities, tourism, and gym memberships increase. No one wants to waste a perfect sunny day, regardless of the season.
For example, a ski resort can use local weather to promote upcoming ‘bluebird days’ – or sunny days perfect for getting on the slopes. Avid skiers can hardly say no to a perfect ski day, so planning your social promotion around the weather can inspire your market to join you outside.
When there is a bit of intense weather like rainstorms, snowstorms, or heatwaves, people are more inclined to commit to preparatory investments. Think home, car, and life insurance, or any other precautionary purchases.
If you sell products that fit this bill, you can leverage this market mindset by creating and scheduling some fear-based marketing campaigns. This may seem like a low-brow practice, but you can shape the message to be the solution to the potential problem. This will bring feelings of gratefulness for the solution instead of fear of the problem itself.
Because people want to stay in their homes instead of venturing outside during the cold, there is an increase in demand for deliverable products like takeout.
So, restaurants that want to boost their delivery-base can prioritize their social budget around the days people are most likely to stay inside. A simple and strategically-timed discount on a stormy day could be everything you need to inspire potential customers to pick up the phone.
Our emotions are acutely in-tune with the weather, so it’s no surprise that many people are negatively affected by dark and overcast days – especially when there are no breaks from the grey. To counteract the dreariness of dark days, many people turn to self-care investments like comfort food, home products, and therapy.
A message of solidarity, empathy, and support can be very productive for people battling with sad, grey days. Paint a picture of how your product can create comfort and warmth and focus on how your product is a great addition to a self-care night.
Social media ads aren’t the only place to enact a weather-based social ad targeting, but it is a great place to start fine-tuning your strategy.
You can’t schedule around the weather your target market is experiencing until you establish where exactly your target market is. If you are a local company and only work with one geolocation, your job is pretty easy.
If you work with a national or global market, this step can get tricky. It may be a good idea to identify the areas most affected by weather, and test campaigns in those areas for success before growing to several areas.
A successful weather-based ad isn’t just about the timing – the message you spread is equally important. That’s where understanding the psychological factors of weather comes in. Does your audience want to be empowered and inspired to try something new? Do they want to be supported and comforted through familiarity?
Your copy, word choice, images, videos, landing pages, and offers should all play into the emotions and purchase habits that accompany weather patterns.
Once you have your geo-location and desired message, you need to decide the timing of your ads.
For current weather, you ask your audience to act on your ads immediately. You may choose to promote a message of urgency through flash sales or limited offers. You likely don’t need a discount to inspire your audience to act, but it may help if you want to quickly boost interest in your offering.
For future weather, your goal may be to put your service or product at the front of your audience’s mind as a great way to prepare for the change in weather.
Credit: Facebook Ads Manager
With no extra tools involved, you can set your ads to turn on and off manually based on the weather. This is fairly simple in platforms like Facebook ads manager, which offers a schedule in which you turn on and off your ads by the day, or even the hour.
If you’re working with several areas with different weather, manually setting each ad and altering based on any last-minute changes can quickly become time-consuming. There are tools you can use to automate some of the weather monitoring and ad scheduling process like WeatherAds.
Don’t ignore the potential benefits of weather-based ad targeting. Sunny days and snowy days don’t lead to the same purchasing habits, so leverage all aspects of ads targeting to best reach and engage your audience. If you want to work on your social ad targeting strategy, reach out to our team!