Weather-based ads work.
In a 2023 study on enhanced ads, LG Ad solutions found that:
- 72% of people like ads that take the weather into consideration
- 1 in 2 consumers are more likely to engage with these ads
- 94% are more likely to buy these brands when they’re ready to make a purchase
Here’s the thing: weather-based localization isn’t a novel concept. Weather-based ads have had a place in advertising for years now.But in a privacy-first world that still values personalization, weather-triggered ads are making a comeback. And eCommerce brands can use a robust weather-triggered ad strategy to increase engagement and purchases.
What are weather-based ads? (+ how they work)
Weather-based ads are served to consumers based on either past, present, or forecasted weather conditions.
Typically, you’ll need a third-party data source for weather intelligence that you can integrate with your product feed on a native ad platform or a creative management platform.
Weather doesn’t only refer to an increase or drop in temperature. Here’s a list of some triggers you can use to run weather-based campaigns:
- Clear skies
- Cloud cover
- Wind speed
- UV Index
Once you decide which conditions will activate your ad, you can launch your campaign on Paid Social or digital billboards.
Under the influence of weather: Why weather-based ads work
Weather-based ads are an easy way to offer personalized interactions to consumers without infringing upon their privacy. But that’s not the only reason they work.
Weather drives emotions
Ever noticed how some people get extra gloomy during winter or when it's pouring outside? It turns out that around 5% of adults in the U.S. experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
eCommerce brands can take some cues from Krispy Kreme. In what has been described as the world’s first ‘SADvert,’ the company installed a light-emitting billboard in January of this year in Salford, England, that reportedly receives less than 2 hours of sunlight.
The light is said to alleviate symptoms of SAD since direct sunlight has a positive impact on the mood.
Instead of a billboard, eCommerce brands that sell supplements, mood journals, calming tea blends, or light therapy lamps could consider serving ads with a lucrative offer.
Since emotions drive purchase, not only would there be an increased likelihood of purchase, but consumers would also be more inclined to share their experience with friends and family who might also benefit from it.
Weather influences consumer needs
An online clothing retailer can show ads for warm coats in the winter and flowy dresses in the summer. But the trigger conditions can be far more granular.
For instance, a skincare brand can advertise its new sunscreen when the sun is at its peak or when there’s a sharp increase in temperature since that’s when most people reach for their sun protective gear and creams. If the air is particularly dry, the brand can opt to serve ads for its hydrating moisturizer.
By matching specific needs to a relevant product, eCommerce brands cement themselves in consumers' minds. Even if people don’t immediately make a purchase, they’re far more likely to look up that brand when they are ready to buy.
The problem with running weather-based campaigns on Meta and Snap (+ how to solve it)
Let’s say you’re running performance marketing campaigns for an apparel company that wants to acquire more customers in San Francisco and Chicago. San Francisco might be sunny – so to engage with locals, you would show them ads for shorts and T-shirts.
At the same time, it’s raining in Chicago. It doesn’t make sense to show consumers the same summer products Instead, ads for raincoats, jackets, or waterproof shoes make more sense.
You can use a weather-targeting service and connect it to Meta. And you’ll have to create ads for both summer and winter. Set them as inactive so they don’t automatically start running. When the weather conditions you set are met, your ads will be triggered on Meta and start running. For Snap, you can use the Weather API to set up weather-targeted ads.
Switching between platforms to set up and manage ads is quite cumbersome and requires additional resources (a developer if you want to use Snap’s API). But that’s not the only problem.
For an eCommerce company that wants to expand its audience to other states or run a nationwide campaign, you need hundreds, if not thousands of creatives to cater to all the different weather conditions and beat ad fatigue.
How eCommerce brands can create 1000+ weather-based ads
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creative production and management.
But some methods are significantly more challenging to execute at scale. We’ll explore two options with major drawbacks and introduce one solution (you might’ve heard about this one before!) that will help you set your creative production & management on auto-pilot.
[Difficulty Mode: Hard] Change your campaigns all the time
One way to do this is to re-render the ads every hour. Mind you, there are some problems with this approach:
- It takes too much time (you need to manually create hundreds of different creatives)
- This results in getting stuck in Facebook’s review, so your ads will be everything but personalized (by the time Facebook reviews every ad, the weather will change).
So, this is definitely a no-go.
[Difficulty Mode: Moderate] Prepare your ads in advance
The second way is to have all ads prepared and paused inside your Facebook Business Manager. Although this is a doable strategy, there are problems with this approach too:
- Again, it takes too much time and resources to manually create multiple ads for various locations based on different weather conditions (it sounds complicated, right? Imagine how hard it would be to make all those creatives)
- You will need to manually go through the Meta business manager and start/pause different ads. You will need a full-time employee to just to go through this process the entire day through and change the ads based on the current weather for multiple locations.
Although this approach might be good if you are targeting only one or two locations and have a total of six to ten ads, it definitely isn’t scalable for bigger eCommerce brands.
Let’s say that you categorize your products into three different categories – suitable for cold, sunny and rainy weather.
If you advertise only one product per weather category (let’s say one jacket, one t-shirt and one raincoat), and you have 15 locations, how many ads is that? The answer is 45 different ads.
Now imagine how hard it would be to go through 45 different ads all the time and start or pause each one. But, what if you want to sell more products? If you have different types of jackets or raincoats?
The total number of ads is over 100, maybe even 500 – for just three types of products. This method isn’t viable either.
[Difficulty Mode: Easy] Use the Dynamic Creative approach 🤘
This approach is similar to the previous one (to some extent). What you need to do is to contextualize the products within weather-based ads (like we did in the example above – divide different types of products into different weather-based categories).
Just prepare a simple spreadsheet and list all of your products - this is your product feed. Connect it to ad tech creative and media platform like Hunch and integrate a third-party source or API for weather data. And don’t worry we’ve got in-house experts to help you set up those campaigns too.
Now you can create thousands of automated ads, for hundreds of products and hundreds of different locations, all in a fraction of time and without spending thousands of dollars on design resources.
Plus, dynamic creative automatically run your campaigns based on the different weather types of multiple locations.
You won’t need to spend a minute of your precious time reviewing the Meta business manager, checking the weather for multiple locations, and starting or pausing different ads.
3 weather-based ad playbooks
Based on our collective experience of what works when it comes to weather-based advertising, here are 3 playbooks you can emulate for your next campaign:
#1 Use bad weather to get people to book vacations
No one prays for bad weather. But you just might since it holds the key to unlocking more bookings for the online travel and hospitality industry.
Want more people to book your vacation rental property, sell seats on a certain flight path, or have more guests in your hotel? Target people based on the weather of their current location.
If it’s snowing or raining non-stop in the targeted countries, display attractive summer ads with the location’s current temperature and hotels on beaches by the sea with a catchy CTA.
To do this, you’ll use data from Weather API centralized in some of the towns in the targeted countries, so when your set conditions are met (e.g., temperature below 25C, it’s rainy or windy), relevant summer offers will be served to potential customers.
#2 Sell seasonal items with weather targeting
Instead of throwing every single item in your catalog at your audience, use the weather to sell seasonal items.
If it’s nice and sunny in the targeted location, it’s a great opportunity to sell sunscreen or beachwear. Conversely, if it’s snowing, you could try selling jackets.
You can couple the ad with a discount too. In fact, if you want to get rid of deadstock, you could sell winter clothes in the summer for bigger discounts.
#3 Offer bigger discounts with rising temperatures
Minimal changes in the temperature can have a huge impact on sales. For instance, as the temperature rises, people might crave something like a cold soda. And offering discounts that change with the temperature makes that an easy sell.
Lipton Ice Tea had done just that with a thermo-activated campaign on Facebook. The video ad was triggered when the temperature was warm and reached over 6.9 million people, and had a 12.8% video view rate.
Here’s how you can increase product purchases by adapting the discount to the temperature outside:
Say your ad is activated when the outside temperature reaches 15C. And for every degree above the threshold, you display a discount percentage. So, if the temperature outside is 20C, you show a product on sale with a 20% discount, and if when it hits 35C, you offer a 35% discount.
Data from Weather API is checked hourly, and the visuals are then adapted to weather conditions, and the relevant discount is shown.
BONUS: Use time-based campaigns. You’ll increase shopping relevance at a relevant time by using rules to define the timespan a certain ad will be running. For instance, a makeup company can advertise its work-friendly makeup kit in the AM and show glam products for a night out in the PM.
How our client personalized 820 ads with weather-based campaigns
Our client used personalized dynamic content in real-time that was based on the time of the day, weather, and different locations.
There are two types of data that we used to do this:
- 1st party data from the brand – such as products, product images, discounts, pricing, user behavior data, website tracking data, and more.
- 3rd party data from Facebook, Google and Hunch – such as the locations, time of the day and weather in different locations.
The first-party data was used to segment products by weather conditions and popularity. Later, we merged this product data with the local weather data for every day and every hour.
This is what we call Segment Asset Customization, enabling us to deliver personalized and relevant offers at every moment and send customers to the online store.
To maximize sales, visitors who engaged with the offers but didn’t buy the products were targeted with personalized recommendations for running, hiking, summer sports, or casual wear, depending on their interests.
Our final output was 1000+ creatives across all Facebook and Instagram formats, with 70 highly personalized creatives active each hour.
This campaign ran for two weeks, and there were 20.160 updates within the campaign (the weather in the ads was updated every hour of every day).
Just imagine doing this manually. Impossible, right?
In the end, our client got the following results:
- 15 individual locations successfully targeted
- 6 weather types with day/night conditions
- 820 personalized ads created
- 20.160 automated campaign updates
This campaign exemplifies a true, data-driven dynamic social that brings real results.
Cloudy with a chance of positive ROAS (+ Video Recap)
With a data-driven approach and a creative management platform like Hunch, you no longer have to hack weather-based marketing.
You can actually understand the impact of weather on your consumer intent, allowing you to go beyond running seasonal campaigns.
BTW, here’s a video that explains everything you need to know about weather-based ads in under 7 minutes:
With Hunch, you can enable weather-based ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Snap without breaking a sweat. Not only can you automate your entire creative production but those ads can be dynamically adapted to the weather conditions using third-party weather data.
Ready to use the weather as your secret weapon? Book a free strategy call with us - we have a “hunch” we can help you!