The Seasons & Their Searches
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." ― Albert Camus.
It's easy to agree with Albert now that we have started to get some nice weather. The pleasant change has reminded me to remind you to think about the effect of weather on our behaviour and more specifically, our customers' online behaviour. In winter, I love to curl up with a good book, in spring I'm planting veggies, and in summer I am at the beach (more). During my time at ALDI it was common practice to ensure the Store Managers had stocked up on lettuce and sausages should there be any opportunity for a BBQ on the weekend! The point is, changes in temperature have severe implications for consumer behaviour, including digital.
Since the weather and the seasons have significant effects on our mood and the choices we make our marketing strategies need to adjust accordingly. The benefit of Pay-Per-Click campaigns is that there is no shortage of data to drive our decision making. Let's take, for example, a shed and roofing company whom I provide Google Ads Management for; the messages in the online form submissions switch from gutter and drainage in winter to new builds and storage in spring and shade and airflow solutions in summer. Seems obvious but you'd be surprised at how many people I see that do not react and capitalise on this. At the very least, this means budget prioritisation to relevant keyword searches; this means an adjustment in the Ad Copy.
"Whether the weather be fine, or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, We'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not." - Anon.
It's not just WHAT it's also HOW
Not only do the products people buy change, but HOW they are purchased does as well. In winter, and on colder days throughout the year, people are more likely to jump online and use platforms like Google Shopping and let the product come to them. When it's raining or blisteringly hot, we also see a change in willingness to cover distances. The value proposition swings to favour convenience. We are more likely to choose a nearby service if it means avoiding getting soaked or sunburnt. Having a well managed Google My Business Profile and some thoughtful geotargeting will make sure you get the online and foot traffic you should be.
So Who Does It Well?
McDonald's has weather-based advertising (WBA) down pat; they will show ads for hot coffees in places with lower temperatures and McFlurrys in areas with higher temperatures. Weather forecasts are updated consistently throughout the day so that you can target specific customers based on their location and the weather condition of that location. Creating custom banners to match particular weather patterns like a rainy or stormy day is another form of WBA. Not many of us are going to have the budget like the Golden Arches has for in-day reactions but following general seasonal trends is a must-do for even the smallest business.
Is it Effective?
WBA advertising can be incredibly useful. Swimwear and Lingerie retailer Bravissimo found their sales were higher when the sun was out and shining, regardless of the season and temperature. Using this information, they launched a PPC Campaign using a live weather feed to display ads in areas where the sun was shining. After three months, PPC-driven revenue rose 600%, and the conversion rate rose to 103%. Another example is an increase in Teeth Whitening searches during the summer months. The reason is simple; in fair weather, we are more likely to be socially motivated. It seems having a brilliant smile is a great first impression when looking for love.
In short, when advertisers alter and update their marketing campaigns alongside or pre-emptive of weather changes, they reap the rewards. So next time you reach for a sun hat or an umbrella - ask yourself, will your customers be doing the same?