Tech viewpoint on weather analytics
A view from David Bird

Tech viewpoint on weather analytics

Highly targeted, completely relevant mobile advertising seems like magic when it's done correctly. But, frankly, more often than not, mobile advertising is intrusive and off-putting for the consumer. It's not the advertisers' fault.

The extent to which smartphones have taken up the status of a lifeline in recent years sneaked up on everyone. When the realisation hit that there was a platform that should most definitely be targeted, it was a scramble to apply creative as fast as possible. And in this scramble, thought to how it should be applied has been lacking. The look and feel and, most importantly, the relevance to the consumer have been not as exacting as they could be.  

What weather provides more readily than any data set on the planet is relevance. It has always influenced the retail economy, and we have long sold forecasts to airlines and energy traders. But now that we can combine big weather data with information gleaned from smartphones, we have been able to create a marketing platform with a USP unlike any other.

It’s all about the analytics. When you drill down into this big weather data, what it can tell us about consumers and their behaviour is priceless. There’s an outstanding variety of nuances involved in weather-related consumer decision-making. Depending on the city you are in or the microclimate in which you live, your relationship with products differs.

When you drill down into this big weather data, what it can tell us about consumers is priceless

WeatherFX, the product we launched with Starcom MediaVest Group last year, packages this data and associated analytics to the advantage of brands and advertisers. By overlaying sales information with weather data and predictive analytical models, we can enable advertisers to deliver dynamic messaging and weather-prompting capabilities on a hyper-local basis.

The background lies in a study into weather-sentiment analysis conducted by our colleagues in the US. It looked at how weather makes people feel and then act in different regions of the country. In a series of polls conducted on, residents of the Northeast region were asked: "Yesterday, what was your mood for most of the day?" When people are very happy on only a moderately nice but unseasonably warm day, it was considered that advertisers could promote garden supplies. When people were found to feel depressed after bad weather, the researchers noted that advertisers should take this mood into account and promote products designed to instigate feelings of comfort.

So, really, advertising effectively on mobile is quite simple now that marketers have the ability to deliver truly relevant advertising to users. Being able to take advantage of the connection between location and the effect of weather conditions really does influence consumer behaviour, because they are getting notification of a product they need at that exact moment in time.

David Bird is the senior analyst at WeatherFX, The Weather Channel UK