Shifting Seasons Bring Shifting Strategies: Why Brands Should Cash in on Weather

by Sacha Berlik, Managing Director of Europe

March 14, 2018


While Winter in Westeros can last years on end, on this side of the Narrow Sea, we’re lucky to find ourselves on the brink of warmer winds, sunnier skies, and what we, at The Trade Desk, have coined “slumber shopping”.

In preparation for Spring, here’s a reminder for advertisers everywhere about the power of targeting by temperature, based on The Trade Desk’s proprietary data from 2017.

During the UK’s record-breaking heatwave last year, there was a 19% surge in internet traffic across the board, with London driving the largest increase at approximately 49%, followed by Manchester (44%), Sheffield (32%) and Nottingham (28%).

Our explanation? In a country where heatwaves are few and far between – as are home air conditioners – the soaring temperatures left many Brits wide awake to browse the depths of the internet.

For marketers, shifts in weather open up opportunities for relevant messaging. Here are some takeaways:

1. Think Temperature Targeting – It’s a powerful tool that allows brands to discover new reasons to interact with their core audiences. Last year’s heatwave saw a 36% increase in food and drink-focused advertising, suggesting our insomniacs used some of the extra time online or browsing time to grocery shop, among other things. A cold front could represent a major opportunity to reach consumers with ads for food-delivery services or new binge-worthy shows, as more people hunker down to stay warm. Temperature targeting simply offers marketers a little more context and a lot more opportunity to reach their audience with relevant and impactful messaging.

2. Give Your Budget Some Flexibility As much as we’d all love to have our marketing plans set in stone from the beginning of the year, we simply can’t always plan for the likes of 2017’s UK heatwave or 2018’s US ‘Bomb Cyclone’ cold front. So, be sure to set aside a flexible portion of your ad spend to react to external circumstances. You want to have budget available during happenings like the heatwave to better reach your audience with clever and relevant content.

3. Consider the Channel of Choice – Think about the effects on consumer behavior when we experience an sweltering hot summer day or an especially frigid winter weekend. For the former, you’ll likely see significantly more people out and about, enjoying a little extra vitamin D outdoors, while for the latter, the streets will probably be emptier than usual. If people are likely to be outside, they’re also more likely to be on their cellphones; if they’re indoors, hiding from a winter storm, it’s also possible they’ll spend the weekend binging shows. How can you tailor your ad strategy to ensure you’re reaching your audience precisely where their eyeballs are?

While targeting is critical, it’s also important to be mindful of your audience size. The more targeted you are, the smaller your audience becomes. So, be sure to think big as you begin to incorporate temperature targeting into your greater strategy. Look for ways to maximize your reach as you layer in your data in order to get the most ROI from your strategy.