It has long been agreed that weather and temperature affect our buying habits. It affects what we buy, when we buy it, and how much we are willing to pay. It is also widely known that the weather affects our mood and the way we are all feeling.
There a few obvious examples of how weather affects the way we feel and buy. This could be as simple as buying an umbrella on a rainy day to convincing yourself in buying a convertible car while enjoying the good weather one afternoon. So of course paying attention to weather while tweaking our campaigns can prove useful. So be it seasonal, weekly or even daily, demand alters. In order to create effective real-time digital marketing strategies it is vital that fluctuations in the control of the flow of traffic will be made due to the time of year, the temperature and the weather conditions of a geo. Below we explore what the prime weather conditions for online traffic directing are, the most effective ways of exploiting the weather and the traits this seems to have with online use.
Rainfall, not Downfall
Using the weather as a topic of conversation in order to break the ice has been something people have been doing for centuries. Our job as online marketers is to take it further and know when best to use the weather to our advantage. Much work has been done to suggest that rain, and inclement weather in general, encourages online use, be that simply the user having a presence with social media and such alike, but also―more importantly―spending. If a user was stuck indoors, or had plans canceled due to ill weather conditions, then they are much more likely to be driven to their device and go online, so we need to make sure we are making the most of this.
So, of course, user integration is key when building up those all important free to pay conversion rates. A recent study, in which 1500 pages were looked at, where users’ average daily interactions were studied against the weather they were experiencing on that particular day over the course of a year which gave insightful results:
Interactions were increased every time there was bad weather, no matter which season. On average 42% of interactions were given more often when inclement weather conditions were in effect. The biggest increase in interactiveness was detected when it was raining during summer month weekends at 90 %.
The difference between the interactiveness in good weather weekends in the summer compared to the interactiveness on a rainy, summer weekend showed a large increase in traffic during the unanticipated bad weather times. We can surmise that with rain being more out of the ordinary for this time of the year, it seems to have quite the effect on online interactiveness, especially with time at the weekend being freed up. Somewhat unexpected bad weather in normally sunny times of the year had much better results in terms of online traffic when compared to the good weather weekends, and the same can be seen with somewhat unexpected bad weather in normally sunny locations.
The Weathers influence on Geo-Locations
Rakuten, a Japanese based international E-commerce company, have done a review on their sales in France and noticed a sizeable increase on their online sales and revenue during inclement weather conditions although with differing affect in different geos. This allows them and also us to see when user’s are most likely to be online, and therefore respond better to traffic pushes with say PPC incentives. The test was split up between three of France’s biggest cities; Paris, Marseille and Lyon:
As shown both Lyon and Marseille had a sizable increases with the rainy days, whereas Paris although increased seemed not to be affected as much.
So what can be drawn from these sales and revenue increases? The fact that bad weather does in fact improve online traffic spending online. The difference Paris has next to the other cites is notable, there are a few factors that have to be taken into consideration, when summarising the data.
Parisians are the most accustomed to shopping offline in bad weather. The climate of Lyon and Marseille is a lot warmer than that of Paris, so the bad weather is going to have a lesser impact on the Parisians’ online buying habits as a wetter climate is something they deal with a lot more often. We can therefore also surmise that the impact weather has on online traffic is geo-specific, i.e the normal weather patterns of a location against their people's attitudes and values will have differing effects on online usage in different locations. It seems that the rain and the bad weather is not the reason for the growth in traffic alone, but the break in habitual weather is the real key factor.
The evidence given by these writers suggests that bad weather does in fact draw people online. Users are not only brought online but their interactions with other users, and the website itself, is heightened. Unexpected or subnormal bad weather conditions also have a very positive effect on people being drawn online to spend money compared to sunnier days, in some cases nearly double. Examples of subnormal weather conditions have been shown with having bad weather in normally hot time periods and also bad weather in normally hotter climate locations.
Something to be said with all online traffic increasing campaigns is to be flexible with the money you are spending and how you are spending it. If you are flexible with your campaigns and you are ready to alter your bidding strategy at a moment's notice, depending on the most favourable weather conditions, then you are in a position to maximise your website’s brand exposure and keep those all important upgrade conversions rates high. Of course you will lose traffic indefinitely if you are just waiting for a rainy day until you push traffic. In order to be better and more responsive when it comes to promoting your brands, keep the weather in mind when tweaking your future campaigns.
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