Using Real-Time Weather Conditions for Website Personalization

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Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization
Using Real-Time Weather Conditions for Website Personalization

July 20, 2017 by

Have you ever seen an ad or a promotion on a website that references the weather? Of course you have! Whether we like it or not, the weather affects our daily lives in a number of ways. So it is no surprise that marketers, including Evergage customers, often take local weather conditions into account when delivering messages or offers to customers.

Of course, the weather differs based on location. Even within a specific geographic area during a certain season, temperatures and weather conditions can vary widely. In New England, for instance, it’s not uncommon to see a 58 degree Fahrenheit day immediately followed by an 82 degree day during certain times of the year. And even in the middle of the summer when you can expect it to be warm throughout the US, the weather can still be rainy in certain areas and hazy, hot and humid in others. Not to mention, of course, that the northern and southern hemispheres experience opposite seasons!

So when planning weather-related campaigns on your site, considering the geolocation of a visitor is rather important. But you want to take it a step further by tailoring messages to the actual weather a visitor is experiencing in his or her area. This helps to ensure that those messages are actually relevant in-the-moment for each visitor. For example, this year in Charlotte – where I live – we had a random 80 degree day in February. Any marketing message I received across the internet that day about winter weather would not have resonated with me, but a promotion for sandals, sunscreen, grills or flowers probably would have grabbed my attention!

Here are some ideas for how weather-related targeting can work for some industries.

Retail

Retail is an obvious use case, as some messages or promotions retailers deliver on their sites are more relevant to visitors experiencing a specific type of weather, but irrelevant to those that are not.

For example, a clothing retailer can provide a message like “Ready to face the snow in your city? See our winter coat collection!” to visitors experiencing snow. Or visitors to a home improvement site experiencing a storm could see a message like “This storm is a doozy, huh? Be ready for the next one – shop our generators, flashlights and other storm preparedness supplies today!”  

Product promotion can also be more subtle and use machine-learning algorithms to recommend products to a visitor based on his individual preferences and characteristics including his local weather.

Travel

Any location that is experiencing extreme weather conditions is ideal for a travel campaign because you can tap into the desire to get away to better weather. Areas experiencing snow, hurricanes, or abnormally high temperatures can be targeted for campaigns encouraging them to consider traveling to locations with more pleasant weather.

For example, visitors to an airline’s site from Arizona during an extreme heatwave could see a message like, “Looking to beat the heat? Flights to Chile as low as $999!” Or, visitors to a hotel supplier site from Boston during a snowstorm could see a message such as, “Escape the blizzard! Florida is beautiful this time of year.”

It can be beneficial to message visitors about the weather in travel destinations as well. For example, ski resorts in California and Nevada saw 5-10% more visitors this season than the prior year — driven by heavier snowfall. Providing messages to visitors about the snow conditions, or other desirable weather conditions, can also be a great incentive to drive travel bookings.

Insurance

Insurance can also be a good use case for weather-related messaging. Extreme weather of any kind can lead people to think about home or auto insurance. For visitors experiencing blizzards, hurricanes, thunderstorms, etc. insurance sites can promote messages that provide appropriate content or information regarding insurance plans and filing claims – or the best way to contact their local agent.

Media

Media sites can also target appropriate content to visitors based on the weather they are experiencing. Depending on the focus of the site, it can algorithmically promote articles around staying cool in a heat wave, preparing for big storms, ideas for having fun while trapped inside during a storm, and more. It is all about being situationally relevant and promoting content in real time to encourage further engagement with the site’s content.

B2B

Weather-related messaging is, of course, ideal for HVAC-related businesses. For example, a message during a heat wave directing visitors to dealers for air conditioning would be appropriately timed and effective.

Finally, targeting messages to site visitors based on the weather they are experiencing would be a great way for B2B marketers to drive registration for their hosted events. For example, a few weeks before an event in Miami, a marketer could promote the event to visitors experiencing extremely cold weather. The prospect of escaping the weather at home might be the final push some visitors may need to register for the event!

Final Thoughts

If you have a specific message that is relevant only to visitors currently experiencing weather that is clear, cloudy, rainy, stormy, snowy, windy, very hot or very cold, you can segment visitors by weather condition to ensure that the right visitors see that message.

Keep in mind, of course, that weather-related targeting will not always be relevant to every business. But if you fall in one of these industries I have outlined in this blog post, or another industry where weather is a relevant factor in your messaging, there are probably a few different creative ideas you and your team can come up with.

If you want to learn how Evergage can help you with weather-related targeting on your site, request a demo today.

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