The weather can be a large contributing factor to sales (or drops in sales) for some businesses, so there are solutions available that allow advertisers to target an audience based on their local weather.

There are a few options out there that allow advertisers to increase or decrease their bids in locations that are experiencing a specified weather condition. When performing a quick Google search I found the following:

www.adwordsrobot.com – costs $549 per month
www.ad-pure.com – couldn’t find costs on the site
www.weatherunlocked.com – From $35 to $450+ per month

We received an email from one of them about having a trial so signed up to see how it all works, and I thought I’d blog about the experience. Here’s my take on www.weatherads.io, the good and the bad…

What is it?

Weather Unlocked, which is probably the same for the other platforms, links to your AdWords account and uses past, present or future weather to trigger bid modifiers.

Once you have set up an account you link it to AdWords, providing the CID of the account you’d like to use it on, and then choose the campaigns that you’d like to be altered according to the changes in the weather.

You can set up filters within the platform for temperature, sun, rain, snow etc, and set a time frame, so now or in 2-5 days time or over the following weekend, for example. And if the weather that you select happens during your time frame, or is forecast to happen, your ads will show, at the modified keyword bid that you choose, to people that are searching for your keywords.

The weather targeting is localised, meaning that only viewers in parts of the country / world experiencing your chosen targeting conditions would be shown the ads at your modified bid. So if you were to targeting the UK based on rain, and it was raining in Colchester but was sunny in London, then your keywords bids would be altered for searchers in Colchester, but not London.

The Good

This particular platform is very easy to use and set filters, just choose a weather type; sun, cloud, rain etc, then choose the seriousness of that weather type; moderate, heavy etc. Then finally you can choose if you’d like the campaign to run at all if the weather conditions are not met and click ‘Save and Preview’ or ‘Apply Changes’:

weather-unlocked

Another good point I’d like to highlight about this platform is that the customer support is really good – any questions you have you can email them or use live chat and they are very quick to respond.

The Bad

You have to create the ad copy in AdWords and it can only be set per campaign, so if you want the ad creative to reflect the weather you have selected, which should help increase click through rates, then you need a different campaign per weather condition – it’s doable, but fiddly.

Also, say you are targeting the whole of the UK for rain and selected ‘don’t show ads if conditions are not met’. If it rains in Barnsley and Southampton during your selected time period, then those locations are added to the campaign settings with the appropriate bid modifier.

However, if you are targeting a smaller region (e.g. London), it removes that location targeting to leave no locations in your campaign or pauses the applicable campaign completely – I guess this is the only way to do it and helps for reporting / tracking, but it gets a bit confusing.

Please remember if you are using this and making any changes to the locations etc in AdWords to re-import the campaign with the new changes, otherwise it gets really confusing!

Conclusion

I can definitely see where these solutions have a place for some brands, like swimwear sellers, BBQ stockists and umbrella designers for example and Weather Unlocked claim that a “swimwear brand saw a 600% increase in PPC-driven sales during their campaign”. But how much of that would have happened anyway because the sun was shining?

When the sun is out more people think about getting out in the sun and donning their swim attire, so more people are searching for swimwear. Obviously it’s important to be above your competitors in that situation and to try and get ahead of them if the search results, to have the best chance of getting the sale, but if it’s such an important factor in sales, why doesn’t Google provide it as a bid adjustment?

What are you thoughts on weather targeted ad campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.