Coldfinger – The power of weather in context for marketing and advertising

23 01 2014

Terry Makewell, the Head of Digital & Global Media at the Met Office details how we are seeing not just the next stage of contextual advertising but the emergence of an era where the agency takes further control of Return on Investment (ROI)

This morning the Met Office and The Weather Channel Ltd. introduced weather as an advertising category to brands and media agency executives at the Century Club in London.

As Britons we feel like we own weather. We live with it every day. It is a national obsession. The rain soaks our clothes and, more blissfully, the sun warms our skin. When people think of the weather they think of the Met Office.

We are the UK’s foremost supplier of weather information and services. Our forecasts feed into thousands of systems across the UK and the World from aeroplanes to financial systems. Through our commercial remit as a government trading fund we offer advertising across our digital platforms which represents the largest reach in the UK weather market for advertisers.

We are at the cutting edge of climate and weather science with awards for social media, digital marketing and our ground breaking weather app. We’re extremely good at what we do.

Recently the Sunday Telegraph described our forecasting operations room as being ‘like the set of a James Bond movie with countless screens displaying the weather secrets of the world’. It certainly is an impressive sight to behold, but I must admit that I haven’t seen Honor Blackman walking around recently. But if she had  been she would have seen our 24/7 operations centre tweeting to any one of our near 200,000 followers on Twitter who wish to receive a personalised response and forecast. Weather never sleeps and neither do we.

Now this is where it gets really interesting. The national obsession with the weather means that the always connected customer is constantly accessing our content, viewing our videos and checking out their local forecasts – we are getting towards an average of 100 million UK page impressions on our website per month. All this combines to produce a very strong proposition for brands. Being able to deliver campaigns directly into the hands of 45% of all UK smart phone users (via our award winning mobile app) has provided a powerful leverage for some very large brands who have worked with us.

Through advertising across all of our digital propositions we are able to deliver tangible results by putting these adverts into context. Campaigns can be targeted to locations and to weather conditions.  You can target a holiday campaign in Hull tomorrow because you know it’ll be raining, or push a Ferrari campaign to the Manchester United players by targeting certain villages in the Cheshire countryside because it’ll be sunny.

The old adage of Content is King has been around for a long while, but now weather in context is fast becoming king. We have seen amazing ROI for our advertisers who follow this contextual approach. Weather provides us with a virtuous circle of returning customers.

So, while we can offer unequalled access to weather focused customers via our digital propositions we can also pass over this control. For anyone in the agency world there is always the question of how can I prove to my clients that they are getting value for money? To help answer this we are now allowing agencies direct access to our GoldenEye-esq operations centre via our Weather Windows™ product. This product allows agencies to utilise any of the Met Office’s unparalleled forecasts in an automated fashion by integrating these with their internal systems.

This is a powerful proposition since agencies can now target according to weather across an entire campaign, no matter where the adverts are being displayed. They make this call. This forecast can suit whatever variables the agency wishes to choose. Through this insight, it is possible to integrate weather into further campaign activities such as e-shots and non-digital displays. When you know it’s going to be sunny in Leith tomorrow you can push out that e-shot to customers in that geographic area and see those conversion rates soar!

Agencies can also use Weather Windows™ when working directly with brands to contextualise their own portfolios. Why not see where in the country someone is viewing a DIY website from, correlate this against the weather and then change the content to reflect this? If it’s raining then promote painting and internal products, but if it is sunny then push outside equipment such as sheds and lawnmowers.

Weather influences everything we do and Weather Windows™ provides the business intelligence to empower agencies and brands to contextually target the customer.

Weather knowledge is not only power, whether directed through the Met Office channel or through in-house methods. Weather knowledge is also profit.

Ross Webster, managing director EMEA, The Weather Channel discusses the value of big weather data in advertising here.


The Met Office iPhone and Android app gets an update

29 11 2012

The Met Office iPhone and Android app has been updated and is now available to download in the App Store and Google Play.

As well as bug fixing, the Android and iPhone update has taken on a lot of user feedback and enhanced the customer experience. There is a lot more information on the front screen, including wind speed, UV levels and sunrise and sunset times. Previously users would have had to delve deeper to gain access to this information, but based on user feedback, it was decided to bring this information forwards.

To make sure users receive a consistent experience, the look and feel of the app has been brought closely in line with the Met Office’s website. This includes new weather icons and graphics and also new icon-based weather warnings. New locations have also been added to the iPhone & Android app based on user feedback.

Below is a quote from James Tipler, Mubaloo Account Manager for the Met Office app:

“The Met Office has monitored customer feedback since the launch of the first iOS and Android app, and key trends in feedback have been listened to and addressed in this update. As well as bug fixes, this update makes a number of enhancements to the app which we believe will improve the user experience.”

The Met Office app has been a huge success since its launch in February. The iPhone and Android app was downloaded over 1 million times within its first two weeks of launch and during the cold weather in February, it was used over 6.5m times in one weekend – that’s 35 times every second. The Met Office app is the 14th most accessed in the UK and was voted number 1 weather app in the Independent. Current downloads to date are 3m for iPhone and 887,000 for Android.

Mubaloo, the producers of the apps on behalf of the Met Office have created a full Met Office Android & iPhone app case study.


This blog post first appeared in Mubaloo‘s blog

Met Office ranked in top ten social brands

29 05 2012

The Met Office has made it into the top ten social brands in the Headstream Social Brands 100 list for 2012. The Met Office came in joint ninth position and was recognised as the top ranked organisation in the services category.

Our Facebook account fared particularly well and was the eighth top performing brand on this platform. On Twitter, we scored highly for speed of response and mentions of other Twitter accounts.

The ranking takes into account the range of engagement across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and our blog.

Charlotte Howells, Social Media and online communications Manager said: “The weather is something we all love to talk about and we want to be at the centre of those conversations about our ever changing weather and climate. We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised by social brands 100 and look forward to carrying on the conversations we are having with the public about the weather.”

The top 100 brands are put through a rigorous and independent judging process with an expert panel of judges from companies including Google, YouTube and Twitter helping to determine the final ranking position.

Social Brands 100 was created by social specialist agency Headstream in 2011 as an initiative to identify and acknowledge those brands leading the way in the social age. Now in its second year, Social Brands 100 has established a position as one of the leading rankings of social media performance.

You can download the full Social Brands 100 report here.


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