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.