By Daniel Alexander:  Co-founder and Chief Meteorologist, WeatherAlpha


“How was the weather while I was away?," I asked my wife upon arriving at La Guardia after a business trip in early May.

“Horrible.  It rained every day,” she replied.

Of course, as a self-confessed weather junkie, I knew exactly what the weather had brought. In fact, I had observed that exactly 0.82” of rain had fallen across four days in my absence – not an insignificant amount, but rather ho-hum for Northeast springtime standards. 

“Yeah, but it didn’t rain that much, right?” an air of holier-than-thou weather nerdiness in my tone.

“I don’t know – all I know is that it was foggy, chilly, drizzly and just miserable.”

The takeaway here is that the impact of weather on society cannot be seen through one data point alone. In this case, rainfall amount isn’t the best proxy for the overall weather - it is a combination of many data points:


  • Cloud cover:  During the first few days of May, it was completely overcast during 95% of hours in NYC
  • Temperature: Temperatures crested in the 50s each day, 5-10 degrees below normal for the time of year
  • Hours of precipitation: Yes, for the period in question, only a moderate amount of rain fell - but it was spread out over many hours of light rain and drizzle, extending the general atmospheric dreariness.
  • Additional weather conditions: Each day had fog, a weather condition straight out of an antidepressant advertisement.


Fast forward a few weeks to Memorial Day weekend when 1.65” of rain fell in a single day – except the majority of this rain fell during a few overnight hours. The high temperature that day still reached 82 and was bookended by two sunny days in the mid 80s. Yes, this rain may have been a lawn soaker, but it did not permeate the public’s consciousness like the extended period of light rain earlier in the month.

My company, WeatherAlpha, provides weather data, analytics, and consultation to weather sensitive companies and brands. Our primary business application has been digital marketing, and we have been honored to work with such brands as Home Depot, Kingsford, Sears, Columbia Sportswear, Sudafed, Dairy Queen, Zyrtec, and many others.  We pride ourselves in not only providing the best weather data to advertisers, but also a comprehensive understanding of how best to apply this weather data to enhance their campaigns and drive results. 

And when we advise clients who are considering a weather-triggered ad campaign, we preach looking beyond the obvious.  For the products/services with rainfall sensitivities, this means incorporating additional data inputs beyond current or forecast rainfall amount – like daily cloud cover, temperature, fog, rainfall hours, wind speed, etc. - into the trigger plan.  It is this detail that personalizes and makes more meaningful connections with consumers; therefore, yielding improved results.

By combining customized weather data with a creative management platform, like Flite, brands can apply this personalized, weather-based creative, at scale. When a brand’s campaign is more relevant to users, and each user’s experience; positive results tend to follow!