Stormy Weather

Brands now have another way to target on-the-go customers with relevant information: mobile ads based on the weather.

According to AdWeek, this tactic makes sense for a lot of brands because certain products are more applicable based on weather conditions.

Ace Hardware, for example, targets users with ads before and after snowstorms by offering shovels and other snow equipment. Initial results were positive, so the brand wants to expand its usage of weather-based ad targeting. When it's sunny, Ace will show ads for gardening, fertilizers, and other outdoor ware that consumers are more likely to think about when the weather is warm.

The collaboration announced last week between Twitter and The Weather Channel also makes it easier for brands to leverage targeting. The app will offer brands the ability to advertise with video clips of local forecasts — an insurance company can show an ad before a hurricane, for instance — as well as user-generated content and coverage related to major weather events.

This level of targeting gives marketers a powerful way to connect on-air and online social conversations around the weather. Given that a Nielson study showed that 88% of respondants use their mobile device while watching TV, the second screen revolution is a significant opportunity for brands to increase audience engagement.

Besides hardware, food brands are also using weather-based targeting to attract customers. Taco Bell is running certain mobile ads only when the weather is above 48 degrees to reach customers who want to sit outside to enjoy burritos with friends. 

Targeting based on weather is still in nascent, but even just within the food category, there are numerous possibilities. Cold weather means opportunities for Campbell's soup and Lean Cuisine lasagna, while cold weather is ripe for ads for Lipton iced tea, McDonald's McFlurry ice cream, and Fresh Express salads.

These ads have the potential to reach consumers in real-time to help them deal with upcoming weather, and to help them enjoy it. This could mean better engagement for advertisers looking to reach customers who are more likely to find their products relevant, and more useful ads for customers.