black and white photo of people crossing the street while it's snowing


Mobile Marketing is Changing with the Weather

Based on field experiments sponsored by mobile providers, there are over 300 million potential mobile users in the U.S. and 2 billion worldwide. Source: Statistia

Mobile advertising spending will likely reach $120 billion by 2018, eclipsing television advertising. Further, digital interactions are expected to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores by the end of 2015, or $2.2 trillion.

We can show you more numbers like this, but the message it clear: Mobile is now an essential part of the customer journey for almost every product or service. Mobile devices, and the content on them, are a hub for physical and digital worlds.

Dr. Xueming Luo, the Founder/Director of the Global Center for Big Data in Mobile Analytics at the Fox School of Business at Temple University, said that certain characteristics make mobile big data unique: it’s personal, it’s in real time, it occurs in many places, and it has rich interaction (users can touch, shake, scan, move and be read by sensors).[1] He pointed to geotargeting and geofencing as emerging technologies that will only become more prevalent.

Geofencing is the practice of using GPS or an RFID to target content (among other activities) to smartphones users who are inside a certain geographical area.


Weather & Mobile Targeting

According to Dr. Luo, targeting customers based on specific weather conditions a growing trend. He described a study of ten million smartphone users to identify the role of weather in mobile ad effectiveness.

He describes his recent study, “Weather and Mobile Purchases: 10-Million-User Field Study,” that isolated the effects of weather after controlling for geographic locations which have different latitudes and altitudes that are naturally correlated with weather conditions. The results indicated that mobile purchases are significantly higher on days with more sunshine than those on cloudy days.

Marketers can choose to draft, plan and launch ads to mobile users based on the weather at the user’s location. With that knowledge, marketers can take actionable steps of avoiding negative prevention-framing copy (i.e. “Don’t miss out”) on sunny days but using it on rainy, snowy, foggy, and stormy days to boost the purchase of digital goods on smartphones.


What This Means

It may seem obvious, but the key characteristic of mobile users is that they’re mobile – they can be anywhere and aren’t tied to one single location. Further, the location services systems on each device provide a reasonably reliable anchor for targeted content. So a savvy campaign designer should be thinking about segmenting marketing not just by user demographic, but situationally, sending the right messages at the right times, in the right place, to the right people, in the right environment, to maximize the message’s effect.

[1] Dr. Luo’s remarks were made at the 5th Annual Digital Analytics Philadelphia Symposium, held on October 29, 2015 at Drexel.