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Hyper-contextual local ads can help secure an ROI victory: Weather Co. exec

NEW YORK – A Weather Company executive at the 2016 IAB Mobile Marketplace discussed the importance of brands leveraging mobile advertisements that are both contextual and location-targeted, as current weather conditions have been proven to directly affect consumers’ purchasing mindsets.

During the “Local Creative Storytelling: Strategies and Technologies for More Personalized Campaigns to Reach Mobile Audiences” session, executives from The Weather Company and global media agency network Maxus highlighted ways for mobile marketers to target ideal audiences by way of contextual messages. The advent of hyper-locational data has made this feat easier to achieve.

“We’re in a place right now in the world where you can use data in a really meaningful way and scale it up,” said Kristen Leone, vice president of sales strategy at The Weather Company. “You need to think about the total context of what the brand is trying to accomplish, and then use a variety of tactics.”

Driving purchase intent
One way for brands to capitalize on hyper-local mobile advertising is to drive purchase intent according to weather conditions that consumers in specific regions are experiencing. Proximity targeting requires the right mix of optimal messages and platforms in order to truly be successful.

The Weather Company undertook a research study last year centering on consumer emotions and mindsets to prove this theory. For example, if a major storm is approaching the New York metropolitan area, all of its population is likely to behave in the same manner, regardless of demographics.

Therefore, this presents an optimal time for a retailer to send out ads or messages inviting consumers to stock up on cold-weather gear or non-perishable goods. Conversely, consumers enjoying a sunny, breezy day in their city of residence are likely to feel optimistic, which could mean they are more willing to try a new brand or socialize with others outside.

This type of insight is invaluable for marketers seeking to reach individuals in a specific region, or within a particular time frame.

Additionally, brands wanting to boost their return on investment must consider relative conditions. Cold weather in New York is perceived differently than cold weather in Miami, meaning that brands must differentiate their ads accordingly.

Other relative components, such as seasons, should also be taken into consideration.

“The way that we’ve built marketing plans in the past – by ascribing timing to a calendar – might not be the best thing,” said Mark Egan, chief client officer of Maxus. “If you’re Macy’s, your winter season is not October; it’s the first five cold days.

“Think about how that throws the construction of your advertising into a tilt.”

Relevant messaging is also a surefire way of driving ROI. If Vaseline wants to promote its namesake product in dry regions, for instance, the best strategy is to run an ad promoting the important of moisturizing rather than roll out a blatant ad for the brand’s skin care items.

Furthermore, mobile marketers should test out a slew of tactics and technologies to discover what works best for their audience. Geofilters have proven to be a hit with consumers, particularly those in the millennial demographic, while weather-related ad creatives may resonate well with older individuals.

Jeep previously teamed up with The Weather Company for a campaign in which the automotive manufacturer introduced ad units that directly reflected the weather for each respective region.

Apparel retailer Eddie Bauer tapped a similar campaign as well.

Location in the long term
Location-based targeting has the unique opportunity to offer benefits for both short-term and long-term advertising initiatives.

However, the key strategy to keep in mind is to always put relevance at the forefront.

“When you think about local advertising, it forces you to think [about] what is on the minds of people in very specific locations or circumstances,” Mr. Egan said. “From an agency perspective, you can’t have enough relevance.

“The more platforms in general that you use, the better a story syncs into your head and consequently, the more relevance and ROI you’ll have.”

Choosing the right mobile moments to leverage is another tactic to master.

“There are a lot of different moments that we need to seek and capitalize on that drive long-term equity, too,” Mr. Egan said.