Lots of businesses are impacted by the weather, and even more can benefit from factoring weather into their Facebook advertising strategy. Some of our social media advertising clients on our agency roster seeing an uptick in sales during certain types of weather or during select seasons, so we looked into seeing if there was a way to target audiences when they were experiencing temperature swings or were in the midst of or are about to experience severe weather. We were, well, shocked by how effective it turned out to be.
So whether or not your advertising is under the weather (sorry, I had to!), you can leverage the forecast into helping boost conversions using weather-based targeting automation tools for your Facebook ad campaigns.
In this guide, I’ll go over what weather-based targeting is and how you can use weather-based targeting on Facebook. Plus, I’ll share some ideas and examples of effective weather-based Facebook ads.
What is weather-based targeting?
Weather-based targeting is a way to create and set up automated rules for your various advertising accounts, which include activating and deactivating your ad sets if and when certain temperature or weather system type criteria is met. In addition, you can also set up weather-based automation rules that can modify your bids and change creative assets to best resonate with the weather in a given geolocation.
Now, how do you do this on Facebook advertising? Let’s go over that.
How to use weather-based targeting on Facebook
With some of the third-party services that are available to set up these automated rules, you will typically set up your Facebook campaigns, ad sets, and ads as you typically would—though, keep in mind that you are speaking to the weather in a particular audience and it is seamless across the ad copy, creative, and landing pages.
We’ve learned that the campaign level is to be set as active; however, the ad sets will need to be the opposite of what you have set as the rule in your weather automation service. For example, we decided to go with WeatherAds.io, and with their platform, we wanted to only enable ad sets and their respective ads when the criteria we set in their dashboard is met, as it will then activate and deactivate at the ad set level. You can also do the opposite, just make sure, if you ad sets to activate if a heatwave is coming in, you initially set your ad set in Facebook Ads Manager as inactive, so that it doesn’t run regardless of the weather.
Example via WeatherAds.io
What’s great about some of the weather-based targeting services is that you can target for different types of weather. You can target by temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit, but you can also target ads if a weather event or type took place in the last seven days, is taking place currently, or will be on the forecast in the upcoming seven days. Like most platforms that have an automated rule set up, these services also have qualifier options where you can select equal/less than, equal to, and equal/greater than, depending on which makes the most sense for you. You can then set if the conditions are met, to show ads, or to not show your ads.
In addition to temperature-based targeting, just about every weather type is available within these service providers. Typical options for weather-based targeting you may see are rain, snow, sunny, cloudy, wind speed, humidity, pressure, UV index, thunder, storm, hail, blizzard, hurricane, tornado, ice, fog, and freezing rain.
Two things to be aware of with weather-based campaigns on Facebook
Setup is simple, however, we did notice a few hiccups as we were setting and then beginning to run our weather-based rules.
When it comes to custom location targeting, Facebook only allows up to 200 custom locations per ad set, which can make this set up process a bit more time-consuming. What this means is that if you want to target the US as a whole, you will need to set up 17 ad sets that will not exceed 200 locations each.
One additional caveat that you may also notice when you set these up and let them run is that these ads will restart the Facebook learning phase each time they activate. While we typically don’t want that as it can disrupt optimization and performance, we haven’t noticed a significant impact to discontinue using these automated rules.
Weather-based Facebook ad ideas for each season
Now, you know why weather-based campaigns might work for your business, and you know how to set these up. Let’s go over a few examples of successful weather-based Facebook ads next so that you’ll be ready to get started.
Create summer weather campaigns
With the summer season kicking off, if you are in the business of selling barbeque grills, ice cream, vacation rentals, air conditioning units, summer sandals or swimsuits, swimming pool cleaning services, landscaping services, or any other applicable products or services that people can use or benefit from this season, use the weather to help magnify your conversions.
Image via CaliforniaPools
For example, if your target audience is browsing Facebook or Instagram on their device and they are feeling the discomfort of a heatwave, use that opportunity in your ad copy and creative to speak to a solution. If your customers live in areas where the hurricane season might be impacting them, give that weather type targeting a test so people can prepare ahead of time and possibly utilize what you have for them that can help during the season.
Fall starts as soon as the temperatures drop—and so can your ads
No reason to fall behind! As we head into the autumn in just a few short months, create some campaigns that will be set for later this summer as people start thinking about fall and amplify that with temperature-based automated rules or perhaps ones around rain or wind. Plan ahead for any Labor Day sales you may have lined up, back-to-school campaigns, or perhaps if your fall line of clothing or shoes are coming out, you can showcase that as temperatures begin to lower.
It’s easy to feel fall weather approaching and leveraging those feelings can impact how people engage with your ads. It also doesn’t hurt to mention the season in your ads and get your audience thinking about the impending cooler season.
Speak to winter weather in your ads
As the winter season later approaches, test some of the snow, rain, wind, and temperature rules as they best relate to your geotargeting. If you are selling snow tires, warm beach vacations or snowy mountain getaways, snow blowers or shovels, or HVAC services, it may be your time to shine. Or perhaps you manage ads for a delivery service. People are less likely to go out during cold weather so use this opportunity to cater to these audiences as they may be more willing to pay a price for an on-demand service that comes to them, rather than one where they would have to go out in the cold.
One of our clients, Indow, a custom window insert company found success using weather-based automation with Facebook Ads to increase the number of leads we were acquiring and at a lower cost per lead for its energy-efficient, draft-reducing window inserts. We ran some tests targeting audiences we had already had success with and then applied temperature-based rules to them to see if we could further optimize performance. We used a combination of video and static image ads on Facebook and Instagram to showcase people being bundled up in their homes in the creative while using complementary ad copy to speak to drafty windows and the solution we could provide.
Image via Indow
If someone is chilly in their own home or commercial space and an ad resonates with it being even more timely, our expectations of improved performance came to fruition. It’s quite interesting to see the direct impact of a timely ad in our environment.
Use spring in your ads—as it appears in your target locations
Spring into action! After a long cold, rainy or snowy winter, many look forward to sunshine and warmer days ahead. Leverage the temperatures increasing and rainy or snowy forecasts ceasing to showcase your products and services as you head into this season. Whether it’s outdoor apparel or gear, open-toed shoes, car washes, gardening gear, allergy or pollen solutions, sunglasses, or gutter-cleaning services, speak to your audiences accordingly based on their surrounding forecast. If you can, show the weather in your creative, as seen below from Starbucks. The more your ads resemble someone’s geographical location and seasonal appearance, the better they may perform.
Image via Starbucks
Test out weather-based targeting in your next Facebook campaign
Using the combination of weather-based automation rules paired with audience targeting, geolocation, ad copy, creative, and relevant landing pages should give you a boost in conversions, regardless of what they are. We’ve seen success in driving more leads, scheduled calls with sales teams, and sales with weather-based automated rules in conjunction with our preexisting and new prospecting and retargeting campaigns. Hopefully, this will be new to you and you too will find success, rather than having it be a “mist” opportunity!