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Can the weather predict consumer behavior?

Published March 31, 2014 at 9:14 am

Throughout time, humans have tried to predict what the weather is going to be like from day to day. Armed with this knowledge in advance of a storm, we are able to prepare ourselves accordingly. In an interesting turn of the tables, the weather is now being used to predict human behavior, at least when it comes to purchasing decisions.

Take a look out the window. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Are people drinking beer?

The Weather Company says it can predict what consumers want based on what’s going on outside. According to Adweek, the Weather Company’s Weather FX ad exchange has been able to use data to determine what consumers want when the temperatures are higher, lower, and when it’s raining or snowing. Last August, Fast Company reported that the Weather Company had honed in on consumer purchasing patterns by looking at correlations between purchases and the current state of the weather. Weather FX was able to gather this type of data by taking a look at locations shared by users who had opted in, allowing Weather FX to see consumer patterns across various regions of the country like Chicago, where it was found that an increase in beer sales correlated with the temperature being below average three days in a row.

As the Weather Company shows us, data can be a powerful tool for marketers and advertisers. Just as we try to predict the behavior of the weather, marketers and advertisers are well served by predicting the behavior of consumers. Whether it’s that data your company has collected through monitoring its own marketing efforts, or data on consumers obtained from an outside source, the more information you can use to inform your marketing campaigns, the greater of an impact you can create.

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