Weather vs Website Traffic: How much does one influence the other?
All ecommerce companies understand that seasonality can play its part in influencing sales, but how much do we really know? And can diving under the surface of ‘seasonality’ help us to better understand buyer behaviour?
As well as months of the year, companies may also expect to see various peaks/troughs during particular weather conditions or temperatures.
However, freely available tools such as Google Trends are ideal for gaining insights into and predicting keyword volumes at times of the year; we can also use Met Office data to further understand the thought – and buying – processes of our target customers during certain weather events.
Estimating website traffic is no longer just a ‘stab in the dark’. To see how website traffic and weather events correlate, we have compiled this research for one of our clients in the gardening industry.
Based on Met Office data:
Based on Google Trends data:
In many respects, the Average Hours of Sunlight records correlate with the Google Trends data – as the number of daylight hours is relatively regular from season to season.
However, when we factor in the Average Rainfall statistics, we can appreciate how decreased levels of rainfall can lead to a surge in website traffic. This is especially significant because the UK has experienced fluctuating levels of rainfall in recent years – from droughts to floods; therefore heavy rainfall isn’t necessarily seasonal.
The above graph shows a strong correlation between website traffic and average rainfall – portraying that the site received more visits when monthly rainfall levels were minimal.
How to act on weather data
Using this data, marketers can push promotions and feature more ‘sunny sales’ to make every visit count. If website traffic dips when it rains, it certainly pays to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ in order to achieve maximum conversions from the increased visitor numbers while you have the chance.
Want to push promotions further? PPC and email marketing campaigns will be perfect for this. Pausing and enabling AdWords & Bing campaigns according to daily and weekly weather updates could save advertisers money and see a higher ROI than ever before.
Similarly, if you know it’s sunny, why not drop your email subscribers a quick message to remind them to get out there and make the most of the sunny weather?
So, is it wise to make business decisions based on weather forecasts?
In short, yes.
When planning your strategy for the coming year, the timing of product sales, marketing activities and stock replenishment is all based on forecasts – whether comparing to last year’s figures or tying in with external factors/events. An example could be a fashion e-retailer understanding in which spring or summer month swimwear sales picked up (using internal data), or Budweiser offering a beer promotion during the FIFA World Cup 2014 (external events).
Although forecasting weather can be tricky and unpredictable – we all know about the ‘freak weather’ news stories that are broadcast months in advance, yet never actually happen – it’s a good idea to prepare your stock levels and online marketing activities for that potential temperature hike or torrential downpour.