Grey skies, wind and rain – it feels like the sun has packed his hat away, and made an escape for it. As gloomy weather leaves the nation praying for an Indian summer, brands should be aware of the lucrative opportunity that exists to cash in on weather-induced ‘slumber shopping’ – that is, shopping when we should be sleeping.

Slumber shopping

We’ve all experienced those frustrating summer nights of tossing and turning, as soaring temperatures leave us too hot to sleep. The fan’s too loud and the clock is ticking more slowly by the second – how can we pass the time away? New data from The Trade Desk reveals that many of us turn to our phones or laptops, as – according to our analysis – there was a 19% surge in internet traffic overnight across the UK during this summer’s biggest heatwave in July, compared to the average traffic for the same time period over the previous four weeks. This creates the perfect opportunity for brands to tap into an inflated audience and engage bored and frustrated consumers with helpful or inspiring messages.

The trend was most pronounced in London, which saw an increase in internet traffic of approximately 49% , followed by Manchester (44%), Sheffield (32%) and Nottingham (28%) – suggesting these cities could well be most receptive to brand messages during uncomfortable weather conditions.

And brands related to education and careers stand to have the biggest impact, according to our data. During the heatwave, 88% and 95% more users were online and served ads from those verticals, respectively – as consumers used those restless early hours to rethink their life plans. Likewise, 90% more users were online and presented with ads from family and parenting brands, no doubt being kept awake by young children struggling with the heat.

Over a third (36%) more users were served with ads for food and drink, while personal finance brands also experienced an uplift, with 15% more users online - indicating that ‘slumber shopping’ is the optimum time for grocery shopping and life admin.

Temperature targeting

If you know that someone is going to be most receptive to an ad for a bikini or a pair of sunglasses when the temperature reaches 22 degrees, why not target consumers when that weather strikes? It makes ad spend as effective and efficient as possible. And it works the other way too. Why not set up a campaign so that consumers are served ads for hot holidays, woolly jumpers or the latest box set when the temperature drops below 10 degrees?

Whatever the weather over the next few weeks, here are my three top tips on how to get the most out of your temperature targeted campaigns.

Allow for flex in your campaign budget

Everybody likes to plan in advance – and we’d encourage you to do so. But it is worth setting aside a portion of your ad spend to allow you to react quickly to external factors, such as the weather, which can trigger unusual consumer behaviour. That way, when you know a heatwave is coming – or a particularly cold snap, as is more likely in the coming months - you aren’t fighting for budget to target this lucrative slumber shopping audience – and the opportunity won’t be missed.

Consider the most appropriate channel

Be smart about which channels you use for your campaign – and when. If it’s warm outside during the day, for example, it’s very likely that people will be out and about and using their mobiles rather than sat at home behind a desktop. Carve out budget based on your brief, to make sure you are locating the right users, on the right devices.

Don’t be too targeted

It’s good to be focused in your campaigns, but don’t go overboard. We allow brands access to a huge audience by plugging into multiple exchanges, but the more layering you add, the harder it will be to scale your audience – especially when it comes to targeting by temperature, which is fairly niche already. So be realistic about the segments you need to maximise the pool of consumers you can engage with.

Far from letting it dampen your spirits, advertisers should embrace the unpredictability of the Great British Weather and the lucrative opportunities it creates to reach consumers in unusual ways. And it’s the brands that are nimble, smart and realistic about how they approach their ad campaigns that stand to get the most bang for their marketing buck this year.


By Sacha Berlik, managing director EMEA at The Trade Desk

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