Location-based advertising has seen a significant evolution in recent years as the ad sector has shifted from one that focuses primarily on static messaging to one that is dynamic, delivered via mobile, and driven largely by advances in data science and analytics.

The proliferation of data available for marketers to craft and deliver location-specific, meaningful ads via mobile devices has been enabled by the exponential increase of information about consumer behaviour via sensors, GPS, and sales data.

Entire cottage industries have emerged with a primary objective to peddle aggregated location data (usually of dubious quality) captured from beacons, cell towers, and WIFI networks.

At The Weather Company, data is in our DNA. After, all it’s the fundamental component in the algorithms that create our accurate global forecasts. But we also recognise successful data-driven marketing is about more than large amounts of data. 

The sell is the more data we have available about individuals or groups, the better prepared we are to deliver personalised, relevant messages at exactly the right moment in time for maximum effectiveness.

The availability of all this data, and the insecurities we have about not doing more with these troves, can be a distraction when we are trying to create innovative, data-driven marketing solutions.

As publishers, we struggle to find data scientists for the challenge of extracting insights. With this singular data focus, we run the risk of missing the big picture: what it takes to create valuable location-based advertising products that are compelling to our user base — and by default, attractive to marketers.

The Weather Company's Watson ads combine unique placement with artificial intelligence that is fully weather and location targetable.
The Weather Company's Watson ads combine unique placement with artificial intelligence that is fully weather and location targetable.

Naturally, weather and location data-targeting capabilities are critical ingredients in The Weather Channels advertising products. But such capabilities are only one facet.

Truly innovative ad products that perform exceptionally must also consider placement and creative execution as two other vital components.

Placement — where an ad appears — is crucial to high performing ad experiences, as obviously an ad delivered in a site or app’s dead zone isn’t going to add value.

Experimenting with innovative placements (e.g. in-stream video, native stream) and A/B testing will go along way in optimising the ad footprint. Combined with focused data analysis on the performance of each ad placement, such experimentation will yield valuable insight that will lift engagement rates and viewability.

Creative execution — an ad’s innovative design and interaction within an ad container — is harder to quantify and equally evasive as insights. Beautifully designed ads, captivating copy, delightful interactions, anything grab’s the user’s eye or sparks engagement would qualify.

The challenge, of course, is user ad fatigue, as well as a rising set of standards on what’s innovative and intriguing enough to get users to engage. But here again, the perfect creative execution will lift all key performance indicators.

 

The Weather Company's branded background is one example of ad innovation, native creative execution, and marquee placement.
The Weather Company's branded background is one example of ad innovation, native creative execution, and marquee placement.
 

It’s constantly said that the three components that make targeted mobile advertising so effective are personalisation, timeliness, and relevance.

The hypothesis being that when every ad is personalised per individual consumer’s preference, delivered when and where they want to receive that message, and related to a product or service that actually fits that user’s needs, then it isn’t an intrusive nuisance but creates value for that user.

 At The Weather Company, we don’t think that’s enough anymore. The problem is that believing in this hypothesis alone requires the collection of more and more behavioural data as a means to an end at significantly diminishing returns.

More data just makes it harder to read the signal from the noise. Rather, we need to balance data targeting with innovative placements and stand-out creative execution. This triad, layered together in content experiences, can bring back the delightful moments of advertising and truly add value for end users.