Businesses – if you’ve been looking for a small change you can implement to maximize your PPC performance, this hack may be the one thing you’ve been missing in your optimization.
Did you know that you can adjust your PPC bids by weather? It’s true – and it can be an incredibly useful tactic for some industries and types of businesses, specifically those with seasonal patterns or those that can be affected greatly by weather conditions.
For example, if you’re an amusement park or a tourist destination, you may want to think about increasing your bids when the weather is nice so as to attract traffic for those searching for something to do on a nice day. Or, if you’re movie theater or laser tag center or another indoor activity venue, you may want to think about adjusting your bids on days of inclement or unpleasant weather to attract those staying in. There’s plenty of potential to be found in this idea!
To implement, you’d use Google Scripts and a simple spreadsheet. Google’s tutorial on how to use this tactic is incredibly easy to follow and thorough, so we definitely recommend giving it a read and then trying on a few campaigns. As with anything in PPC, we always recommend testing and gathering data to see how well this tactic performs. It’s not for every business, but it may work well for you.
We’ve sort of summarized the process here:
How it Works
This Google Script technique makes a call to the OpenWeatherMap API for each location and weather condition specified, as provided in spreadsheet (we’ll give the how-to below). From there, basic rules are used to see if location and weather match and if the rule evaluates to true, then a corresponding location bid multiplier will be applied to that particular location targeting for the campaign so that your bid is adjusted according to the forecast.
How to Implement
You’ll need to create three individual spreadsheets for this to work.
First, you’ll need to create a spreadsheet that includes:
- Campaign name (the name of the campaign you want to modify)
- Weather location (the location that you want to check the weather for)
- Weather condition (the condition that you want the rule applied to)
- Bid modifier (the location bid modifier that is applied if the weather condition occurs)
- Enabled (specify yes to enable a rule and no to disable it)
For the rule to work, the specified campaign should already have a geo target for the specified weather location. Unfortunately, the script can’t modify existing geo targets of a campaign, so be sure to double check before setting this up. Also, if multiple rules match for a given campaign and location, the last matching rule wins, so keep that in mind when setting this up.
Next, you’ll want to create a sheet that contains weather data, with columns for:
- Condition Name (the weather condition – e.g. snowing)
- Temperature (the temperature in Fahrenheit)
- Precipitation (the rain, in millimeters during the last 3 hours)
- Wind (the wind, speed in miles per hour)
Once you’ve created these columns, you’ll want to define the weather conditions as follows:
- below x: The specified value is below x (e.g. below 10)
- above x: The specified value is above x (e.g. above 70)
- x to y: The specified value is between x and y, inclusive (e.g. 65 to 80)
Keep in mind that if you leave a cell blank, the values of that parameter are not considered. So, for example, if you fill in a cell in the condition column with “rainy” but leave the temperature column empty, then temperature won’t be considered when calculating the condition.
Finally, create a third sheet that includes the weather locations used in the campaign sheet – it should be just two columns:
- Weather location (this is the weather location name as listed in OpenWeatherMapAPI)
- Geo target code (this is the geo target code as seen in AdWords scripts
The script does allow you to specify multiple geo target codes for a single weather location, which can be separated by a comma (e.g. If you’re looking to use weather for Boston, MA and you want to use multiple geo target codes, you’d fill in the weather location column with Boston, MA and the geo target code column with 21167, 20050).
Once you’ve created all three sheets, the script will start reading the rules from each column and then attempts to execute each rule in sequence.
Here’s the step-by-step instructions for bidding by weather in AdWords, including the source code you’ll need and the steps for setup you’ll need to implement.
If you’ve considered your audience and you find that weather often affects your sales or traffic, think about adjusting bids by weather to maximize your PPC campaign or talk to us if you need help with Adwords Account Management.