Weather Channel Extends Ad Targeting Options To Mobile

In something of a natural fit, The Weather Channel Mobile (TWCM) has become the first mobile service to offer advertising targeted by weather conditions.

"Advertisers' biggest concern is that mobile advertising has to be relevant and effective," says TWCM director of advertising Rebecca Barnett. "With weather targeting, you couldn't be more relevant or effective."

With the new option, banner ads that appear on the mobile device via the mobile Web are triggered by weather conditions such as clear, cloudy, hot, rainy or windy.

In addition, TWCM is now offering geo-targeted advertising. Both types of targeting were already available on The Weather Channel's Web site, www.weather.com.

The biggest opportunities lie in marketing the targeting options in cross-platform packages to existing weather.com and TWCM advertisers, according to Barnett.

Because most advertisers are launching their weather-triggered mobile efforts in the second quarter, Barnett declined to name specific companies on board thus far. However, she says that travel services and travel destinations, automotive products oriented toward safety in bad weather conditions (such as tires and SUVs) and health products such as cold medications are expected to be among the biggest advertiser categories.

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Weather.com is able to offer advertisers the option of overlaying the weather-triggered and geo-targeted options. For example, a warm travel destination can target its ads to users in its top Northeastern markets (triggered by site users' ZIP codes as they correlate with Nielsen-defined DMAs) and also time the ads to appear on the site on cold, snowy days.

"It's very common to overlay the two on weather.com," reports Barnett.

TWCM's third-party mobile server does not allow for layering the two capabilities; however, Barnett says this will be possible at some point down the line, when the company shifts to in-house serving.

According to Telephia, The Weather Channel's mobile Web platform is one of the top mobile destinations, reaching 22% of the active mobile Web user community, which equates to 6.6 million unique visitors per month.

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