Why a sunny day might boost your digital marketing

New research has found that digital marketing efforts work better when the sun’s shining!

We blame the weather for lots of things – being late, bad moods, ruined holidays – but now it seems we can also blame it on poor engagement for our digital marketing.


Researchers in China studied the impact of the weather on promotions on mobile devices. They analyzed the effectiveness of campaigns on over 6 million devices in 344 cities.

The study, “Sunny, Rainy, and Cloudy with a Chance of Mobile Promotion Effectiveness,” reveals that consumers responded on average 73% faster to promotions on a sunny day compared to a cloudy one.

There was also a 20% boost in volume of responses during sunny weather but a drop of almost 10% when it rained. Response rates were 59% slower on a rainy day.

When the forecast is proved wrong, sales rise

An unexpectedly sunny day can prove an additional boost for brands as the study found that sales resulting from mobile promotions were higher on those days.

The study took into account factors such as higher mobile usage due to weather conditions.

If this sounds unlikely, then consider this.

McDonalds recently ran an ad campaign on platforms such as SoundCloud and Deezer which is triggered by the weather. The ads (for its McFlurry ice creams) only appear when it’s sunny and the temperature reaches a certain level.

So how can you use this breakthrough?

“Obviously, although brand managers cannot control the mother-nature weather, our findings are non-trivial because they suggest that brands can leverage the relevant, local weather information in mobile promotions.” – Chenxi Li of Beihang University, one of the study’s authors.

There are several things to consider if you want to leverage the lift that a sunny day might give your media content and other digital marketing promotions:

  • Dedicated ‘sunny day’ content – if you know it’s going to be sunny, then create media content that ties in with that;
  • Re-publish when the weather improves – if something hasn’t worked as well as you’d hoped, try it again on a sunny day. You never know!
  • Track the effectiveness of campaigns on sunny and cloudy days – don’t take this study as gospel, see what works for you.


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