The weather is no longer merely a topic of conversation used to break the ice or fill the void left by a socially awkward silence. It is being used to measure sentiment, target relevant ads to consumers, and predict social media engagement. The effects of weather on social engagement and sentiment have been studied by Facebook, and their findings indicate that bad weather is beneficial for usage, engagement and post interactions. Take note, Social Marketers!

Impact of Weather on Social Media Engagement and Sentiment

Researchers from the University of California have teamed up with Facebook to study how status updates affect the moods of people who read them. Interestingly, they found that users are more likely to feel bad if their social media contacts are as well – and since weather impacts our moods and emotional outlook, the weather also played a role in defining user sentiment.

In bad weather, negative Facebook posts increased by 1.16%, while positive posts decreased by 1.19%. Each negative update was followed by an increase of 1.29% in unhappy posts from an individual’s friends. It is not just bad weather that leads to an increase in Facebook posts; happy status updates are equally influential. The researchers found that upbeat updates led to an additional 1.75% of positive mood posts by friends.

Essentially, these stats show that the emotional states of people can spread via social media and cause an ’emotional contagion’ within social circles – with weather as the trigger. Positive posts, it turns out, seem to be more likely to spread than negative posts – a point marketers will want to keep in mind.

Yet how can brands and organisations make use of these insights within the context of social media marketing strategies? Perhaps the following study will provide some answers:

Social Media Engagement Rises During Bad Weather

In 2013, Fanpage Karma analysed the average interaction with 1500 German Facebook pages. Each day’s weather was rated in 2013 and used to analyse interactions between the 1500 pages. A distinct correlation was found between weather and the number of interactions, with 42% more interactions in the absence of sunshine. Rainy summer weekends saw a spike in social media activity, with post-interactions increasing by 90%. Despite the fact that the remaining 3 seasons experienced a smaller increase in post-reactions than summer, a distinct difference still exists with 39% more reactions on rainy days compared to sunny days in spring, autumn, and winter.

Results of Weather and Social Media Engagement:

  • Regardless of the season, inclement weather always increases interactions.
  • When the sun isn’t shining, engagement is up by 42%.
  • On rainy summer weekends, post reactions double, and interaction increases by 90%.
  • The number of reactions on average on rainy days is still 39% greater in spring, autumn, and winter.

How Does This Affect Marketers?

As the figures indicate, on days when a general bad weather event takes place, customers become more active on social media, thus allowing marketers to reach a much more engaged market.

The stats indicate that promotional deals and discounts made during inclement weather could generate the most reach on social networks as well as the most engagement.

So, be sure to plan ahead and check the forecast if you want to make the most of the bad weather. It’s not all bad though – you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain, right?