Continuing in its evolution from media property to data provider, The Weather Company unveiled a newly updated advertising location-targeting platform this morning. JOURNEYfx now provides marketers with the ability to produce highly-accurate location-targeted campaigns, taking full advantage of The Weather Company’s mobile reach.
“It’s really about an understanding of consumers like never before. Not only does our JOURNEYfx platform offer uber precise and accurate location targeting, it goes beyond finding a user and targeting them,” Domenic Venuto, GM of the Consumer Division at The Weather Company, told Street Fight.
Although The Weather Company has been combining weather data with location-based targeting in advertising for years, today’s unveiling of the rebranded JOURNEYfx platform means advertisers will now have the opportunity to identify patterns and rituals in consumer behavior throughout the day, week, and year. The Weather Company already has a trove of first-party data, thanks to the ubiquity of its consumer-focused web properties, including weather.com and Weather Underground. JOURNEYfx captures and combines data from the company’s 87 million monthly mobile users, in an effort to build a 360-degree view of the “ideal consumer.”
JOURNEYfx also capitalizes on The Weather Company’s unique access to accurate weather data, which it views as an intent signal, and location information, which is gleaned from the movements of mobile app users. Combining weather, location, movement, and other data sets — made available from IBM, which entered into an agreement to acquire The Weather Company last year — will give major brands the ability to correlate media serving with campaign performance.
Marketers will be able to use JOURNEYfx to determine who they should target, based on people who have demonstrated interest in their product, what their audience may be interested in, and when they should target that audience. Marketers should be able to identify consumers’ patterns and rituals throughout the day, allowing them to anticipate the best timing for each message to be sent.
Weather data plays an important role in this, helping to predict how targets will feel and when purchases are likely to be made. An in-house attribution solution, currently in beta, will also measure foot traffic without relying on panel-based methodology.
“We are also able to provide in depth analysis or Movement Insights to our advertisers that shows things like, where do consumers go before and after visits to your retail location? Empowering them with the data they need to inform their targeting strategy both on and off TWC properties,” Venuto said.
In a real world application, this could mean that an auto brand uses JOURNEYfx to understand the types of people who are interested in purchasing minivans. The brand could target only those consumers whose location patterns match those of a person buying a minivan, like having multiple kids. The auto brand would then be able to trigger ads with custom messages that only reach people who fit that specified consumer portrait.
The market for ad networks and location-based companies is highly competitive, however Venuto said he feels confident in JOURNEYfx’s position, given that competing platforms don’t own their apps and instead aggregate inventory from a disparate set of apps in the mobile ecosystem.
“Here is the challenge for marketers, everyone makes bold claims with location targeting, but the reality is it’s the wild west,” he said. “With no set industry standards on data collection methods, marketers are wasting millions of dollars on media waste. There is a saying with location, ‘if you can get defrauded, you will.’”
Venuto says that today’s launch of JOURNEYfx is critical to The Weather Company’s evolving business as a location data company powered by weather.
“Our wealth of weather and location data is the main reason that IBM acquired us,” he said. “With IBM backed cognitive computing, we have the ability to offer marketers data driven targeting solutions that will help them drive sales and understand their business like never before.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.