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Bad Weather Triggers Social Media Engagement

The weather has been a go-to topic of conversation for centuries, a safety line in those situations where you fail to find anything in common with the person you are conversing, or simply as a means of breaking the ice to legitimise social interactions.

In more recent times, this digital era which we have entered into, talking about the weather is no longer just a life raft to stay afloat during moments of awkward silence. It is being used by both consumers and brands as a way of communicating with the rest of the world when the cold or rainy weather has left would be shoppers not wishing to brave the elements, confined to their homes as if under house arrest. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a primary choice when it comes to choosing a stage from which to broadcast feelings about the weather... and they have the stats to prove it!

Weather Affects Emotions

Researchers from the University of California joined forces with Facebook to study the effects of status updates on the moods of the people reading them. They found that users are more likely to be having a bad day if their social media contacts are too, with negative Facebook posts increasing 1.16% with bad weather and positive posts decreasing by 1.19%. Each negative update subsequently caused a 1.29% increase in unhappy posts by an individual’s friends. However, it is not just the bad weather that leads to a surge in Facebook posts; happy status updates have a similar effect. It was found that upbeat updates led to an additional 1.75% positive mood posts by an individual’s friends.

What these stats show is that emotional states can spread via social media and cause a ripple effect or ‘emotional contagion’ within social circles – and that weather can be the trigger. Positive posts, it would seem, actually have a greater impact in terms of virality than negative posts – something marketers will want to bear in mind.

But how can these insights be leveraged by brands and organizations within the context of their social media marketing strategy? The next study could hold the key:

Bad Weather Drives Social Engagement

Bad Weather Drives Social Engagement

A study by Fanpage Karma which analysed the average interaction with 1500 German Facebook pages in 2013. The weather was rated for every day of the year in 2013 and used to analyse interactions on the 1500 pages. A distinct correlation between weather and amount of post interactions was found, with fans reacting 42% more often in the absence of sunshine. Rainy summer weekends saw a substantial rise in social media engagement with post interaction increasing by 90%. Although the remaining 3 seasons experienced less increase in post reactions compared to that of rain in summer, a clear difference is still evident with 39% more reactions on rainy days in spring, autumn and winter than that of sunny days.

The Results:
  • Inclement weather always increases interactions, regardless of season.
  • Average engagement is up 42% when the sun is not shining.
  • Post reactions double on rainy summer weekends, and interaction increases by 90%
  • In spring, autumn and winter there are still 39% more reactions on average during rainy days.
What Does This Mean For Marketers?

As the figures show, on days when rain and other forms of precipitation fall from the sky which come under the umbrella term (Yes, pun intended) of ‘bad weather’ consumers become more engaged on social media, meaning that marketers have a much more receptive and captive audience with which to interact. Positive posts e.g. promotional deals and discount offers made during periods of inclement weather could generate the most engagement and achieve largest reach on social networks, according to the stats.

So be sure to plan ahead and check the forecast to make the most of the bad weather – or use weather triggered marketing tools to schedule posts according to latest weather information. It’s not all bad; after all, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain!


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