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The Weather Company Teams With Button To Add On-Demand Services

The Weather Channel's mobile website now features Button Marketplace apps from Uber, Groupon, delivery.com, Caviar, And Resy. Does this mean the mobile web still matters?

“Mobile-first” has often come to mean “app-first” for brands and publishers, but The Weather Company’s latest effort to tie local meteorological conditions to marketing puts users’ portable device browsers front and center.

The IBM-owned company’s Weather Channel mobile site is incorporating apps from mobile loyalty, payments, and engagement platform Button. The Button Marketplace apps will be embedded in the Weather Channel’s mobile site — not the app, at least at this point — to allow consumers to hail rides from Uber, access deals from Groupon, make reservations on Resy, and order food from Groupon, delivery.com or Caviar.

The Caviar App will be shown to Weather.com mobile consumers at a moment when they’re likely to want to order some food.

Mobile Matters

The Weather Company, which includes the Weather Channel’s digital app (the TV network has remained separate since IBM acquired the company’s digital properties at the end of 2016), as well as Weather.com and WeatherUnderground.com, boasts 225 million unduplicated monthly users.

And while The Weather Channel app has surpassed more than 200 million global downloads and an average monthly audience of 50 million (14.6 million daily uniques on average as well), it has a substantial amount of users who find it through their mobile browsers. By connecting these other apps into its mobile web facing site, it can offer services that promise more engagement and revenue sharing.

Mobile makes up 68 percent of time spent in a digital environment compared to desktop, according to comScore, proving that these utility-driven devices play a big part in consumers’ everyday lives, the Weather Company and Button note.

By incorporating complementary brands into their own mobile site or app and creating a more connected space, brands like The Weather Channel are able act as a launching point for discovery and commerce, ultimately tapping into a new line of revenue while enhancing the user experience.

“With The Weather Channel’s extensive audience, our platform will enable millions of consumers to tap into daily services they need at the touch of a button – whether it’s finding a deal or ordering food,” said Michael Jaconi, co-founder and CEO of Button. “With mobile engineering resources overburdened at most big companies, Button’s platform offers scale and simplicity for launching partnerships. Working with industry leaders like The Weather Channel is showing us that ‘transactional revenue streams’ are a big part of the mobile future as more and more companies turn to transactional revenue to supplement declining ad dollars.”

Looking at The Weather Channel’s mobile site on a rainy morning? Expect to see an Uber button suggesting you take a ride to work.

Anticipating What A Weather Viewer Wants

Users will now see the Button Marketplace app brands alongside weather data on The Weather Channel mobile site, which provides forecasts for 2.2 billion locations every 15 minutes.

By pulling in context from the chosen location, The Weather Channel platform can anticipate when a user is most likely to engage with one of the branded apps based on the displayed weather data. It will then match the best merchant.

The use of the Button Marketplace within The Weather Channel’s site highlights the role of connected intelligence, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to offer consumers clear, direct information to consumers — even before they ask for it.

For example, if there’s a storm during your morning commute, an Uber Button will appear to allow users to easily call a car; if there’s a sunny and pleasant weekend ahead, a Groupon Button will promote a fun activity in the viewer’s area; if it’s a clear evening and it calls for a night out, a Resy Button will allow users to make a restaurant reservation; and if it’s a snowy evening, a Caviar or delivery.com Button would give people the option to order takeout – all with a simple tap.

“The weather plays an important role in our daily routines, activities and purchasing decisions,” said Domenic Venuto, GM of the Consumer Division at The Weather Company. ”

“We have 20 million daily mobile users checking the forecast multiple times a day and sharing their location data with us. With that data, we are able to observe their journeys and map that data back to specific, real-world places,” Venuto added. “This provides us with unique insights regarding consumers’ daily habits, rituals, and journeys, which enables us to anticipate user behavior and preferences based on specific weather triggers. Utilizing that information, we’re able to offer an optimal experience for our users and match them with the best merchant at the right moment.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.