The Met Office is the UK’s National Weather Service. As a Trading Fund within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Met Office operates on a commercial basis delivering over 4 million individual services for the UK public, Government, Armed Forces and businesses as well as countless other customers around the globe.
The organization provides expert local and national forecasts as well as services such as weather warnings, updates on how climate can affect health (e.g. pollen levels), how conditions are affecting transport networks or hospitals, forecasts for military operations across the globe and research into climate change.
In 2009, a dedicated digital team was introduced to manage the organization’s online portfolio, which has anywhere from 6 million to more than 24 million unique users per week, depending on external influences such as severe weather conditions and even astronomical events.
To differentiate in a competitive market, the Met Office overhauled its digital offerings in 2009 to better meet the needs of its audience. Specifically, it needed a way to monitor vast amounts of online data in order to demonstrate return on marketing investments which they measure in terms of reach, revenue and reputation.
The Met Office is the only government organization to offer advertising and sponsorship and it recently implemented a new content strategy as part of its plan to boost ad revenues by attracting more visitors. But to attract advertising partners and demonstrate value, having detailed insight into visitor behavior and trends is essential.
Due to the very high traffic volumes the website receives, robust analytics were essential to report on the site’s performance and visitor behaviors. This insight would enable the Met Office to optimize content around visitor interests for a greater online experience, and to provide key metrics and site ‘hot spots’ to advertisers to help them maximize their investments.
Following a strict procurement process to source a suitable analytics solution, the Met Office selected Webtrends, the global leader in digital marketing optimization and relevance through real-time, unified analytics and customer intelligence.
Simon Swan, head of digital marketing at the Met Office said:
“We chose Webtrends not only for its industry-leading analytics platform but also for the team’s expertise to help us access in-depth reporting and actionable insights into our online visitor behavior.” With our need to regularly track metrics and create reports, Webtrends’ simple and intuitive user interface particularly appealed.”
Webtrends Analytics is deployed across all digital properties and allows the Met Office to fully understand online visitor behavior, painting a clear picture of their interaction on the websites, and through mobile and social channels. The data captured helps the marketing and senior management teams understand what online visitors respond to (and what they do not) via custom KPI dashboards. This enables the team to refine the visitor journey and increase the effectiveness of targeted content and services online.
Using Webtrends’ solutions, the Met Office is also able to identify the traffic peaks and site hot spots, and advise its advertising partners on how best to invest in their opportunity with the Met Office website – in turn, increasing revenue for the company.
Swan explains, “We base our content plan on the insights we get from analytics, monitoring factors such as page referrals, time on page and visitor numbers. For example, we know that in the lead up to Glastonbury music festival, we see a huge spike in users seeking weather predictions for the area. To harness this and further improve visitor experience, we create bespoke Glastonbury and festival-related content, for example an infographic of milestones in Glastonbury’s history, or partnering with a brand that appeals to the specific demographics using the site, such as the Wellington boots brand Hunter. We then promote these through our home page and social media channels to further drive traffic.”
Webtrends Analytics has enabled the Met Office to transform its content marketing strategy through data driven insight, allowing them to create digital personas and better understand their audience behavior and content preferences. It has a far greater understanding of how well marketing campaigns are performing, how this affects visitor behavior, a greater awareness of seasonal trends and a clearer understanding of which pages attract the highest interest.
With this insight, the Met Office can invest in marketing resources and provide relevant content that is better aligned with customer interests, and can syndicate the content to other authority newswires and syndication partners to attract more relevant traffic to the Met Office website. The team at Met Office understands that a highly engaged audience is extremely attractive to advertisers.
Swan summarizes, “As we have visibility into how a campaign is running, we are able to adapt marketing to react to external factors, such as unpredictable weather, online trends or current news stories to amplify hits to the website and keep campaigns relevant. As such, we are able to build strong relationships with the brands advertising with us, which ultimately means happy partners and renewed contracts.”