A Winter Weather Advisory for Better MER

Steve Rekuc

by Steve Rekuc

Jan. 12 2023

We saw better performance over the last 3 months compared to last year in Total Ecommerce Revenue, MER, Facebook Revenue, and Facebook ROAS.

What happened?

We’d like to think that all of the brands in our data set (both clients and Statlas.io users) were simply better at marketing this year compared to last, but I think something else could explain the general improvement:


Snowtel West accumulation map from January 12, 2023
Source: Snotel West on Jan 12, 2023

Snow? Hear us out.

Turn your memory back to Spring of 2020.

It was a challenging time at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and much of the country stayed at home. In doing so, people focused their purchasing power from physical stores to Ecommerce. So when people stayed home, they bought more stuff online.

A lot more.

Ecommerce boomed in Q2 2020.

Tidal Wave: Ecommerce in 2020 | Sales Growth +$926M, US Ecommerce Penetration saw 10 years' growth in 3 months

You know what else keeps people at home? Inclement weather.

We couldn’t help but notice that MER started to tick upward as snow began to fall in colder parts of the country. Here is Utah Snow-water equivalent compared to MER.

Utah Snowfall vs. MER: All Stores during winter 2022-23
Source: Utah Snotel

Snowfall has been well ahead of normal this winter, with some locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California reaching +200% of median snow water equivalent. Many places throughout the West haven’t seen this much snow to start the winter since at least 2018-19.

On the more extreme end of the spectrum, people that live in areas with exceptional snowfall can’t even leave their homes:

Alta, UT has declared Interlodge (essentially, a shelter-in-place order when avalanche danger is too high) a few times this season:

Alta Ski Area: December 31, 2022
Source: Alta Instagram

Palisades Tahoe had too much snow to open for skiing.

Buffalo, NY had enough snow for people to take days to get out.

If you can’t leave your home, the only way you can shop is online - just like Q2 2020.

On the less extreme side of things, like a deep freeze in Austin, TX, residents are just less likely to venture out into cold weather that they’re not accustomed to, and don't have vehicles (and tires) that are appropriate.

So are big weather events a time to ramp up spend at a higher MER? Potentially — we’re working to formalize this theory.

Want to utilize our knowledge to help your marketing?
Give us a call today.

In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying the snowfall. I am.

Source: Steve Rekuc; Photo Credit: Bryce Williams

Steve Rekuc

Steve Rekuc is the Ecommerce Data Analyst at Common Thread Collective. Based in Vail, Colorado, he has been analyzing data from a systems perspective since his time as a graduate student at Georgia Tech two decades ago. Steve can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn examining data and providing interesting insights into ecommerce, marketing, and data analysis.