According to March traffic, as measured by Nielsen/NetRatings, the site owned by Landmark Communications racked up 37.8 million unique visitors, making it a more highly trafficked web property than broadcast TV network sites.
Reference works well online
To what does Weather.com owe its success? For one thing, it's primarily a reference site, a genre that does very well online. And it spends a lot of time and energy on search-engine optimization and marketing. Lately it has seen its distribution through widgets growing as well. General Manager Joe Fiveash also gives a big chunk of the credit to the site's singular focus on weather.
"That's all we do, we don't do 10 other things. ... Consumers pick up on that. And the URL reinforces that," he said. But the site has also smartly expanded into all areas that touch weather, recognizing there's often a variety of reasons people care about the day's forecast. "We try to make the planning aspect using the weather as tailored as we can to the activities they want to engage in," he said. "Nine times out of 10 they're coming to the site with a specific task and if we can make that experience better, it's going to be a more useful experience."
Michael Koziel, exec VP-North America at Nurun, said they have been long a consistent and flexible ad partner.
"Our criteria has a lot more to do than just finding somebody who's got the best prices on a CPM," he said. "We look for media property partners that will help us find the right places to connect with consumers and create the right kind of content and context that expands the ad potential on a property."
Good use of allergy season
Mr. Koziel points to Weather.com's allergy sites as having done that well, filling both a consumer need and creating the right context for pharmaceutical marketers to reach those consumers that might need their products.
"Much of the time we spend building out those lifestyle areas we do because advertisers are very interested in them," Mr. Faverish said. "We try to focus on things that will please our two big customer groups: consumers and advertisers."
And it's never enough to be complacent. Consider that Weather.com has been a mobile player since that category's early days as well. Currently, the site ranks eighth, behind only the mobile search portals and CNN, according to M:Metrics.