The Importance Online Advertising in Agriculture

In todays Agribusiness, companies are facing many challenges; from cost cutting, to consolidation, the need to be more frugal and being results oriented when it comes to Advertising or Media Buys.  As usual, with most companies the marketing budget goes first (which it shouldn’t) because all business relies heavily on repetition and name recognition for long term sustained growth.

With advertising budgets shrinking, it seems like companies are spending more on analytics to track the effectiveness of their ads.  Is this a good approach? We all need proper spending and tracking but the concern I am seeing is that the budget is being put into someone or resources to “Track things” when at the end of the day I believe those tracking numbers do not justify, or in any way shape or form track the effectiveness of advertising, which is nearly impossible (in the sense that tracking is a science).  You need to continue to invest in your company, brand, and to speak to your customers.

Tracking and effective ROI and measurement, have become an overthinking process.  Over analyzing the analytics is holding a lot of companies back from simply putting together an effective campaign.  For example, if you track clicks, is that even a proven viable measurement or do we just need something to put in a decision makers hands for an easy yes or no? Is it proven that if someone clicks on your ad that you have made sale? Clicks are good to see some activity but that does not count the times people have visually seen your ad and remembered you, or opened another window, watched your video, or the countless number of other ways effective advertising can be measured.

With online advertising, web ads are most effective for exposure as they allow your message to be seen over and over again, consistency! With a print ad, companies still do not ask for a metric, they insert an ad each month, seemingly, because they believe it reaches the hand of a decision maker. With web advertising you can: track searches on article, host videos, provide content, sponsor pages, and many other unique options to create a heightened campaign. Tracking these numbers are of greater value, as you can see how many times someone searched for your product on a website. Now this is good information to know.

5 key points to consider when looking to use Digital Media to track effectiveness:

  1. Is the publication read? What kind of exposure will you receive?
  2. How is the customer service?
  3. Do you feel you are getting good value/experience?
  4. Are you investing enough to make it work?
  5. Are sales in your company increasing?

If you have a marketing budget you need to examine this. For print to have a placement once a month is good exposure. With tradeshows we hear people say “We have to be here”. Digital adveritisng is still new in Agribusiness, print is a touch, and a tradeshow is face to face, so customers may have a tough time with digital advertising since it is not a direct contact. However, most importantly with a digital site; customers can access it weekly, where content flow and exposure helps to offset the shows and other magazines for continuity and brand building. More than ever you need to leverage digital assets whether it is a brand ad or something higher level like a video or sponsored page. This is the same concept as sponsoring an event, websites like ours need the support to receive the 365 hosting and content/editorial added.  You need to constantly tell your story, maximize where people see you.

Realistically, nothing has changed with advertising between now and 50 years ago. Computers have taken over the world and analytics are helpful but let’s have realistic ways to track digital advertising.

Ways to track:

-Impressions (how many people saw your ad)
-Searches (are people searching for keywords)
-How much value do you place on overall exposure
-Gut Feeling (instincts are a habitual way of life)
-Look at several factors and create a score based on those factors to track (not just 1 number)

What we want to do is to challenge your critical thinking and ask: can you leverage the many tools and consistency for web advertising/marketing and maybe build effectiveness through using our channel by keeping and open mind? We need to stop over thinking a metric/report that someone wants a number to validate success.

Exposure is exposure. Exposure is a crucial yet, valuable marketing tool to help promote and communicate with customers. Until analytics can prove to be viable, to a direct link in sales, just keep doing the right things, in the right places, with consistency and effectiveness. Don’t be afraid to work with your instincts, own a campaign and make it work!

Jim Eadie

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