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

Quoting a study by Successful Farming cites that “70 percent of farmers are online daily,” and almost a third are online multiple times each day. This was no doubt helped by the fact that in the past eight years, the number of farms with internet access rose from 60% to 71%, further closing the gap that divides growers from the national average of around 74%.

We have highlighted three important digital characteristics of the modern farmer, with some key takeaways.

1. Farmers Stay Close to Their Phones

First, almost all farmers own a cell phone, and the vast majority say they “always” have it with them when doing farm work. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 farmers said they “use their cell phones multiple times per day.” Multiple industry people we spoke with said they use it to scan Twitter and industry websites to scan the latest trends happening in the Industry.

Takeaway: You want to showcase your brand consistently, and effectively. Tell your story and have key messages set up through channels your perspective customers use multiple times.

2. Farmers Do More Than Just Watch YouTube—They Learn from It

Recent data suggests that YouTube is the current leader for Farmers to learn from on Social Media. Much of that is due to the educational content growers seek there, Twitter and Facebook are most important for brand building and article sharing/viewing.

According to new information posted at, 44% of farmers in a recent study said they “watch videos to acquire information on products and services for their farm.” Over half of the farmers in that survey say they use YouTube every month, many checking in with it weekly and daily.

Takeaway: Leverage You tube to showcase key product information/new products, or corporate marketing. Keep and eye on using Video as a short commentary alternative into the future. Use YouTube for information hungry farmers wanting to learn and Twitter/Facebook for brand building and content sharing.

3. Farmers Only go to Tradeshows and Read Magazines

If internet usage is up for Farmers and there are sustainable internet portals why is the focus still tradeshow and magazine advertising?  There is something to say with a personal connection at a show and the touch and feel of a magazine but we need to start working more efficiently and effectively to reach our targets daily. If the numbers are showing a digital increase it is time to add it as part of the mix. Digital advertising is like always having your fridge well stocked with food (by doing so you are completely covered at all times) and not just covered with bare necessities. Online advertising reaches potential customers at all times.