The Numbers are Clear: Ag Markets Using the Web More than Ever

 

By Bob West

 

Turning the calendar from one year to the next presents an obvious opportunity for reviewing key business metrics. One such group of metrics would be those from your website.

A look through the key Google Analytics data on our family of eight specialty agriculture websites tells a very exciting story, including the following key takeaways for marketers looking to reach these businesses:

  • Online ag audiences are larger than ever
  • Search, search, search that’s the key to attracting website traffic
  • Images engage, probably more so than you would guess
  • China really, really doesn’t like Google (maybe you don’t care about this one, but the amount of time our emedia team spending dealing with this issue for our FarmChemicalsInternational.com site earned it a spot on this list for 2014!)

Here’s a quick look at the key website metrics from 2014 for our site:

 Website Avg. Monthly Users Avg. Monthly Sessions Avg. Monthly Pageviews Pageview Growth in 2014
GrowingProduce.com 34,662 51,848 106,569 47%
GreenhouseGrower.com 37,819 53,890 147,311 36%
CropLife.com 21,285 32,729 84,653 34%
PrecisionAg.com 7,965 14,006 31,302 27%
Hortalizas.com 38,595 49,589 96,839 9%
FarmChemicalsInternational.com 8,684 14,300 28,483 6%
TodaysGardenCenter.com 15,738 23,074 67,003 4%
CottonGrower.com 4,980 8,381 24,876 (-18%)

 

As for the key takeaways

 

  • Online audiences in ag are larger than ever

As these numbers illustrate, the audiences for ag websites continue to grow. Pageview growth occurred on every website in 2014, except for CottonGrower.com, which included a strong international enewsletter in 2013 that was discontinued at the start of 2014.

 

A few years ago, marketers could debate the value of enewsletter and web advertising given concerns about high-speed connectivity and general web use. Those days are clearly gone. Sure, some growers and retailers have yet to fully get online, but you have to wonder if growers not using the web today are really desirable customers.

 

  • Search, search, search that’s the key to attracting website traffic

Search is simply how people find websites today. More than 40% of the visits to our websites in 2014 originated via search, which is a huge percentage given the size of our email databases and the number of content-laden emails we produce.

 

Your website is likely even more dependent on search than are our sites. This means web content and your site’s SEO are critical if you want prospective customers visiting your site rather than your competitors’ websites. (Click here if you’re interested in having our emedia team produce a free SEO audit of your site.)

 

  • Images engage, probably more so than you would guess

Converting all of our sites to WordPress in 2013/14 brought many benefits, but one that surprised us the most was the popularity of the slideshow tool we implemented. I’ve always figured that the primary benefits referenced in the ‘picture is a worth a thousand words’ axiom stemmed from how few words have to be written when good pictures are used. I never appreciated the value to the audience of pictures vs. words, but I do now.

 

Individual slideshows on our sites routinely delivered more than 10,000 pageviews. This speaks to the opportunity you have to boost your site’s engagement with growers by incorporating a slideshow tool or some other presentation of pictures.

 

  • China really, really doesn’t like Google

I won’t belabor the point, but the technological hoops to be jumped through in terms of how and where you set up hosting and so forth in order to make your site visible in China, wow!

 

Bob West is Meister Media’s Director of Interactive Sales. He can be reached at 440/602-9129 or bwest@meistermedia.com.

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