Why are Ag Retailers Online?

Marketers targeting the tremendously valuable market of agricultural retailers throughout the United States are increasingly using online advertising to engage this audience. A 2012 survey by the CropLife media group (publishers of CropLife magazine, developers of CropLife.com) shares valuable insight into this audience’s online activity and the type of information that marketers can provide to engage them the most via their own websites.

The Online Audience

B2B websites generally attract a diverse audience, and that is clearly true with CropLife.com. The online audience clearly skews toward the larger ag retailers, which makes sense given that employees at larger operations tend to have more time to spend online while also being more progressive in their use of different information sources.

These survey respondents also illustrated a key trait that makes online advertising particularly worthwhile: 78% said they are responsible for purchasing products or services for their company.

Their General Web Use

Ag retailers are clearly spending more time online for work, and nearly one-third of the survey respondents reported they spend at least one hour per day online for work. And, like most web users, ag retailers depend heavily on the most common search engines in order to find the information they want. Almost two-thirds of the respondents said their online activity starts at Google, which reinforces the importance of effective search engine optimization for a supplier’s website.

The Growth of Mobile

Mobile web use is climbing tremendously among this audience. Ag retailers use multiple devices to connect to the Web. While 99% use a desktop/laptop computer to access the Internet for business purposes, 74% also use a smartphone and 38% use a tablet. The computer is still the preferred tool — 44% said they use their desktop/laptop most compared to 27% who reported using their mobile device(s) most often for work — while nearly a quarter of the respondents told us they often use their tablets in the cab and/or field.

Their Views on Email

Despite the ever-increasing number of emails filling in boxes, ag retailers clearly value informative emails. In fact, almost 70% of respondents expressed interest in receiving additional email, particularly those focused exclusively on fertilizer/micronutrients, crop protection or business management content.

Use of All Online Technologies

Not surprisingly, as ag retailers use the web more often, they also expand their use of different web-based technologies. For example, 79% of the survey respondents reported having attended a webinar (up from 47% previously), 64% report having downloaded work-related apps and 60% note they have watched online video for work.