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How Farmers Are Using Digital Content Today (With Statistics)

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Here are three important digital characteristics of the modern farmer, with key takeaways.

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As an agency that’s long served clients and their customers in the ag space, we’ve developed an ever watchful eye focused on data. It took awhile for internet connectivity to gain reliability in rural areas, but today’s growers have more than “caught up” to modern digital consumption; they’re clearly embracing it.

Quoting a study by Successful Farming, for instance, MarketingtoFarmers.com 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%. (source: agriculture.com)

To better understand how users in this demographic continue to—ahem—grow online, we’ve 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 studied said they “use their cell phones multiple times per day.”

This is something we’ve been watching happen on our clients’ web properties for years, and the trend isn’t going away: about half, and often more, of our clients’ ag customers are accessing our content from mobile devices.

Key Takeaway: If you weren’t already convinced that your web pages (and marketing emails) need to be mobile-friendly, this should be a clincher. Save your brand time and resources down the road by including “mobile-first” design and SEO in your web development work today.

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

Facebook may be the king of social media in other segments, but among social media channels used by farmers, some recent data suggests that YouTube is the current leader. Much of that is due to the educational content growers seek there.

According to new information posted at MarketingtoFarmers.com last month, 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.

social media usage among farmers

Key Takeaway:If you’re looking for ways to connect with farmers when they’re off your website, pay attention to YouTube. Video sharing isn’t just about cat videos anymore, and growers are leveraging this free, informative content to improve their businesses.

Producing and publishing content here may not be fast and simple like, say, Twitter. But the opportunities for trust-building and deeper engagement are greater.

3. Podcasts Speak to Captive Farmer Audiences

There have been some good arguments made for using digital audio content, specifically podcasts, as a way to leverage younger farmers’ idle time; while sitting in their cab, for example. New data this year from FarmJournal Media showed that over half of farmers surveyed listen to audio on their phone at least once a day, with 25% listening multiple times per day.

Similar to the way growers are using information content on YouTube to improve their farm operations, podcasts can also benefit the hungry-to-learn farmer who may also have an hour to spare while harvesting.

Frequency of Audio or Video Use

Data from FarmJournal Media's 2017 Mobile Research Study

Data from FarmJournal Media’s 2017 Mobile Research Study

Key Takeway:If video production and a burgeoning YouTube presence feel like too great a leap for your brand right now, consider what it would take to produce quality audio content. Pick a topic—too general a focus probably won’t boost your listener count—and then plan your approach. Curious to know which podcasts have already found success reaching large ag audiences?

Check out this list of 12 agriculture podcasts to follow, originally posted on AgricultureProud.com last year.

Success Is More Than Just Knowing Stats

Maybe you have the experience to engage with your ag customers, but don’t have the resources necessary to do it comprehensively. Or maybe you’re staffed for these kinds of projects, but overwhelmed by the vast options that abound in today’s digital marketing landscape.

DKY is a brand marketing, advertising, and PR agency with years of proven experience in the agricultural industry. We understand how farmers think and work, and we’re ready to help your brand reach more of them. Ready to talk?