Seizing the Potential of Data Through Ad Serving to Farmers

by Grant Cassiday
December 7, 2020

An evolving digital landscape has ripened the opportunity for Ag marketers to reach farmers through digital channels and enhanced their tools for maximizing every campaign.

The digital landscape for Ag marketing has changed dramatically in recent years. Managing tags and reporting data is considered essential for good stewardship and optimization of campaigns, and a structured digital ad serving platform and dedicated digital traffic team are invaluable, if not critical. Successful marketers must maintain fluency in this dynamic digital world and understand how it benefits them.

But first, a look back. It’s hard to believe that just five years ago digital Ag marketing was limited to a small group of farmer-targeted websites with low traffic. Minimal impression volume meant few banner ads were needed for any single digital campaign. The amount of data for reporting was manageable through publisher reports – although validating reported clicks through website analytics was certainly necessary.

In those days, there were two big hurdles to successful ad serving for digital campaigns targeting farmers:  

  1. Low Ad Volume: Ad serving partners often required a minimum number of impressions per month, sometimes as much as 1 million. That bar was often too high before farmers had fully adopted online media. 
  2. Publisher Capabilities: Many Ag websites couldn’t accommodate the third-party tags required for external ad serving systems; they could only run the ads by serving them from their own system (“site served”), so the full campaign would still be run from a variety of systems.

Fast forward to today. Millions of monthly farmer-targeted ad impressions are easily achievable through Ag sites, programmatic, and multiple device platforms. It’s more important than ever for Ag marketers to understand the digital ad serving options for reaching farmers and weigh these important benefits.

  1. Data: Performance metrics are available from the moment the campaign begins, so publisher, ad unit, and message performance data can be evaluated during the in-market windows.
  2. Optimization: Always-on results tracking enables mid-stream optimizations based on how all elements are performing. Longer-term, there is a uniformity to the data you collect from one campaign to the next, year-over-year. This ensures campaign performance can be tracked and aggregated into useful benchmarks and insights based on trends.
  3. Efficiency: Campaign results are compiled in real time, and very easy to pull. The entire process of collecting publisher reports, scrubbing that data, and compiling it for review is replaced by a single report generated by the ad serving system.

All of this is good news for Ag brand budgets, too. With minimal costs to implement, ad serving can save money over the life of the campaign and improve your digital marketing effectiveness. Programmatic has driven down the out-of-pocket media costs for campaigns with a high volume of ads, and smaller Ag brands can benefit from all the efficiencies digital ad serving has to offer.

Digital ad serving for Ag campaigns is possible because we can now find and target farmers programmatically. The audience data and targeting technologies that make this possible are also opening up other opportunities for Ag marketers such as advertising in connected TV platforms (CTV), streaming audio systems (Spotify, Pandora, etc.) and general market podcasts. Until last year, none of those environments were efficient enough to consider or test for farmer-focused campaigns. That is changing very quickly. Testing Ag campaigns in all those channels has been done, and significant investment is just around the corner.

The R+K team is always tuned in to the latest developments in paid advertising. We’ll continue to offer new Ag-related trends and insights in digital ad serving here, so check Marketing to Farmers or keep an eye out for our newsletter.

If you’re taking a closer look at your digital media program and want to see how R+K can help, contact our Business Development Director Gino Tomaro at

Grant Cassiday
About the Author – Grant Cassiday

Executive Director, Paid Media. Grant has the ability to perfectly match the diverse needs of his accounts with appropriate media channels. Since joining R+K 12 years ago, Grant has been responsible for media plan development for Sandvik Mining and Construction, Caterpillar, Central Garden & Pet, DePaul University, and Aurora Health Care. Previously, he worked in-house at Allstate, and at Jordan, Tamraz , Caruso Advertising and Starcom MediaVest Group on clients including LaSalle Bank, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, Lego and ComEd.


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Since 1978, the ag-marketing experts at Rhea + Kaiser have been helping brands connect with the farmer customer.

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