James Arnold, Chief Digital Officer, Rooster Strategic Solutions
Last year, Rooster introduced an independent review of agricultural company websites. This is an “apples-to-apples” approach that compares third-party visits/share data across categories, so companies can see where they rank, and advertisers can compare publishers. It is presented as quality directional data accessible by most in the industry through a respected toolset. The tool’s algorithm changed in March 2022, so we have been monitoring a few notable skewing situations.
The analysis/assumptions provided are my own. We provide this report first to our clients, along with more context and sophisticated metrics, before providing this free to the public.
Here’s the latest report and some takeaways (based on SEMrush data).
Agriculture.com is taking the lead in ag news. Overall traffic to ag news sites dropped significantly from the end of 2021 through July, falling by nearly 60 percent. During that same period, Agriculture.com overtook AgWeb for the top spot and has held it consistently for the last five months. We’ll keep an eye on this one to see if these are anomalies or a “new normal” in this category.
What does TractorHouse.com see in its rearview mirror? Iron Planet. After years of dominance, TractorHouse.com seems to have a real competitor in Iron Planet, which jumped into the top spot last spring and finished July in a dead heat. This will be an interesting race to watch over the rest of the calendar year.
What’s going on with the poultry sites? This was already one of the more volatile categories, with overall traffic dropping nearly 60 percent last year, and no other comparison shifted more from the algorithm changes in March than this one. PoultrySite still leads the category, despite a massive drop in visits this year.
Chronofhorse.com extends its lead in the equine category. And it’s not even close, as the site is consistently generating more visits than all other entrants combined, with better on-site duration times and a lower bounce rate.
Pioneer is acting like Pioneer again. Overall traffic in the seed category is still a fraction of what it was in 2020 when the five sites we watch were consistently pulling in more than a million visitors per month. But like it did in 2020, Pioneer is pulling away from its competitors. The jump of 300,000 visits over the past few months could mean a late summer spike, something we’ll keep an eye on.
AgLeader and Precision Planting vie for the lead in the most-contested category. Last summer, AgLeader lost the top spot it had routinely held throughout 2020 to Precision Planting, which opened a commanding lead, capturing as much as 70 percent of the category’s visits. Then, in a startling reversal that is a characteristic of this incredibly volatile category, Precision Planting fell back into the middle of the pack. Kinze and 360yieldcenter are battling for the bronze medal but could easily jump to the top of this hotly contested division. Stay tuned.
What’s next? We’ll keep tracking these websites. And we understand that a report like this raises as many questions as it answers. That’s why we provide our clients with a smorgasbord of options, from a one-time web audit to a comprehensive, ongoing analysis. If you’re ready to dive deeper, I’d love to have a conversation.