James Arnold, Chief Digital Officer, Rooster Strategic Solutions

Last year, Rooster introduced an independent review of 37 agricultural company websites across six categories. Using the same tools and measurements, this is an “apples-to-apples” approach that companies can use to see where they rank, and advertisers can use to compare publishers. It is presented as quality directional data accessible by most in the industry through a respected toolset. 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 Q1 report and some takeaways (based on SEMRush data):

Agriculture.com continues to hold court in the battle of the Ag publishers. When Agriculture.com took the top spot last quarter, we promised to keep an eye on this race. Since then, the Meredith product has maintained its lead while Farm Progress and DTNPF notched incremental gains. Meanwhile, the historical leader, AgWeb, fell below 1 million monthly visits for the first time since we started tracking. Overall traffic is down across the category, with search traffic dropping more than 50 percent since Q4. Will traffic numbers rise as spring planting commences and the country continues to move past the effects of the pandemic? Stay tuned.

Beef Magazine maintains its lead in cattle news visits. Another interesting development from Q4 was Drovers.com, which saw the number of visits to its site plummet from more than 600,000 last May to fewer than 200,000 in December, dropping it into second place. Beef Magazine, the current leader, suffered a similarly steep decline but maintains a slim lead. The number of visits is down significantly across the category, but with the Cattlesite.com and Cattlerange.com making small gains, it’s now a four-bull race. We’ll continue to watch this.

Hoards closes the gap on Dairy Herd. What a difference a year makes! Last May, DairyHerd.com was the clear leader in dairy news visits, with 250,000 more visits per month than any competitor. Today it’s a literally neck-and-neck race between Dairy Herd and Hoards, with ProgressiveDairy.com in the third spot.

Seed site traffic continues to drop. With the number of visits to Pioneer.com dropping from nearly a million per month to fewer than 250,000, the whole category is off 65 percent compared to last August. Search traffic is the big drop for Pioneer. Will there be another significant bump in traffic in Q2 and Q3, as we saw in 2020?

By the way, given some of the fluctuations in the numbers we are seeing, we reached out specifically to one publisher to investigate. We’ll update if we learn more.

What’s next? We’ll keep watching. Look for another report in April. 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.