Your Programmatic Vendor Must Know Ag

by | Dec 7, 2022

No doubt you’re hearing a lot lately about programmatic advertising. In past few years, it’s become very popular because it offers a faster, more effective process for buying and selling digital ads. The exchange between advertiser and publisher is done in an instant.

But are all vendors that offer programmatic advertising pretty much the same? Hint: They’re not. Capabilities differ quite a bit. If you’re hoping to reach an agriculture audience, you need a vendor that knows how to do it. Unlike marketing for, say, Coca-Cola, a product that most people might buy, ag products require a more complex strategy appealing only to farmers or ag audiences. Within that segment, your product or service probably will have even more specific targets—such as growers of a particular crop in a particular location. You’ll save money by only spending your budget to reach the ideal audience segment.

To ensure that you find a vendor that can deliver the ROI you want from your ads, be sure you ask the following questions:

What kind of experience do you have in ag marketing and advertising?

As you know, the agriculture industry is unique, with its own systems and cycles, its own highly individual audiences. Not all programmatic vendors have worked on an ag campaign. You want a vendor that specializes in ag, one that can guide your campaign with hyper-focused ag expertise.

How will you help me reach my ag audience?

You’re paying the vendor to enable you to target the ag producers and retailers who are most likely to respond to your ads. That vendor needs to have the right data to deliver the ad impressions to the right audience. If you’re trying to reach Farmer Jones, you don’t want to pay to also reach his neighbor or his mail carrier or every person in the vicinity who has googled ‘organic fertilizer’ for her backyard garden.

The key to precise targeting is first-party data, which companies collect—with the user’s consent—from their own sources, such as their website, eNewsletter sign-ups, magazine subscriptions, commodity market price updates, social media, surveys and CRM. Most first-party data comes from sources that capture detailed information about the user, everything from their location and the size of their operation to their role within the operation and their product interests.

At Precision Reach, for example, we use Farm Journal’s industry-leading data base, which includes proprietary first-party data along with cleansed USDA data and is fed daily by the ag industry’s most robust behavioral insights engine. Having audience segment data enables Agri-marketers to have confidence and certainty about who you are reaching!   Reaching the right ag audience with certainty gives value to every impression.

How broad and deep is your data?

If the vendor you’re talking to says they provide first-party data, remember that not all first-party data is created equal. You need to find out the source of the data. Where did it originate? You also need to know how many unique recipients they can target and how deeply they’re able to target them. In other words, how much do they know about the person receiving the message. For a successful campaign, you want data that’s as granular as possible.

Of course, you also need to know if they’re able to reach the audience segment you want. Simply targeting “farmers” can lead to a lot of waste if you need to reach 1,000+ acre Midwest corn growers. Segment coverage is essential.

How will you service my campaign?

Ask vendors if they will use an in-house team or will your campaign be managed by a third-party provider. An in-house team is always preferred. Communication with them is much easier and faster, and they have a firmer grasp on your goals. To reach those goals, they can use customized data recipes rather than rely on a generic, one-size-fits all approach. They’ll treat you as a long-term ag customer—prioritizing your goals and needs.

Can you provide timely reporting?

Not all vendors are able to provide reporting quickly enough to allow you to adjust your campaign on the fly. If a vendor can only provide performance reports when the campaign ends, you can’t optimize based on what you learn while the campaign is running. You want to be able to get updates so that if, for example, the messaging is not working, you have time to adjust it.

Can you customize your reports?

Building on the previous question about reporting, will the vendor customize reports to measure a specific aspect of your campaign’s performance? Again, you want to learn as much from every campaign as possible. Generic, off-the-rack reporting may not tell you what you need to know.

You also need to know how open the vendor will be in sharing information. Can you get answers to questions about the domains, reach and frequency of your campaign? Transparency is critical to fully understanding your campaign’s performance.

How do you ensure brand safety?

Before choosing your vendor, be sure that your brand will be protected. You don’t want your ad showing up surrounded by inappropriate content. Most programmatic vendors have brand safety rails in place on keywords and domains but verify that your vendor has set up specific brand safety rails for agriculture.

How do you make sure my ads are being served on quality inventory?

Not only is it important to serve your ads in a brand safe environment, but you also need to consider the quality of the ad inventory. Think about ad inventory as a reflection of your brand identity. Don’t let your ads show up on sites that could poorly portray your brand or product. Instead, ask your programmatic vendor about inventory options to ensure you can have access to quality inventory that positivity communicates your brand identify.

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Choosing the right data partner can make or break your next marketing campaign. By asking the right questions, you can make an informed decision before you open your wallet.


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