5 Major Trends In Internet Use

In 2000, eight million Americans had broadband Internet at home. A decade later, that number has grown to nearly 200 million thanks in large part to the National Broadband Plan. Not coincidentally, expanded access to high-speed Internet in rural areas has paralleled the increased Internet use among ag retailers.

Earlier this year, the CropLife Media Group (CLMG) conducted a survey asking its primary audience questions about their Internet usage and preferences. We wanted to learn how ag retailers are using the Internet in 2010 and compare the results to a similar study we conducted in 2008.

Our research revealed a number of interesting findings, but five major trends really stood out. Here is a look at those trends:

1. Mobile Internet use rising steadily. A Morgan Stanley analyst predicts that within the next five years “more users will connect to the Internet over mobile devices than desktop PCs.” While perhaps not at the pace of the general public, smartphone use among ag retailers is up 25% since 2008, according to the CLMG survey. In my September 2010 column, “Web-Enabled Phones: Get Smart,” I listed 10 ways mobile devices are being put to use by the agricultural community. From tracking weather to checking crop prices, a growing number of on-the-go ag retailers are staying connected to the Web via their smartphones.

2. Higher expectations for relevant content. Accord­ing to our survey, nearly half of the respondents (48%) said they have cancelled a subscription to a newspaper or magazine because they can get the same or related content online. This may suggest expectations for relevant, quality content online have reached the same level that exists for content in print. Of course, relevancy is always going to be subject to each user’s personal experience and what they are looking for. For some, a high-quality article with an infographic that clearly explains and answers his or her question may be perfectly relevant. For another, it may be a video interview of an industry expert addressing a new problem (i.e., soybean sudden death syndrome).

3. Online video consumption continues to climb. The number of U.S. households that are watching online video is growing four times faster than watching TV, according to a recent Nielsen study. The ag retail industry has joined the YouTube era as well, albeit on a smaller scale. More than 80% of our respondents said they have watched video online, up about 5% from 2008. When it comes to online video, interviews relating to technology (64%) was the topic that interested respondents most. It was followed by interviews relating to crop inputs (56%), product/equipment demonstrations (52%), and interviews relating to grower-customers (51%).

4. e-Learning trending upward. Web-based educational programs make use of a number of technologies, including e-mail, chat rooms, two-way interactive video teleconferencing, video streaming and voice-over-Internet. One particular teaching/training application that has struck a chord with ag dealers is the Webinar. According to our survey, more than 67% of respondents said they’ve attended at least one Webinar, up 35% from 2008. The Webinar format allows attendees to learn about topics relevant to their work, without having to spend time and money traveling. In addition, CLMG has even offered Certified Crop Advisers CEUs for attending its Webinars. For more information, visit CropLife.com/webinars.

5. Social media adoption is growing. Nearly half of all Americans are now members of at least one social network (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) — double the proportion of just two years ago, according to SocialMediaToday.com. While social network use is highest among the young, it’s not exclusively their club: two-thirds of 25- to 34-year-olds and half of those aged 35 to 44 also now have personal profile pages. Results from the CLMG survey indicate social media adoption among ag retailers is up 24% from 2008. But while memberships are up, most dealers have not yet fully immersed themselves in social media. About half (47%) of the respondents classified their level of social media use as “low” to “very low.” Only 5% considered themselves as “very high” users.

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories
Matt Hopkins5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media
June 2, 2014
These most commonly cited reasons for not embracing social media need to be re-examined. Read More
Matt HopkinsHow iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences
March 12, 2014
Dow AgroSciences' Tiffany Galloway discusses how iPads and mobile apps have completely changed the way the company's sales force interacts with customers. Read More
Matt HopkinsPrecision Agriculture: 6 Mobile Use Trends To Watch
March 3, 2014
The convergence of precision agriculture and mobile technology is highlighted by several key trends. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Latest News
Agworld Apple Watch Farm Management
EquipmentAussie Data Management Software Company Making Its Mark…
July 4, 2015
Zach Sheely, vice president of sales and operations, says that several large, well-known U.S. cooperatives (Stanislaus Farm Supply, Wilco-Winfield and Read More
Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
ManagementUnited Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes Merger & Crop Update
July 2, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the reasons behind the United Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes merger and USDA’s recent Read More
Industry NewsBioSafe Adds To Sales Force
July 2, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the hire of two new members for its service team. David Britt recently joined the team Read More
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementChesapeake Bay Clean-Up Gets Renewed Attention
July 2, 2015
The Chesapeake Bay has been called one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. It’s also one of Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
ManagementBulk Pesticide Compliance: Top 10 Areas Of Improvement …
July 1, 2015
  In honor of the 33-year run of David Letterman’s Late Show, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is happy Read More
Industry NewsArysta North America Hires Midwest Sales Manager
July 1, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the hiring of Brian Battles as the Senior Technical Sales Manager for the Midwest Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Retail FacilitiesBuilding Up Ag Retail
July 1, 2015
In the oftentimes unpredictable world we live in, it’s nice to know some things can be reliably countered on to Read More
Retail FacilitiesMaple River Grain And Agronomy Phases In Site Developme…
July 1, 2015
Marcus Construction helped Maple River Grain and Agronomy in Casselton, ND, with the design-build of its dry fertilizer, liquid chemical/seed Read More
Retail FacilitiesA&B Welding Builds A New Liquid Terminal Hub For Br…
July 1, 2015
To build its new hub facility, Briggs Crop Nutrients enlisted the help of A&B Welding. The result, an efficient facility Read More
Edon Farmers Co-op
Retail FacilitiesNew Marcus Facility At Edon Farmers Co-op Provides More…
July 1, 2015
Edon Farmers Co-Op in Edon, OH, needed a new facility to consolidate outdated locations. Marcus Construction was able to design Read More
Retail FacilitiesKinder Morgan Expands Its Storage With A New Dome Barre…
July 1, 2015
Kinder Morgan wanted additional covered storage at its Dakota Bulk Terminal on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. With Read More
Retail FacilitiesHeartland Tank Protects Fertilizer From Extreme Cold At…
July 1, 2015
The Arthur Companies in Harvey, ND, enlisted the help of Heartland Tank Companies to develop a new liquid fertilizer facility Read More
The McGregor Co. fertilizer loadout
Retail FacilitiesThe McGregor Co. Partners With Kahler Automation To Cre…
June 30, 2015
Kahler Automation helped The McGregor Co. expand its Clarkston, WA, operation with unstaffed loadout technology that enables customers to pick Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Helps CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative Build…
June 30, 2015
CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative in Mooreton, ND, wanted a liquid/dry blender system that could meet the needs of its customers Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes, United Suppliers To Merge Crop Inpu…
June 29, 2015
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, IA, today announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses. Read More
FungicidesHelena To Distribute Unique Summit Agro Fungicide
June 29, 2015
RANMAN 400 SC fungicide, the only fungicide with a FRAC group 21 designation, is now part of the innovative Summit Read More