Training and acquiring Kenyan farmers for $1/user using

The Objective

6th Grain needed a scalable approach to acquiring and training farmers to map fields with their Android App, Field Focus Light, in Kenya

The Outcome

6th Grain were able to train and register farmers for $1/user using training and digital ads, this reduced costs by over 10x

"'s digital training provided us with the missing piece to getting to scale at such a low operational cost per farmer… it’s the right digital educational tool for helping organizations to more effectively target smartphone-owning farmers in Africa"
Molly Brown, 6th Grain Chief Science Officer

6th Grain provides agribusinesses and organisations with a full suite of fact-based digital solutions using focused local data to strengthen the agricultural system. They have developed an Android app Field Focus Light that allows farmers to map their own fields and keep detailed field records. The app is free to download but the 6th Grain team faced a challenge getting farmers to learn about, download and successfully map fields in Kenya. As a digital tech company focused on remote solutions, 6th Grain set out to get farmers to download FieldFocus Light without any in-person employee intervention, so they needed a 100% digital strategy.

Using combined with digital advertisements they were able to register over 2000 farmers for $1/user. These farmers went through training on as well as downloaded the Android app to map fields. This created a scalable and replicable onboarding model for acquiring farmers that works across any African country.

Background to the project

The 6th Grain team enlisted the team to support them with a user-centric re-design of their Field Focus Light app. Before we redesigned the application, farmers required significant support in mapping their fields using the app. After the redesign farmers could map fields with ease.

See our lead farmer user tester Cathy give her feedback on the redesigned app below:

An initial approach that failed

Onboarding users is tough. Using digital advertising tools like Facebook is appealing because we can target countries like Kenya and construct audiences that have interests in agricultural related activities.

To establish a benchmark, 6th Grain initially created a set of ads to get users to download FieldFocus directly, i.e. the link in the ad pointed straight to the app store. The results weren't great. Costs per app download were sky high and after downloading users weren't mapping fields.

A prototype onboarding journey

Why didn't the initial approach work?

It's good to remember that trying to market your Android app directly can be challenging for multiple reasons when it comes to emerging markets like Kenya:

  • If users download your app they often have to remove another: users in Kenya typically have older Android phones with less storage available for apps.
  • Ads are good to drive awareness but not understanding: explaining your app's value to the user in a picture and a single tagline might be ok for simple apps, but when your application has complex functionality, like FieldFocus Light, it can be hard to communicate this in an ad.
  • It's a good idea to use web pages before driving people straight to app stores: sending users directly to the app store can be an abrupt experience, generally ads work best when sending users to well designed web pages that are easy to access and provide clear information on the purpose and benefits of the application.

Building a training in 60 minutes to solve the issue

"Creating lessons and modules on gave us the short turn-around needed to quickly create and publish lessons…this drastically reduced the time needed to test new digital ad strategies"
Molly Brown, 6th Grain Chief Science Officer

The 6th Grain team then created an initial micro-training course using the simple drag-and-drag drop web editor on drag and drop course editor
Building the course in's drag and drop editor

This course had some straightforward requirements, it was:

  • Short and quick to create: the course was short and engaging for farmers, and easy to create for 6th Grain team (~1 hour of work)
  • Include Call to Actions to download the Android app: include multiple call to actions at every stage to encourage users to download the FieldFocus light app from the app store.
  • Build understanding of the App's value: the instructional material had to help build the farmer's understanding of FieldFocus Light's value and how to actually use it
  • Available as a web URL: the course had to be shareable as a public web page that is easily accessible for any farmer through a browser on their smartphone. This is something that comes as standard in the platform.

Digital course to onboard kenyan farmers course overview

The team were able to construct and release their first digital training very fast. You can see for yourself how this resulted in a fun and informative experience on a smartphone that helped build the farmer's understanding of FieldFocus Light.

Demo of digital course for Kenyan farmers
Example of a user going through the course

How to use digital training to register farmers for $1/user

Now instead of onboarding users straight to the play store from an ad, which wasn't driving good results, 6th Grain were able to send users to their digital training, which included multiple opportunities to prompt users to download the app.

Using digital course to get android app downloads in Kenya

By adding web based digital training as an intermediary to the enhanced Field Focus app, the 6th Grain team built a purely digital onboarding strategy for driving users from digital ads, to digital training to downloading an app to mapping a field.

Using Facebook Ads to acquire Kenyan farmers

Using this approach the 6th Grain team were able to register new farmers from digital ads for under $1/farmer, this was over 10x less than their initial approach.

Key Results

The approach was extremely successful, over the course of a couple of months the 6th Grain team used to drive around 25,000 user interactions and over 2000 registrations.

Impact analytics kenyan farmers
Snapshot from 6th Grain's usage analytics dashboard

Using the digital ad campaign provided 6th Grain with a wide variation of users over Kenya, with a particularly string concentration in typical farming areas of Western and Central Kenya.

gender breakdown farmers kenya
Snapshot from 6th Grain's demographic's dashboard

6th Grain are now using this model as the primary mechanism to onboard and educate users about their Field Focus Light application. Not only this, but they can share the digital training they have created on how to use Field Focus Light with any of their clients. This makes it easy for any agribusinesses or organisations to train their own networks of farmers to use the Field Focus Light app.


Farmers registered on


per registered user aquired from digital ads


Field Focus Light Android App Downloads


App downloads converted into registered Field Focus users

"We proved we could acquire farmers in Kenya for 1 USD... that's an amazing result"
Alex FitzGerald, 6th Grain Product Marketing Manager

Read more

This work was made possible as part of a grant from the Tetra Tech project Enabling Crop Analytics at scale. You can read a more in depth report about the findings from this work here.


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