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RSS ad & content report

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday May 19, 2006 )

The RSS advertising industry is still very much a fledgling affair, but there’s a few companies around who provide very interesting data that’s well worth keeping an eye on.

Pheedo is one such company. Pheedo released their quarterly observation report at the Syndicate Conference a couple of days ago and it provides some good reading – especially in relation to full vs. summary feeds. A summary feed is where only a snippet of the content is displayed, with the goal of enticing the reader to view the full post – and therefore exposing them to more content or advertising on the source site.

The results of the Pheedo report are based on the performance of their network of nearly 8,000 publishers during the last quarter.

Key findings:

– 90% of people who read RSS feeds choose to do so within the the aggregator environment, and it doesn’t seem to matter if they are viewing full or partial feeds.

– The median click-through rate for headlines on full-text feeds remains at 10% while in summary feeds it drops to 8%.

– Summary feed click-through rates on content were between 2% and 55%. Feeds that only included headlines, links and lists tended to be at the low end of the scale. Full text feed content clicks scored between 5 and 15%.

– Publishers are continuing to favor summary feeds. 84% of the feeds surveyed were in summary format.

– Solo RSS advertising achived an average of 2.76% CTR, whereas ads embedded among other content in feed items averaged .45%

– The highest performing genres for RSS advertising were Comics and Humor, followed by Travel and then Kids and Family.

I use summary feeds, not just because I want people to visit the site, but to prevent full items appearing in some rather awful places – scraper sites, splogs etc. These sploggers just basically plug the content from the feed directly into their sites, often stripping off elements that identify where the post came from. The less they have of my stuff, the better IMO. There’s been a few occasions where I’ve found it necessary to warn/block a webmaster using these tools – some were hitting the blog feed hundreds of times a day.

By presenting only summary feeds, it also helps to minimize the risks of duplicate content penalties hitting me instead of them in these cases. Some search engines seem to have problems with judging the origins of content at times.

While the Pheedo reports are still based on a relatively small number of publishers, it does provide some valuable insight into the evolution of RSS participation, activity and advertising and I do think they are the company to watch as indicator of when to decide and how to get into RSS advertising for your feed.

Are you displaying ads in your feeds as yet? If so, how are they performing – I’d be really interested to know.

Download the Pheedo RSS report (PDF)

Learn more about RSS web feeds

Get the code for browser RSS autodiscovery


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