Thursday, January 12, 2006

RSS Ad Stats

With RSS traffic and RSS reader adoption booming, ad impressions on traditional sites will inevitably go down. Web publishers will need to work out how to make money off of the RSS r/evolution via embedding ads in RSS.

For some very useful statistics on RSS advertising click-through-rates and RSS reader behavior, check out Pheedo's blog - Pheed Read #1 and # 2.

The feeds are instructive and suggest that RSS ads significantly outperform traditional web advertising wrt CTRs. Furthermore, given RSS subscriptions allow for more effective targeting and segmentation it is likely that the CPCs will be higher than with traditional on-line ads. Web publishers may find that driving RSS usage increases ad-related revenues despite a decline in "home site" web-site page views.

I would love to talk with people working actively in this area. Thanks to Pheedo for the data.


  1. Hey Will! We're all ears on what you'd like to know about RSS ads, Pheedo and the effects of RSS subscription traffic on traditional web readership.

  2. Will - I think there are a number of issues with the Pheedo analysis. As an investor in FeedBurner, we've spent an enormous amount of time looking at this stuff and have a very large data set as a result of managing over 175,000 feeds.

    With regard to what you highlight in this post, the clickthrough rate analysis is deeply flawed. There is always a baseline CTR on any item in a decently subscribed feed of around 4-6%, regardless of what's in the item. This is because a) a small percentage of users click on ALL headline links in a feed, we can see this from our data, usually coming from where they only see the link and title b) a percentage of RSS clients pre-fetch any headline in order to do things like "more like this" analysis or caching for later offline use. These clicks are not user-clicks but can come from feed readers that are valid feed clients and not bots. These clicks therefore get logged as valid user clicks but a user never did anything. We have cataloged 20 such clients. There are a number of other issues with the CTR, but this is a wildly invalid metric and is tragically flawed in many ways.