RSS Advertising Part I – Cat & Mouse

Why RSS Advertising?
So, it has been decided that you want to target that hard-to-reach segment. The one that hates advertising and doesn’t click anyway. RSS advertising with in-feed ad networks like Pheedo show great promise at reaching these folks; more interesting is that they seem to be getting them to respond at significantly higher rates. Measurement on the other hand is still a bit dicey.

First a quick marketer-friendly primer on RSS. Typically, RSS feeds are accessed or consumed with either a dedicated standalone reader application or through a standard Web-browser accessible service like Google Reader; dedicated reader applications can be used on both desktop/laptop computers and when reading feeds while mobile. Using a special version of XML, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is published and syndicated out to subscribers that opt-in to receive your regularly updated content.

They’re Just Not that Into You
RSS has taken off and in a sense has enabled publishers to cannibalize themselves by allowing access to their content in a largely ad-free environment. Almost all major media now have at least one feed and many have multiple feeds – some even personalizable. Being able to avoiding ad-cluttered Web sites is part of the RSS appeal: think 100% signal with 0% noise. Clearly,

many are very comfortable receiving information this way.

At the same time, media companies are clamoring to sell advertising against this new platform and online markters are eager to reach these consumers. Anecdotally, the RSS audience constitutes a very desireable market segment: influential, tech-savvy, affluent and naturally early-adopters. From a behavioral standpoint, these folks are known to be much less responsive to display advertising (wrong target audience, see Natural Born Clickers by ComScore). In addition, they are more likely to actively delete cookies, opt-out of email/ad targeting and employ ad blockers to avoid advertising. With these very media-literate people – it is a game of cat and mouse.
With so much going for RSS Advertising and promising results – the challenge then is, how to definitively measure success.
To Be Continued…
RSS Advertising Part II – The Measurement Crater
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