RSS Works: Hard Metrics to Prove It

Marketers are constantly asking if RSS marketing works and if this can be proved.

It's time to take a look at some real-life RSS metrics from real-life marketers. These will show you what kind of results you can expect to see from RSS.

I first presented this data at the Syndicate Conference in New York City, the first conference entirely devoted to RSS.

To make a point, we'll take a look at RSS metrics from 4 different viewpoints, each demonstrating one facet of RSS marketing and a different way of capturing RSS metrics. This data combined will give you the answer of whether RSS marketing is for you, as an addition to e-mail marketing, or not.

1. CLICK-THROUGH RATES FROM RSS FEED TO SITE: THE RSS AGGREGATOR SIDE

RSS statistics should be most relevant when coming from actual RSS aggregators and their vendors, since these people can measure precisely how their users are actually using RSS.

Customer Reader [http://www.customreader.com], who just recently launched a desktop RSS aggregator, which marketers can brand for themselves and then distribute to their readers, supplied us with their latest data. This data is based on 3,500 users of their brandable RSS aggregator and on the last [two weeks ago] 48 hours of their reader usage.

The most interesting piece of data is the 23% average CTR (click-through rate) from feed to site within last 48 hours, which proves that RSS works in terms of getting readers from the outbout message to the site. RSS users are actually clicking on RSS content!

Now, what is the "feed-to-side" CTR? It simply means that 23% of the end-users that subscribe to various feeds, clicked at least once on one of the content items in the feeds they are subscribed to.

2. CLICK-THROUGH RATES FROM CONTENT ITEM TO SITE: THE RSS SOLUTION VENDOR SIDE

Considering the different RSS metrics systems and the fact that no marketing tool whatsoever can be measured 100% precisely from the outside tracking service side, seeing stats from RSS solutions vendors is important as well.

On this end, some basic stats were supplied from SimpleFeed [http://www.simplefeed.com], the providers of one of the more advanced RSS marketing solutions.

The stats are based on an app. 10,000 end-user sample, 30 day average and 4 months of data.

They are seeing a 6.8% average CTR from content item [individual content item in an RSS feed] to site and a 150% [1.5 clicks] average CTR from feed to site within 30 days.

3. SUBSCRIPTIONS AND CLICK-THROUGH RATES: THE MARKETER/PUBLISHER SIDE

And finally, let's take a look at the stats from the publisher/marketer point of view.

Lockergnome.com is one of the most popular tech sites on the internet.

Although they are serving a more tech savvy audience, Lockergnome is an excellent example of the results you can ultimately hope to achieve using RSS.

First of all, they are seeing a ration of 5:1 in favor of the number of RSS subscribers against e-mail subscribers, and even more interesting, a 500% better clickthrough ratio with RSS than with e-mail.

4. SEARCH ENGINE VISIBILITY

The BTI Group is a smaller VoIP provider and, through their high ranking blogsite [http://blog.btigroup.com/], the proof that RSS works for search engine positioning.

Here are just some of their achievements, as a result of their RSS marketing activities ?

a] 120 page-one search results on important industry search terms#1 Voip vs traditional phone system #1 VoIP solution provider#2 VoIP small business#2 VoIP architecture#5 VoIP phone equipment#6 VoIP benefits#7 VoIP Small Business costs

b] A 75% increase in traffic to the corporate website

c] BTI's link popularity jumped from 164 in June 2003 to 1312 in December 2004 to 1405 in February 2005

OVERVIEW

These metrics clearly show that RSS works for marketers and publishers.

This data alone, also considering that RSS clearly gets 100% of your content delivered and actually provides you with an abundance of new marketing opportunities, such as podcasting, should be enough to make you do something about RSS now.

Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik

Rok Hrastnik is the author of "Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS", acclaimed as the best and most comprehensive guide to RSS for marketers by leading RSS experts. The complete guide on RSS for marketers: http://rss.marketingstudies.net/index.html?src=sa7

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