Ok, a quick one tonight with a few links on RSS. I've been researching this for a while now and it looks like I finally get to present a strategy on using RSS for marketing to a financial services company's client base. Even with the adoption rate being on the low side right now, using a company like SimpleFeed's secure RSS solution makes a ton of sense for banking and brokerage.
First study was released by Jupiter Research and it is titled RSS Comes of Age which looks at the spending of companies on RSS. The first key point in the study was that 63% of large companies plan to push out content by the end of 2006; up from the 29% recently reported. The study also found that 48% of current RSS publishers are spending at least $250K managing the content. So, you have to ask yourself why are you ignoring this channel? It is very easy to generate content and have it formatted for free over at Feedburner so it is just not headlines and text. Or, you could go to a company like SimpleFeed and customize while pushing it out in a secure fashion. Plus, SimpleFeed's tracking tool rival anything you might get from your email vendor (I know it sounds like I'm a shill for them, but so what?)
Pheedo released a quarterly Pheed report on RSS and it provides great information on advertising in RSS feeds as well as penetration. I've seen a few sites that are talking about the click rates of ads placed within feeds, but for me I'll take a pass for now. Not on advertising in RSS, but more on the data. I think right now any numbers that are being reported are more of a halo effect because it is so new. Witness the chart which shows the categories receiving the highest CTR - comics, travel, and kids. None of the feeds I'm receiving include them and you can be sure when I see the first few I'll click on them too.
What is very interesting is the number of people that read entire feeds via their feed reader (90%) which again means that you should be formatting it properly so it appears like a web page or an email. Bloglines still maintains the largest share of the feed readers coming in at 30%, but down from last quarter. Yahoo is next followed by Mozilla (firefox - pick it up today. Why are you still slogging away with Explorer?). The market is very fragmented so the best thing you can do is include enough versions to please as many people as possible.
RSS is coming fast to the average web user and once a critical mass of retailers embrace it, I think you'll see a tipping point. Try this out if my posts haven't convinced you yet. Go to bloglines and setup a free account. Then go over to ebay and type your favorite product search in and instead of looking via ebay, click on the RSS feed at the bottom of the page. Now, whenever something new is added to the auction, you'll get a news feed. If that doesn't convince you, send me an email or comment back below, and we'll talk.