Feeding Ads Through Feeds

Lockergnome’s RSS Resource: Feeding Ads Through Feeds

The conversation around RSS Marketing is heating up quickly.

A few quick observations:

1. It’s nice to think that everyone will make rich useful content free to all users unencumbered by ads to support the production of that rich useful content, but it is unlikely that we live in that world. Most people like to get a cheque from someone at some time for their efforts. People do things for non-monetary reasons, but businesses don’t. Individuals may blog and provide RSS feeds for reasons other than money, but in the long-run, companies won’t.

1. Publishers will need to decide if they want to use RSS as a notification or a delivery system.

2. If you use RSS as a notification system, there is no need to advertise directly within the RSS feed. The goal of the feed is to compel readers to click through to the site for details. Once on the site the publisher can execute their revenue model — paid or ad-based as if the reader had come to the site through other channels. My guess is that many marketers will be compelled to insert out of context, irrelevant ads into feeds and those efforts will fail. I’d also suggest that for most businesses, this is where they want to concentrate their efforts. How can you use RSS to drive traffic to your site?

3. If you use RSS as a delivery system, you need to figure out why you are doing so. I see a few options:

a) To generate revenue directly from the RSS feed. You could send ads or “ad-like” content to users but you’d want to be very careful about clearly explaining the value to the reader and keeping reader-benefit at the top of your mind whenever you “feed the feed.” My guess is this will be the hardest category to figure out, but also the most profitable for those that get it right.

b) To create awareness of your product, service, stance on an issue, expertise, etc. so that the reader will take a future action. I blog and support an RSS feed so that people are aware of my company’s best practices services. I am therefore quite happy to provide all my content via the feed because the reading of the content by an interested audience meets my goals.

c) To charge for the content delivered. I don’t know enough about the technical and business issues around charging for RSS feeds to comment on this at this time.

This conversation is just starting but my sense is that it is moving much quicker than it did when we first thought of marketing via e-mail. Let’s hope we learn from past experience.