Do Marketers Really Need RSS?
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Title: Do Marketers Really Need RSS?
Word Count: 822
Author: Rok Hrastnik
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Do Marketers Really Need RSS?
Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik
The recent Forrester Research study, which claims that only
2% of online households in North America use RSS, took the
internet marketing world by storm. Does this data really
mean that marketers can still afford to ignore this channel?
Soon after the Forrrester study became public, I received a
press enquiery asking whether marketers should be
interested in RSS now that so few online adults use it.
Is this the correct question to ask? Let’s take a look at
the bigger picture …
1. THE FORRESTER STUDY VALIDITY
The Forrester study is just one of those available and
cannot be considered as the only relevant study, although
it was conducted on a sample of 68,000 households.
Jupiter Research estimates RSS penetration at 12% of the
American online population, while the latest report from
PEW shows that 9% of the American online population has a
good idea of what RSS is. An October 2004 PEW study
actually estimated RSS penetration at 5%.
It is also important to understand that Forrester data does
not include those that might not even be aware they are
using RSS, especially through services such as My.Yahoo,
which is actually the most popular RSS reader.
Also, at the same time, Forrester Vice President Henry
Harteveldt says that »RSS is critical for any organization
that wants to reach out to people under the age of 30«.
2. THE FUTURE GROWTH OF RSS
Regardless of the numbers we put our faith in, the future
growth of RSS is without question. Microsoft just recently
announced full RSS support in the next edition of their
Internet Explorer browser and full RSS integration in the
next edition of their operating system, the Windows Vista.
Once RSS becomes easily available to most internet users
out-of-the-box and becomes as widely spread as bookmarks,
its adoption will grow at an incredible rate. Microsoft has
now made sure this in fact will happen.
Consequently, the time for marketers to not only become
interested in RSS but also master it is now. Those that
test and discover the best possible ways of using RSS for
marketing will be ahead of their competition once everyone
starts using RSS.
Furthermore, since RSS implementation can actually be free
of any charge, there’s no reason not to start providing
your content in RSS feeds now.
3. GOOGLE SHOWS THE WAY
Microsoft and Yahoo! aren’t the only big players to show
support for RSS. Google recently launched RSS advertising
as part of their Google AdSense program, giving publishers
reason to start their own RSS feeds to generate direct
Those that depend on Google AdSense for part or all of
their online revenues actually need to provide RSS feeds,
or stand to lose some of those revenues due to their
visitors switching to sites and feeds from their
Face it, today many users are already starting to request
publishers provide them with RSS to subscribe to their
content. This trend will only continue, with many users
selecting RSS as their primary channel of receiving and
reading online content.
4. THE QUESTIONABLE RELIABILITY OF E-MAIL
All marketers today are experiencing e-mail delivery
problems, constantly wondering whether their messages are
getting through or not. Simply put, e-mail can no longer be
For one, offering your content via RSS as a supplement to
e-mail will help you make certain that at least a portion
of your visitors, those that decide for the RSS option,
will be receiving all of your content without any doubt.
Lockergnome.com decided to start pushing RSS instead of
e-mail some time ago, and as a result saw that their RSS
feeds are outperforming e-mail when it comes to
clickthrough rates for about 500%. Also an interesting
fact, they today have 5 times more RSS subscribers than
And two, for your most important content updates, RSS
really is becoming a must, especially if you need to be in
contact with your existing customers, partners and other
key audiences. If you want to be 100% certain that your
messages reach your audience, RSS is the way to go.
5. OTHER BENEFITS OF RSS
But all of the above don’t even touch all the reasons why
marketers should start using RSS today …
a) RSS will help you generate additional traffic and reach
new audiences. Considering the low cost of RSS
implementation, this is reason enough to get started with
b) RSS helps you to easily get your content published on
other sites, thus generating you more credibility and
c) As a publisher you can use RSS to display content from
other sources, thus making your site more relevant and
interesting to your existing visitors.
And the list goes on and on.
RSS may not be mainstream yet, but it provides enough
advantages even today to make it a must-choice for
About the Author:
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