In the WSJ’s special section, Technology Innovation Awards, on Oct. 24, 2005, David Kesmodel has an excellent article on the state of advertising in RSS feeds, Really Simple Sale.
Since it’s buried behind the subscription wall, here’s a few highlights:
RSS feeds “are the next avenue for smart marketers to look to,” says Jeff Hinz, a senior vice president for ID Media, an Interpublic Group unit that helps companies decide where to spend ad dollars. “You’re reaching a consumer who’s raising his hand, who’s looking for relevant information.”The article mentions Googole’s AdSense tests with RSS, Yahoo’s experiments with Feedburner, and the Washington Post selling ads in their RSS feeds. The article also talks with Pheedo, an ad broker that negotiates placement in RSS feeds. Camera maker Nikon Corp. and GoToMeeting.com are using the Pheedo service.
Paul Volen, vice president of product marketing for Yahoo Search Marketing, says it’s “way too early” to tell whether placing ads in RSS feeds will become a significant source of revenue. But one advantage of the advertising method is that subscribers to the feeds don’t fork over any personal information, such as an email address, so that fewer privacy concerns than they do with other types of online advertising.
Pheedo uses three pricing models, not that different from typical banner ads: Flat fee to have an ad appear for a certain period of time; Pay a fee for each time an ad appears; Pay per click-through. A VP at Pheedo is quoted saying that some advertisers will pay as much as $2 per click-through.
What’s interesting is that the article makes no mention of using RSS to deliver classifieds, jobs and real estate listings, or product sales information. Amazon has RSS feeds for virtually every product category. As do Buy.com, craigslist and Monster.
According to RSS marketing expert Rok Hrastnik, “The true power of RSS for end-users, in direct relation to marketing, is getting precisely the content you want, carefully adjusted to your needs, at exactly the right time.”
“For marketers, this means delivering highly relevant information that directly addresses the needs of their audiences. For end-users, this means consuming only the information tailored to their interests.”
“To see what I mean, take a look at the RSS feeds provided by CityCrybs. Then, go on to their search page and see how far they let you customize your search, which then produces a dynamic RSS feed, tailored specifically to your interests.”
Given the potential of RSS, it’s strange that sites like CareerBuilder, Vehix.com and eBay have stayed away from this marketing tool. It’s probably only a matter of time. Like the WSJ article says, when Windows Vista arrives with RSS integrated into IE, RSS will probably cross the chasm.