Study Finds RSS Ad CTR Leveling Off

  |  May 17, 2006   |  Comments

Pheedo's new report shows that position, frequency and feed content category affect RSS ad click-through rates.

Click-through rates for most standard online image ads have languished at less than one or two percent for years, but some ads placed in RSS feeds are garnering much higher CTR. The "Pheed Read Spring 2006" report released today by RSS and blog marketing firm Pheedo shows that the average CTR of "standalone" RSS ads is 2.76 percent, while "inline" RSS ads, or ads within an individual feed post, are getting a .45 percent CTR. The quarterly study looks at RSS ad and content CTR and how those rates are affected by position, frequency and feed content vertical.

According to Pheedo's December 2005 report, standalone RSS ads grabbed an average 7.99 percent CTR and inline feed ads got a .85 percent CTR on average. In the new study, these rates dropped 65 percent and 47 percent, respectively. The company believes that feed ad CTR will continue to normalize; however, Pheedo VP of Marketing Bill Flitter predicted, "I think it will be a much, much less significant drop going into the next quarter."

Ad frequency is a factor. Publishers that placed inline ads within every post saw an average 1.75 percent CTR. That number fluctuated as ads were staggered between every second and third post, and so on. Relatively higher click-through rates came from ads placed in every fifth post (1.56 percent), and every tenth post (1.09 percent).

"This is somewhat driven by publisher preference," observed Dana VanDen Heuvel, director of business development at Pheedo. He noticed that in recent months publishers have begun placing more ads in RSS feeds to boost ad revenue. "This is indicative of a shift in publisher savvy, publisher intelligence, as it relates to RSS. It illustrates publishers are trying to get the most revenue from their feeds," he added.

Feed content itself had an impact on ad CTR, too, according to the report. Ads placed within Comics and Humor; Travel; and Kids and Family feed content verticals spurred the most average CTR at 9.62 percent, 8.54 percent and 7.61 percent, respectively. Games; Arts and Literature; and Sports and Recreation came in at over 4 percent, while Politics and Consumer Technology got an average CTR of less than 1.5 percent.

According to Flitter, most RSS feed advertisers fall into the Auto, Consumer Electronics and Finance categories.

"There's a very small group that's currently using RSS feeds to advertise," said JupiterResearch Analyst Emily Riley. Most, she continued, are looking to target early tech adopters like Web developers, designers and others in technical fields.

The question remains: are RSS advertisers concerned with CTR more than other metrics for determining ad effectiveness? "It's based on the goal of the advertiser," said Riley. "If the advertiser is looking to increase click-through rates for whatever random reason than that would be great." Although she believes that ad impression and CTR are often used as initial ways to measure campaigns, most advertisers, including RSS feed advertisers, typically graduate to more sophisticated metrics like conversion, brand awareness and purchase intent.

The report findings may surprise those in the online publishing world who have debated which is best: distributing complete RSS feed content or a brief summary or introduction. On average, it was discovered, summary feeds got a median CTR of 8 percent, while full feeds garnered a 10 percent median rate. The truth is most RSS subscribers, 90 percent, read feed content in their news aggregator interfaces regardless of whether full or partial posts are published there.

"This is actually positive for advertisers," noted Pheedo's Flitter, "because they have a captive audience" within the news aggregator environment. VanDen Heuvel added, "This is going to be the consumption vehicle of choice."

Pheedo sampled 50 feeds for the study, 84 percent of which featured summary posts.

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...