Study: Standalone RSS Ads Stand Out

  |  December 14, 2005   |  Comments

RSS ads that appear as solo feed items perform nine times as well as those bundled with content.

SAN FRANCISCO - RSS ads appearing as individual feed items generate a 7 percent click-through rate (CTR), over nine times higher than ads displayed within content posts. That's according to a new study released today by RSS ad firm Pheedo, which compiled the research based upon its network of 8,000 publishers.

"We're trying to find what's the perfect ad unit for RSS," Bill Flitter, Pheedo's VP of marketing, told ClickZ News.

Pheedo lets advertisers target ads in RSS feeds by category and sub-category, allowing publishers to reject ads they find unsuitable for their audiences. Standalone ads in Pheedo's network tend to be content-heavy and branding-oriented, rather than geared toward generating a direct response. These targeting and creative characteristics likely have an effect on the click-through rates Pheedo observed.

The study also looked at the frequency of ads in RSS feeds, finding that placing an ad in every other post was most effective in garnering click-throughs. When publishers placed an ad in every feed post, the click-through rate came in at 1.04 percent, whereas limiting ads to every other post resulted in a 3.24 percent CTR.

When it examined readership trends in RSS feeds, Pheedo found click-through rates on content -- when readers clicked through from summary or headline feeds to the full content on the Web site -- varied significantly based on day of the week. In a change from the first time Pheedo conducted its research, the company found peak click-throughs occurring on Mondays and Saturdays, with Thursdays and Fridays being the slowest click-through days. Previously, the company had pegged Tuesdays as peak click-through days. Most publishers Pheedo works with offer summary, rather than full text, feeds.

Feed readership showed a different pattern. Tuesday and Wednesday are peak days. After Wednesday, feed reading declines through the weekend. Readership on the weekends is 67 percent lower, on average, than through the week.

Most of that reading occurs on the Bloglines aggregator, which has 34 percent market penetration. Yahoo, NetNewsWire and Mozilla are runners-up, with about 14 percent penetration each, the study found.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Parker

Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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