Geffen Brings Feeds Into Its Marketing Plan

Geffen Records is turning to RSS feeds, also known as Web feeds, to improve its online marketing and artist promotion efforts.

The record label, part of Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, plans to unveil a redesigned Web site which will include FeedBurner-managed RSS feeds for more than 50 of its artists. All of the feeds will integrate with third-party sites like MySpace and iTunes using FeedBurner’s FeedFlare service. Using the FeedFlare APIs (application programming interfaces), feeds will include direct links to rate albums at iTunes, join a band’s group at MySpace, or explore related music at Pandora, for example.

“The target audiences of our artists are plugged in and constantly in search of a direct line of communication to their favorite performers,” said Lee Hammond, director of new media at Geffen Records. “When we started laying the groundwork for the new site, our early trials indicated that the feed is one of our most loyal communication vehicles.”

Based on early tests the company performed with a few artist feeds, Geffen found subscribers to RSS feeds represent a sought-after audience, one that is four times as likely to convert than average site visitors and email subscribers.

“The nature of a feed’s audience makes them more likely to interact with your site,” Rick Klau, VP of business development at FeedBurner, told ClickZ. Klau says user engagement occurs on a sliding scale, starting with the casual, non-committed individual who visits a site once in a while, followed by more engaged users who bookmark a site, intending to visit again.

“At the extreme other end are feed users: people who say they want your content delivered to them immediately. They’re very committed, very loyal, very active individuals,” he said. “They’re far more likely to be presented with your content, and so they’re far more likely to act more reliably.”

Geffen also plans to advertise on the FeedBurner Ad Network to promote album launches, concert tours, and other promotions. The company is one of many content publishers turning to feeds to both distribute content and advertise that content to an attractive audience, Klau said. One example is motor oil company Castrol, which created a racing-themed podcast and advertised it on the FeedBurner Network.

“In order to create a loyal reader or listener, you must pay to acquire them and accelerate their adoption. Then you need to maintain that loyalty, and a great way to do that is by continuing to supply them with useful content in feeds,” Klau said.

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