Do Marketers Really Need RSS?
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 revenues.
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 competitors.
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 relied on.
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 e-mail subscribers.
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 RSS today.
b) RSS helps you to easily get your content published on other sites,
thus generating you more credibility and visitors.
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
About the Author:
Find out immediately how you can power your online business
with RSS and integrate it in all of your marketing. Request the
free 28-page Business Case for RSS report, with easy-to-follow instructions,
examples and advice on how to get the most out of RSS in the shortest
possible time. Get the free download here: http://rss.marketingstudies.net/index.html