RSS Nascent Medium With Powerful Potential
At San Francisco AD:TECH Monday afternoon, there were two sessions covering RSS or Really Simple Syndication. The first session, led by Forrester Research Principal Analyst Charlene with panelists Royal Farros, CEO of Messagecast; Chris Henger, VP Marketing and Product Development for Performics; Catherine Paschkewitz, Director of Consumer Marketing for hpshopping.com. The session concentrated of the definition and technologies behind RSS and the ease, according to panelists, with which marketers can very quickly set up and use RSS to distribute opt in information, such as, coupons, specials, special events, news, to customers. All the panelists agreed setting up and publishing weblog is the easiest method of producing an RSS feed.
The second session, led, again, by Li with panelist from Citrix, Bill Flitter from Pheedo, Scott Rafer from Feedster and Stuart Watson from Syndicate IO. The biggest take away from this session is RSS is an industry in the embryonic stage with no set standards. While in its infancy, Pheedo's Bill Flitter presented a case study which claimed an RSS served text ad campaign lowered by an impressive 50 percent, the CPA for Citrix. Flitter explained while graphic ads can certainly be served via RSS, the non-standard nature of the many rss newsreaders on the market make the their delivery difficult to gauge, For the time being, he recommended to the audience marketers stick with text ads for now.
Feedster's Rafer impressed upon marketers to think of the RSS channel as a subscription channel offering self-selecting, opt-in benefits for both consumer and marketer. Syndicate IQ's Watson explained measurement of ads served through RSS is currently limited to clicks as views are handled very differently depending on the reader the person is using. He listed the important metrics marketers should look at when considering placing ads in an RSS feed or an RSS network: CPA, subscriber count, conversion ration, targeting capabilities, category and keyword targeting and registration figures.
All in all, RSS as an ad channel has promise and, at this point, is most a spam free, opt in medium, a combination very attractive to both consumers and marketers.