RSS feeds – clickthroughs going down

This from an interesting interview with Feedburner on

Lessons from the Cutting Edge: RSS Advertising
: One general theme from Feedburner’s testing will be of special interest to publishers: click-through rates from RSS feeds back to sites are decreasing. The company says this is happening across all the feeds it manages.
“If RSS popularity continues to increase, and it becomes less and less a vehicle for driving site traffic but more and more its own content-viewing medium, that presents an interesting situation to publishers,” Dick said.

Probably a more likely explanation is that people are adding more and more RSS feeds to their readers, but don’t have any more actual time to click through to full websites. So an individual site’s proportion of their attention is going down. But I think what Dick says about RSS becoming a “content-viewing medium” in its own right is really interesting. What’s the balance between keeping the “rapid read” capacity of RSS, and just mimicking the browser? In fact, what’s the point of RSS becoming just another web browser? And are we going to end up putting as much junk into RSS feeds as we’ve put onto websites, so something else comes along and replaces it with the original stripped-down purity of RSS?

One thought on “RSS feeds – clickthroughs going down

  1. Great post, Lloyd. I rarely click-through from my RSS feeds unless there’s something really compelling. But I’m spending much more time on “info management” than ever before. I’m continually deciding which web sites I can subscribe to and which I want to keep browsing.

    I’m at the point with RSS, too, where I’m considering setting up separate streams on separate services so I can categorize one for news, one for Flick’r photo feeds and perhaps one for media-related and DRM/copyright issue stuff. Controlled dis-aggregation, if you will.

    My problem is that RSS delivers so much with such simplicity that I use the time it frees up to go find more stuff, not go deeper into the stuff I already have.


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