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Advertising in Feeds
As publishers have moved towards monetizing
RSS feeds, their have been vibrant discussions as to
whether advertisements in feeds are viable or whether
they will drive subscribers away. At the end of the
day while it appears that many are discussing the philosophical
approaches to ads in RSS feeds few are taking the time
to examine the options available for inserting advertisements
Ultimately the advertisements served are
going to determine the success of RSS as an advertising
medium. The ads served must be related to the content
contained in the feed. If the RSS feed contains quality
content, the ads are relevant, and the volume of ads
is in balance with the volume of content served, advertising
in RSS feeds will succeed.
Take a closer look at some of the ad serving
options currently available for RSS feeds.
Review of Current Options
Google AdSense for Feeds
Google's AdSense for Feeds offers contextually
targeted advertisements, with a wide selection of advertisers.
Google chooses not to divulge the percentage of revenue
that is shared with the publisher, so it is difficult
if not impossible to predict monthly revenue. The current
Google AdSense system for feeds is tied to blogs and
does not appear to be overly flexible.
Pheedo displays categorized advertisements rather
than contextual advertisements. The upside to this is
that Pheedo's advertisements can be used in conjunction
with Google AdSense or AdSense for feeds without violating
Google's contract. Pheedo works with the publisher to
serve advertisements from similar or related categories
associated with the feeds contents.
Pheedo's system allows for advanced ad filtering, giving
publishers control over keyword ad filtering, specific
ad filtering or url filtering. Pheedo's system also
allows publishers to sell ads to existing advertisers
whom they already have a relationship. The revenue split
is 50% and feeds can be a sponsored flat rate advertisement
or a pay-per-click advertisement, where the publisher
is only paid if the advertisement is clicked.
Kanoodle for Feeds
Kanoodles systems for providing advertisements for feeds
is similar to Google's but they do not have the breadth
of advertisers that Google boasts. Advertisements are
served based on topics, not to keywords. Kanoodle shares
50% of the revenue generated from the advertisements
with the publisher serving the ad.
When evaluating feed ad serving solutions consider the
1. Ad Relevance
In order to generate revenue from RSS advertisements
or for an advertising campaign to succeed using RSS
as a channel. It is absolutely critical that the advertisements
served in the feed contain related content, the more
related the content the higher the likelihood that the
advertisements will be of interest to the reader and
clicked. Also the closer the content relates to the
feeds theme the higher the likelihood the reader will
have genuine interest in the product or service being
2. Ad Ratio
Publishers need to retain control over the frequency
of advertisements. Readers will become frustrated with
feeds that are heavily laden with advertisements and
The advertiser is happy as they are reaching
a targeted audience the publisher is happy because their
advertisement is being clicked and generating revenue.
3. Clearly Denoted as Ads
The debate over editorial control and advertisements
rage on. It is generally considered proper net etiquette
for publishers to clearly mark advertisements to distinguish
them from editorial web content. When selecting a RSS
advertising partner consider the context in which the
advertisements are displayed. Does it blend with the
feed or site, while still being clearly marked sponsored
material? Or does the content blend so well that it
appear as a product or service endorsement from the
publisher? Credibility and reputation online matter,
and the segregation of advertisements and ensuring they
are properly denoted as such will go a long way to enhance
credibility with readers.
Clearly as RSS increases in popularity
publishers are looking for ways to monetize their content.
RSS in advertising is a logical step, and striking a
balance between quality, consistent content and occasional
related advertisements will lead to the success of advertising
in RSS feeds. If the balance is not found, publishers
may be forced to move to a subscription RSS feed model.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
a wireless text messaging software company.
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