RSS Advertising Yes – Podcast Advertising No

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"’RSS and podcasting have both gone a little bit silent,’ he said. ‘Podcasting is a bust, and RSS was lumped in. It’s got a few unique challenges… but it has grown and become a part of revenue mix for publishers.’"

So says Gawker Sales Chief, Chris Batty, in the May 30th, 2008 ClickZ article titled, RSS Advertising Shows Signs of Life.

The main crux of this article is that there seems to be an opportunity in pumping ads into RSS feeds, while media planners have pretty much given up hope for doing the same in Podcasts.

Batty has some insights into this: "The latest indicator: Gawker Media sequentially grew its revenue from feed-driven traffic by 300 percent in Q1 2008."

There’s one side to this story that should excite the Digital Marketer in you: more channels, newer channels, more opportunity (and even some metrics thrown in for good measure).

Then there’s the other side: my guess is that the majority of those really into channels like RSS and Podcasting are probably also nuking ads with a Firefox extension or simply ignoring them anyway. If you’re not doing search engine marketing or leveraging your database with strategic email programs, it’s starting to look more and more like any form of display or interruption-driven advertising models are just that – an interruption. Can you count the clicks towards a branding campaign? Why not? Is there a real value in these two types of advertising? My guess would be that it’s not the most prudent long-term strategy.

This all goes back to my recent kicks on content. Why would you pollute a feed with the exact type of ads that drove people from the more traditional channels in the first place?

Am I the only one who looks at channels like RSS and Podcasting as the next great frontier to fill with compelling content and real community connections to truly build brand rapport and take Marketing to the next level?

"For marketers, the creative limits of feed advertising remain a sticking point. Kelly Twohig, SVP, digital activation director at Starcom Worldwide, said text ads and simple GIF banners are a hard sell with clients.

‘We haven’t seen [RSS] move as rapidly as other things have,’ she said. ‘It’s absolutely on our radar but still not the easiest thing to sell.’"

The stuff that works is usually the easiest things to sell (just ask Google).


  1. Hey Mitch — I am totally with you on the content thing. You just aren’t trying hard enough if you are still doing interruptive marketing. But I have to disagree about RSS advertising.
    Podcasting ads and RSS ads aren’t in the same class. Ads in podcasts are disruptive. Ads in RSS are not.
    As a consumer I want my content where and how I want it. Content free of restraints is more important to me than content free of ads. I see it as a given that content that is platform agnostic is going to have ads come with it (RSS) or have product placement in it (video).No worries at all.
    What would you say if Google launched a program to embed adwords in RSS feeds?
    Would that be a compromise you could live with?

  2. I guess Google has launched that program with Feedburner already, so I hear what you’re saying Mark.
    My challenge with is that even with text ads embedded in RSS feeds, they’re going to ignored. Maybe they’re performing ok now, but it’s going to turn into the web-based email scenario – where all of that advertising has little to no value.
    Overall, I’d like to just see relevant content from relevant brands.
    Let’s see how they roll with it.

  3. I think a form of advertising-as-content that’s often overlooked is affiliate marketing. There are countless niche lifestyle sites out there where nearly every product they mention is an affiliate link.
    In an age of trust-driven marketing, I think that this represents a huge opportunity for advertisers — even if it violates the idea of a trust-based relationship.
    First, users are researching product choices online, and product/service reviews on content based sites are as big of a factor in the purchasing decision process as price comparison. Secondly, as an advertiser, I’m only going to end up paying for the sales that my ad campaign actually generate, which makes figuring out the ROI a lot easier.
    In a lot of ways, these kinds of affiliate links are similar to product placement in, say, a video blog. They also let you pollute your RSS feed with ads without most users realizing it.
    I’m not even sure if this kind of practice will erode the trust economy of content driven sites. After all, an affiliate who pushes poor products just to get the commission will soon lose a lot of their readership, link love, and search ranking and be, for all intents and purposes, out of business. But maybe that’s just me having too much faith in the supply and demand model.

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