My Feedvertising Experiment – And Some Numbers …

We’ve been running 2 ads in our feeds for the last 15 days:

Sponsored By: Podcast Secrets – How to monetize your Podcast … even if you’re starting from scratch.

and

Sponsored By: Big Seminar 9 – Will You Be At The Internet Marketing Seminar of The Year?

We’ll run them all month.

Want some results?

Ready for the truth?

Can you handle the “truth?”

According to Feedburner, for the last 7 days my subscriber to site visitor (daily) ratio has been 2.68 to 1.

For the last 30 days – 2.15 to 1.

I.e., every day, more than twice as many people read my content by RSS as do by my Blog.

And, I’ll be honest with you, a HUGE chunk of my Blog traffic has been a very popular term that I rate surprisingly high for in Google. Take away that and we’re at close to 5 to 1.

But, to keep the numbers pure – we’ll go with the Feedburner results.

For the last 15 days I’ve been running the two ads listed above on every other article in the RSS.

I.e., of my last 6 articles, 3 had ad “A” at the bottom, the other 3 had ad “B.”

We also ran them at the site. For the site, it was far less obtrusive. I had it in the box to the upper right of every page at the site. 50% of the pageviews got ad “A” / 50% got ad “B.”

So, curious as to how my “Feedvertising” pieces did versus the Web pieces?

I mean, if you read the Blogs, “Feedvertising” is the future. “Nobody” clicks on ads in sites anymore.

I mean, every smart Blogger has declared the “death” of the page view!

Can you handle the truth?

Before I give you the numbers, this is by no means an absolute controlled study. In all fairness, the RSS feeds got a lot more visibility than my Website ads had.

And of course, this requires a simple trust in your Feedburner stats that not everyone has.

But, we all know Website ads don’t work anymore, right? Did I really have to run this test?

For the Podcast Secrets ad,

I got (in proportion) 2.5 times as many clicks for my Web ads as I did for my RSS ads.

Piece B – 3.7 times as many clicks for my Web ads as RSS ads.

Note: this also doesn’t take into account any splog traffic. Since they are tracking links in the RSS feeds, slog clicks would also show up in my numbers. This reality of the Web makes the “Feedvertising” numbers even less impressive.

Web ads are still the winner – by far.

So, what does one do with this information?

You could take the “partial feeds” path and direct your RSS audience back to your Website in hopes that they’ll click through to read “the rest” and will click accordingly. Many take this approach – but I think it is short sighted. Those who want RSS don’t want your site, period – they just want your content. In simple numbers, the amount that click-through to the site will be so small that it simply won’t matter.

You could “optimize” the Feedvertising process and get ads where they “really work” – the beginning or in the middle of the content. You could build a whole industry about proper feed insertion strategies. I’ve never seen this done – but can only imagine that the annoyance factor for your audience would do far more damage than such an approach would ever do good.

You could get past the ad insertion model and have something so important at your site that your audience can’t but help clicking on over (and taking the action that results in you wondering why you ever took ads for CPM). This is the model I’ve been pushing for years.

It ain’t the content that matters as much as what you do with it.

I’d hate to be stuck with third party ad insertion as my only model for revenue and I don’t know why so many put up with it.

We figured out how to kill the middleman in media distribution.

We figured out how to launch media properties on a few dimes rubbed together.

We can figure out how to monetize this without placing our futures on a monetization model that gets less and less impressive as the days go by.

Don’t get me wrong, ad insertion is part of the mix, but not the end game. It’s a technology that we need to use to get the job done – it just ain’t a means to an end.

We need to understand the value of the traffic we direct with our content – not sling bits hoping we’ll pay bills at the end of the month.

Because that, dear friends, is where things truly become profitable.

Let the discussion begin.

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