RSS Marketing - Is it just hype? or the next best channel?
At my workplace on the intranet, there was a poll yesterday asking whether they use RSS. Various options were given, like 'Love the conveniece of RSS', ' planning to use' etc etc and final one was 'What is rss?'. To my surprise, 71% of people voted for the big question, 'What is RSS?' and only about 4% said they love the convenience of RSS. There were around 700 votes total over a period of 2 days, and the % of 'what is rss?' always almost stood around that 70% mark throughout the poll.
Baffled by this low percentage of users in a IT company where people spend most of their time on the computers, I searchedÂ for RSS stats in google to find out the figures among common users. I could not see any recent stats in year 2006. But I found some interesting stats at Rss Diary post 'A challenge to the RSS Industry: RSS stats unacceptable':
Let's simply take a look at some of the more recent stats released by various research companies and others, pertaining to the adoption and use of RSS.
- 87% of influencers use RSS (Nooked)
- Only 3% of Internet users use RSS (Jupiter Research)
- 11% of blog readers use RSS (Nielsen/NetRatings)
- Only 2% of all Americans online use RSS (Forrester Research)
- 9% of Americans have a good idea of what RSS is (PEW)
- 12% of all Americans online use a variety of RSS readers (Jupiter Research)
- 5% of Americans online use RSS (PEW)
It seems that no one can really agree on how many people are really using RSS, knowingly or unknowingly.
And there is a link to Yahoo RSS White paper 'RSS - Crossing into the mainstream' published in Oct, 2005 says that only 4% of users knowingly use RSS feeds. However there are about 28% people use RSS without even knowing that they are using RSS.
Despite this surprisingly low percentage of RSS-aware users, many companies are planning to invest lots of money on RSS as their prime marketing channel. Another blog post on Rss Diary points to a supplement released by AdAge, Ad Age Interactive Marketing & Media Fact Pack 2006 [PDF], points out that
RSS is currently used or is planned to be used within the next 12 months by 63% of consumer product marketers, 65% media and communications marketers, 37% retail marketers, 37% financial services marketers and 38% equipment and tech marketers.
Looking at such a low percentage of users that know about RSS and use RSS, and such a high percentage of firms planning to invest in RSS for marketing, I am wondering whether RSS is a hype or really the next best channel to market their respective products. Looking at the figures, I have no clue.