RSS isn’t dead. It may be used differently than we had just 4 or 5 years ago, but it’s not dead. Is RSS ignored? Possibly — but not dead. And we’ll see why in a minute.
I often ask how many folks measure the numbers of their RSS feed. I (way) too often get blank stares in return. C’mon. Really?
Just like the folks at the Storefronts as Conversation Stations the other day, we start by talking about the importance of keeping score.
It’s not an ego thing. You keep score all day, every day on something: Page Views, Bank Balance, Golf score, followers. Keeping score is a measurement of where you are in comparison to where you want to be…so it’s okay to keep score.
We’re not talking just number of subscribers (though that’s part of it), but also views, clicks, reach, what type of feed aggregator your readers use most.
I use FeedBurner – and so should you. It’s free. It’s Google. And the analytics are great (and you can synch it up to your Google Analytics).
Aside from tracking number of subscribers, I am especially interested in the “Item Use” that feed burner tracks. Let’s take a look at a couple of things:
This shows that on this day (9/13), the RSS items I’ve published (people reading my content from their aggregator) received 1,483 views and 912 clickthroughs. Not where I want to be, but improving.
So, I can take the 1,483 and add that to the 561 page views on the site (as reported by Google for that day) and that’s over 2,000 views of pieces of content I’ve published for the day. Nothing to boast about, but I can track improvement (and decline) by these measurements.
And here’s the best part: I can measure on an item-by-item basis. I can see what’s working and what’s not. Here’s one case:
Whistle Stops are a bit I publish each Sunday. I point to great work I’ve seen elsewhere and some of my own stuff that I wrote the week just past. I don’t have to imagine or wonder if my readership gets value – I just look at the “item use” in my feed stats:
|Date||Item Views||Item Clicks|
|Sunday, August 29||141||237|
|Monday, August 30||101||84|
|Sunday, September 5||88||226|
|Monday, September 6||123||121|
|Sunday, September 12||163||298|
|Monday, September 13||126||75|
|Sunday, September 19||108||187|
|Monday, September 20||139||102|
|Sunday, September 26||139||315|
|Monday, September 27||107||86|
I’d say someone is gaining value from Whistle Stops. Therefore I keep going with it.
A new “series” I’ve started is the Strong-End Summit, a handful of videos in a theme to motivate or educate folks. I publish these on Friday afternoon so people can stay “working,” but in a way to end their week strong.
Again, wondering if it’s worth my time and their eyeballs, I let the numbers tell me if I should continue with the series..
In the last month of Strong-End Summits (1 each week, 4 posts for the month): 1,046 views; 1,440 clicks. Again, the folks that subscribe to this feed are clicking through on the items they get – so they’re getting some value out of it.
There’s a lot we can discuss on RSS feeds (and we will), but for the purpose of this post I want to encourage (implore?) you to start tracking your RSS feed numbers — and FeedBurner is the tool I always recommend (strongly).
How do you measure your feeds? Or how can we dive deeper into feed analytics? Questions?