Did you think you just caught up to the clever marketing professionals that use search engines, click-throughs and product placement on reality TV or interactive gaming to stimulate your buying juices. Just hearing about “buzz” of viral marketing. Talk about being behind the times. A relatively new technology known as RSS (Really Simple Syndication—probably named by the same people who gave us KISS—Keep It Simple, Stupid) is beginning to attract some clever marketing professionals to the web. While the technology is in its relative infancy (about five or so years old) in Internet time, adolescence—and therefore a bit of rebellion and wild times—are just ahead. RSS feeds allow individuals to aggregate information updates from web sites and blogs so they can review headlines and often a synopsis of them on a single site. You might know these programs as “news readers” or aggregators, because news and media companies already use RSS feeds to distribute summaries for their readers. Why the excitement? Well, you already know that “per-click” advertising allows advertisers to match spending with the numbers of consumers that are attracted to the advertisement—to some extent, a real-time metric of the effectiveness of any particular marketing campaign on the Internet.
What if you could more effectively target your advertising to a tailor-made-market–consumers who have expressed an interest in particular subjects. Imagine putting advertising for cameras onto an RSS web feed from a camera or lens manufacturer’s site. What if you use RSS technology to keep up to date on the latest entries in the automotive marketplace—and an advertiser puts auto advertising on the feeds. Not only is RSS feed advertising cheaper, but marketers can also target precisely those consumers who may be predisposed—or have expressed an interest—in the market for those products or services!
While RSS technology is still to be refined, consumers who are overwhelmed with the volume of data floating around the Internet have turned to more refined search engines and tools which help them self-select what they do and do not see. RSS technology is a natural outgrowth of that need, and as programs become more user-friendly, the marketing community is beginning to take notice. Did you really think you could rest easy having mastered ad-ware, spy ware, phishing, SPAM, cookies and banners, and such arcane terms that hearken back to the Jurassic age? The times they are always a’ changing. Keep an eye out for RSS—it’s coming to a news feed near you.