Editor at MarketingStudies.net
24 August 2005 21:16pm
AdAge.com recently started providing RSS feeds, but they're hiding them behind a registration screen, probably to attract more registered users.
However, what in essence is a sound business idea of fully integrating RSS in their internet marketing strategy, fails at the implementation stage. Let's take a look at where they went wrong ...
1. Implementation Mistakes
a] AdAge.com promote their RSS feeds only at the far bottom of their site, making the link virtually invisible to most users who either do not scroll that far down or do not pay attention to nearly invisible footer links. If you're stepping on the RSS train, don't hide your RSS information where no one can see it, but rather promote it prominently above the fold.
Well, yes, site registration is prominent enough, with every article being hidden behind a registration wall. But even if you're already registered and logged-in, you still don't see their feeds offering.
b] If you're going to hide RSS feeds behind a registration wall, don't use the same "block page" as you do for your other content. When people click on the RSS link, instead of just asking them to register, explain to them why they need to subscribe to your feeds and what feeds are in the first place and why they need them.
AdAge.com simply presumes that those clicking on the RSS link will automatically understand what RSS is and will be more than happy to jump through hoops to get their feeds.
Don't presume. Explain.
2. Strategic Mistakes
AdAge.com use a relatively simple registration strategic model, where full-content articles are available only to registered users and that only for a limited time. Each visitor can see the headlines and summary text, but only registered users can access it. With the registration you also get the opportunity to subscribe to their e-mail newsletters, bringing their headline content to your e-mail inbox.
RSS applies to this model very nicely, especially for delivering latest headlines and summaries as soon as they become available.
However, does it apply best the way AdAge.com implemented it?
Consider for a second a "traditional" RSS user. Part of why he or she uses RSS is because it presents less of a strain to subscribe to and unsubscribe from than e-mail does. It's basically a couple-click affair, usually without any of the difficulties posed by complex registration forms or giving out your e-mail address.
How would this "traditional" RSS user react to AdAge.com requesting registration in order to provide those feeds, especially if the user isn't yet convinced he actually wants to receive their content?
If he were not completely convinced he wants their content, he might still subscribe via a standard RSS feed link, since it takes only a couple of seconds, just to try it out.
But if he is not convinced, their huge registration screen will simply turn him away, wasting the potential AdAge.com had to convert him in to a user.
If you are putting walls infront of users, do it in a way that makes it easy for them to decide to move one step further and then again another step further later on, when they might be convinced.
In the AdAge.com example, a typical user scenario could go like this:
- "Oh, they have an RSS feed. That's great. I don't have the time to browse their site right now, but I'll subscribe to their feeds and see if I'm interested later on."
- "Hmmm ... they want me to register before subscribing to their feeds? What for?"
- "OK, I can give it a shot, if it doesn't take too much time." (at least 50% of all the people left by this point)
- "Let's see. I click on the register button and I get ... a registration form a mile long. Sorry guys, no time. See you later or not at all."
... and other similar variations.
Esentially, this is a strategic mistake that will prevent you from getting RSS subscribers, unless these people are absolutely certain they want to receive your information via RSS and have enough time to jump through high hoops to get your feeds, and not to mention don't want to give you their e-mail address immediately.
3. An Alternative Approach
Let's now consider an alternative approach ...
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