At least 75 million people in the USA and U.K. use RSS on a regular basis. However, about 50 million of them wouldn’t have a clue if you asked them what RSS was.
That’s according to research pulled together by the smart folks at MarketingSherpa.com.
So what’s going on?
People don’t understand those silly little orange buttons. They eagerly subscribe to RSS feeds, but they are doing it through mainstream websites such as My Yahoo and My MSN. That’s how they can be using RSS but have no idea they are doing it.
Do check out this article at Marketing Sherpa while it is still open access. It is eye opening. And it says a lot about how fast the online landscape is changing.
The thing for small business website owners to remember is that you can create RSS feeds for free or very little cost. If you have a blog, most blogging softwares automatically generate RSS feeds in some format. Even if you do not have a blog, your webmaster can create a feed for your Press or News page of your website for a reasonable price. If you are hands-on, you can even find places on the Web to help you create RSS feeds on your own, at no cost.
With an RSS feed you can extend the reach of your online presence and message to those who do their reading at sites like My Yahoo or My MSN. RSS is now a mainstream trend, and it is time to be on board so that you don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach your audience through another channel.
Any thoughts on how Microsoft’s support of RSS will change these numbers? When the average consumer has the orange RSS icon forced upon them, I think the awareness will increase significantly.
Yes, Tom, you make a super point about Microsoft’s support.
The last I had read on the subject, Microsoft had announced that its next version of its products would incorporate automatic RSS-detection capabilities, and integrate RSS subscription and reading capabilities.
When that happens, that 50 Million number will jump to 150 Million using RSS but having no idea they are using it. They will be using Microsoft products and subscribing to sites they want to read, as part of their daily desktop operations.
Someone who is more familiar with Microsoft’s plans may want to jump in and comment on this, too. Anyone?
RSS is supported by Microsoft in IE7 Beta2 that is free to download from Microsoft.
This will certainly increase the populatity of RSS feeds.
We have over 14M merchant pages pumping out RSS for local merchants but I doubt 50 of them know what it is.