Adsense in FeedBurner Feeds = Bad Idea?

Adsense in FeedBurner Feeds = Bad Idea?

Do you think that it’s a good idea to place ads in your RSS feed? Have you been waiting for Google to implement Adsense ads inside of Feedburner feeds since they’re owned Feedburner for a while now? It has been reported recently that Google has started testing with inserting Adsense ads into Feedburner RSS feeds. However, I don’t see this as being very effective simply because feed readers are unlikely to click ads because of 3 basic reasons.

1. Internet Savvy

Internet Savvy

First, the more Internet savvy a person is the more likely it is that they will both subscribe to RSS feeds as well as ignore or block ads.

Think about it, especially if you’re a fellow blogger. How often do you click ads on other blogs? Probably not very often, if at all. Why is that? Well, there are several common reasons ranging from wanting to earn a commission on a sale for yourself to something you already bought from an A-Listers site to not having an interest in the offer.

Likewise, how often do you subscribe to RSS feeds from blogs you like? I’d guess you do this rather often. Do you simply skim headlines and first paragraphs and ignore the rest. Do you click through to the site if an article grabs your interest? Do you ignore footers attached by Feedburner to the feed? Would you ignore Adsense ads that had the same old ‘make money online‘ or ‘blogging about blogging‘ ad presented every day?

2. Buying Mood

Buying Mood

Secondly, Adsense is strongly geared toward people who are in a buying mood. The best converting offers send a person through to a landing page (aka squeeze page) where they can start the buying process immediately. However, feed readers are generally not in a buying mood. They subscribed to a feed because they want information or entertainment delivered to them. They’re not intending to buy something when they subscribe to a feed or read a feed in their feed reader.

A good article might just put the reader in a buying mood. However, because you have very little control over what Adsense displays, it is quite difficult to target your article to pre-sell the offer. This is much easier to do with an affiliate offer where you can lead the visitor toward the offer with your article. 

3. Answering the Question

Questioning Dog

Lastly, Adsense is at its most effective when the advertisement offers a potential answer to a question that was not answered in the accompanying article. For example, (borrowing an example from one of Vic’s live broadcasts) if someone is looking for cheap mortgage loan rates don’t give them the answer in the article. Instead, your article beats around the bush, never finding an answer. The answer to their need will be found in the Adsense ads displayed on the page.

If you have good articles in a feed, the kind of feed that people will want to subscribe to and read regularly, there will be little or no need for feed readers to click your ads. If they do, most likely out of ‘kindness’, they’re likely to cost you money due to smart pricing your Adsense account. We don’t know how these ads will work in this regard yet, but you can bet that Google Adwords buyers aren’t going to want to pay for ad clicks where the conversion rate is very low.

Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell

Closing The Deal

Basically, Adsense is a hard sell; a forceful and overt sales pitch to spark a click through that converts for the advertiser. Adwords gurus will tell you that you want your ad to avoid costly casual clicks, use a call to action and to stay focused and on target with your pitch. That’s how they design their ads and feed based ads will go against the grain.

A soft sell method geared around a single affiliate will work better in feeds, at least in my opinion. It would work like many of the better email newsletter offers work. For example, if I wanted you to sign up for the SaltyJelly advertising network I’d write a series of articles touting the advantages of signing up, maybe some how-tos and the like and some other stuff that would lead you to buy or, in this case, sign up for the program. You might get good information but you would be convinced that you still had a gap to fill in with what was being offered.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you see having Adsense Ads in RSS feeds from FeedBurner to be a good idea or bad idea?


RSS feed | Trackback URI


2008-05-05 12:09:44

I agree with you even though I had not put the thought into why till reading you reasoning. I am not against the idea of putting ads into my feed, I just do not think that AdSense would be the best idea.
You are very right that it would just push you towards being smartpriced.

Comment by jfc
2008-05-05 12:21:07

Hi James,

I tried Pheedo a while back and the results weren’t good. It might be OK with a huge (ie 1000 subscriber plus) base in a non-make-money or non-blogging niche but that’s not easy to achieve. Even then, you would probably do a better job of picking the right ads for your audience than a ‘bot would.

Comment by April of Scotland
2008-05-06 07:11:18

It’s a little worrying what it would do to CTR and generally how well they would convert. Not really an issue for me now because I have really left social blogging behind me.

Comment by jfc
2008-05-06 09:57:15

Hi April,

Like I mentioned in the article, I don’t see these ads converting well for the typical RSS feed audience. However, you can bet that people doing typical Make Money Online blogs will have them in their feed as soon as they’re commonly available.

I wouldn’t leave social blogging behind entirely. Having a good flagship social blog can help your other efforts.

Comment by Chetan
2008-05-07 15:51:24

I don’t at all like and support the usage of adsense in feeds, they would just make things really awful!

Comment by Houseboat Rentals
2008-05-07 19:19:03

I think I would almost remove the RSS feeds if that were the case. I have enough trouble keeping my adsense CTR up.


Comment by jfc
2008-05-07 21:32:47


You have to select this option on the ‘monetize’ tab in FeedBurner for it to work. You don’t have to turn it on if you don’t want to do so.

Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
A Link To Your Site
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> in your comment. Comments with links are automatically moderated but are normally allowed after review. New commentators are automatically moderated. You may use anchored text in your signature link as long as your comment is meaningful and on topic. Signature links inside of the comment body are not allowed.


Some graphics Copyright 2005 Riverdeep Interactive Learning Limited, and its licensors. All rights reserved
Some graphics Copyright 2005 Cosmi Corporation, and its licensors. All rights reserved.
All graphics are intended for viewing purposes only.

Directory of General Blogs Personal blogs Top Blogs Marketing SEO blogs Webfeed (RSS/ATOM/RDF) registered at BRDTracker blog directory