Posts from FeedBurner

RSS: Not Dead Yet

I immediately thought of that great Monty Python skit when I read a series of posts in the past week declaring RSS "dead." If you look at the number of refers/visits coming from RSS, you might conclude that services like Facebook and Twitter are taking over the role of content syndication from RSS. That's essentially what MG Siegler concludes by looking at TechCrunch data in this post.

But as some of the commenters on that TechCrunch post point out, many RSS users consume the content in the reader and don't click thru. That's certainly what goes on with AVC content. Here are AVC's Feedburner stats for the past 30 days:


The blue line is "reach" meaning the number of unique people every day who open an AVC post in their RSS reader. It was almost 10k yesterday and it averaged 7,730 per day over the past month.

Here is AVC's web traffic over the same period:

Google analytics

So AVC averages about the same number of web visits every day that it gets RSS opens (about 7,500 per day).

Not dead yet.

A few other things worth noting. The direct visits of ~80k per month include a substanital amount of Twitter third party client traffic that doesn't report to Google Analytics as Twitter traffic. That's been a missing piece of the analytics picture for a long time and I wish someone (Twitter and Google??) would fix it.

AVC gets about 2,500 visits a day from RSS. That means about 1/3 of the people who open a post in their reader end up clicking through and visiting the blog. I suspect the desire to engage in the comments drives that.

The twin tech news aggregators, Techmeme and Hacker News, drive a ton of traffic to AVC. Thanks Paul and Gabe!

Bottom line is that RSS is alive and well in the AVC community. While I do agree that Twitter and Facebook have gained significantly in terms of driving traffic across the web, for technology oriented audiences, RSS is still a critically important distribution platform and is very much alive and well.


Going Direct

Every few months, I like to share some analytics on this blog's audience. Here's the google analytics refer logs for the past thirty days:


The thing that jumps out at me is the magnitude of the direct audience. If you add the direct category, this blog's RSS feed (Feedburner), and the domain (the original domain of this blog which still works), you get roughly 86,000 visits which is roughly half of all the visits.

That's a lot of direct visits for a website given all the distribution channels out there (Google, Twitter, Facebook, Techmeme, Hacker News, etc).

I think it reflects two things:

1) the loyalty of this blog's audience – many of you come to read this blog every day and I suspect that you come via a bookmark, the feed, or some other way you've set up to remember to do that.

2) Twitter – most of the traffic that comes from twitter clients still registers as direct traffic in google analytics. i hope Twitter and Google work out some way to fix that soon. it's been an issue for years now.

SInce I don't use a feed reader of any kind, I often forget how powerful that distribution channel is. I was one of the first users of Feedburner and was an investor in Feedburner before it was sold to Google. I don't think about Feedburner much any more. It's a set it and forget it sort of thing. But Feedburner is a huge distribution channel for this blog. Here are some stats for the past thirty days:

The reach number is the number of different feed readers that open a post from this blog per day. Feedburner tells us that an average of 11k readers per day open a post from this blog in their reader. Google Analytics says the number of web visits per day to this blog is between 5k and 10k on most days. So that means that there are more readers of this blog via the feed than the web.

It's pretty eye opening to be honest. I spend so much time thinking about internet distribution channels and the impact of search and social media on audience and traffic that I don't pay as much attention to the value of a loyal and consistent audience and yet that is exactly what we have here at AVC. Kind of ironic. 

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