More than one in 10 visitors to weblog sites who claim to read blogs regularly or occasionally use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to sort through the increasing number of blogs available, research published today has revealed.
According to Nielsen//NetRatings' Understanding the Blogosphere survey, nearly five per cent of blog readers use feed aggregation software and more than six per cent use a feed aggregating website to monitor RSS feeds from blogs.
"While RSS is an established technology, the growing popularity of blogs has catapulted RSS into the spotlight as a content personalisation tool," said Jon Gibs, senior research manager, Nielsen//NetRatings.
"RSS feeds deliver relevant posts quickly, in a customisable, easy-to-manage format. These types of services provide marketers with an additional avenue to tap a captive audience for time-critical offers. Since the customers themselves pick the content they will receive, advertisers are able to deliver their message within a context they know will engage their target audience," Gibs added.
However, the majority of respondents to the survey said they were less familiar with RSS feeds. Among the other respondents, 23 per cent understood RSS but did not use it, while 66 per cent either did not understand the technology or had never heard of it.
Nielsen//NetRatings found that the top 50 blogging and blog-related sites grew in popularity 31 per cent to attract 29.3m unique visitors during July 2005 as compared to the beginning of this year.
Leading the way, MSN Spaces was found to be ranked number one in year-to-date unique audience growth with a 947 per cent increase on nearly 3.3m visitors in July. Fark.com and Blogger ranked second and third with 63 per cent and 45 per cent unique audience growth, respectively.
"While these sites will likely never have the traffic of some of the larger ad networks, blogs do have a specific role to play in the online advertising mix. Advertisers should look to blogs as a way to organically grow trends by leveraging the role of bloggers as peer influencers. By associating their message with the blog's image, advertisers can legitimise new trends they are hoping to promote to a niche audience," said Gibs.
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