RSS metrics, can they really be called metrics? RSS technology is a wonderful invention, however the “metrics” that go along with it, are anything but. This has been a bone of contention with me for many years now, but as clients get smarter about their online presence and online metrics in general this is becoming an even bigger pain in the derriere; especially when they have received bad counsel in the past.
I have noticed throughout the years there are a lot of metrics hacks out there that think RSS metrics are a valuable and integral metric to report back to their clients. RSS metrics, as they currently stand as of August 1, 2012, could not be further from valuable or integral from your metrics reporting and insights. Here’s why:
- RSS Metrics do not provide you with a unique number of subscribers to your blog or website.
- RSS Metrics are not sophisticated enough to tell you how people are interacting with your RSS feed (email vs. aggregator).
As a result, what do insights do you gain by looking at these metrics? Answer: nothing.
From a behind the scenes perspective, when you subscribe to an RSS feed you are either doing so via email or via an aggregator (ex: Google Reader). When you as a subscriber either clicks on the link in your email or refreshes your aggregator each click or refresh is collected as a unique “subscriber” metric.
Therefore, if you refresh your feed 10 times a day and I click on the link in my email 3 times in one day, the metrics would look like there were 13 unique subscribers, not two. When you start multiplying that at a monthly rate, your “subscriber” behavior will be extremely high, even if in reality you only had 2 subscribers.
To steal from the old GI Joe cartoons, ”Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”