Web Analytics: RSS

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There are a lot of new toys out there for your website that can do a variety of different things. RSS feeds are one thing you can implement that are great for notifying subscribers that there has been new content added to your website. This can help keep you visitors “hooked” and coming back for more, or just make your website more valuable to them. A lot of different types of websites can use RSS feeds however most websites using RSS may need a web analytic solution to see what’s happening with their feeds. Depending on your needs, your RSS web analytics solution will be different. Currently the main service out there to track RSS feeds is Feedburner. Feedburner has a free solution as well as 2 paid solutions. Depending what you are looking for you could use StandardStats, TotalStats or FeedFoundry.
This gives you a general understanding on how many people are subscribing to your RSS feeds. It tells you things like the number of daily subscribers, average subscribers over time, and popular feed items. Although it doesn’t go into too much detail, it does tell you which feed readers your subscribers are using and which bots are crawling your feeds.

StandardStats is great if you are just looking to track basic stats such as your daily subscribers, but it doesn’t go much deeper. If you just want the basics, this could work for you.
TotalStats is geared towards the people looking for something with a little more information but not the full monte. TotalStats tells you things like the number of people who have viewed or clicked the content in your feed and the clicks on a single item over time. The main difference is that this gives you a little more information on how subscribers are actually interacting with your feed. My feeling is that this one is sort of bridging the gap and basically trying to tantalize you into buying the more expensive package. If you want more about how subscribers are interacting with your site, you might want more than just what this package offers. Still, at $4.99 a month it could be worth it depending on what you need to know about your feeds.
FeedFoundry is the full-blow solution out there. If you have a lot of feeds that need to be managed and/or are making money on ads, this is the type of thing that you might need. It gives you a lot more detail than the other two options and makes managing a lot of feeds easier because of the way it organizes your feeds. From the analysis side, it can track ad placement within your feeds and allow you to make real time adjustments, identify trends, and generate custom reports. This is pretty much for people that put a lot of value on their RSS feeds and really want to know what’s going on with them.

Depending how much analysis you need on your feeds, you have three main options to choose from. None of these solutions are as in-depth as they could be, but I’m sure that RSS tracking solutions will be more advanced as time goes by. Some of the things to expect in the near future are data on new/repeat subscribers, geotargeting, and conversion information. As more companies come into this space I would imagine that the pressure will be on to make these analytics more useful.


Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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