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Google to Feed Your Ads

Google To Feed You Ads by David Utter

Google’s AdSense for Feeds gives advertisers placement in popular web site feeds everywhere.

RSS and Atom feeds of web sites showed so much promise. No more going from site to site to see the content you want. Just fire up a compatible feed reader and there’s the content from as many sites as you like, aggregated in one place.
It took providers about a fraction of a nanosecond to include ads with those feeds.

But many think feeds are the wave of the future, where the desired demographics will go for their web content. Google, a very smart company, thinks this way now.

The Mountain View-based search engine company moved its AdSense for Feeds into beta yesterday. Advertisers have their content placed in the most appropriate feeds, and users see relevant advertising to the content presented.

As users click on ads, advertisers earn income. The model has worked out for many web sites, and AdSense blocks may be seen all over the Web.

Reaction to the introduction of AdSense for feeds has been quite positive. When you consider how RSS adoption is growing, the monetization potential seems clear. Most bloggers, especially those who cover the search/ebusiness angle, seem to embrace RSS advertising with open arms.

However, there are dissenting points of view, as well.

Dave Taylor posted one such misgiving in an in-depth article titled, “Ads in RSS feeds? Corrupting the idea of information syndication“.
In his article, Dave reveals why he is so opposed to RSS advertising, while discussing other methods of monetization that could be explored. However, it’s important to understand Dave’s point of view concerning web-based advertising: it’s not that he opposed to the concept (his blog features AdSense), it’s just that he’d rather not see this or any method of advertising appearing in content feeds.

In an apt metaphor, Dave compares RSS advertising to the cable movie channel AMC. When AMC was first launched, it was done so without advertising. The metaphor does have some problems when we look at it more closely.

Cable television in general debuted without ads, but the cable companies found a combined subscriber/advertising model would earn them more money. Thus, AMC and every other cable channel now have advertising.

Dave feels the introduction of RSS advertising is a similar move to AMC’s fateful decision. But had AMC not went with ads, the channel may have failed financially. While ads may be seen as inconvenient, they were essential to AMC’s viability.

Instead of lamenting throughout his post, Dave actually suggests a solution: provide two feeds, one ad-free containing article excerpts, and another containing full-text articles and ads.

Google recommends certain best practices for placing ads in feeds, such as syndicating the full text of an article, and placing the ad at the end of the text. Issuing an ad-free feed with partial excerpts, where the user must click to continue reading, doesn’t seem to offer a better experience than simply visiting the web site to find the latest full-text article.

It is refreshing to see someone offer an actual solution instead of complaining throughout the entire dialogue. Dave’s view not withstanding, it certainly appears as if feed advertising is going to be embraced by the masses. Something Google is counting on, no doubt.

Additional contributions by Chris Richardson of WebProNews.

About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580

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