Monday, June 12, 2006

RSS Feeds Are No Substitute for Email Newsletters According to Nielsen Norman Group

On feeds, email, and newsletters...

"The fact that RSS feeds are immune to the spam filters that sometimes plague email newsletters does not make them a better distribution medium for marketing communications, as hailed by some. According to new research from usability expert Jakob Nielsen, RSS feeds prove to be a cold medium in comparison to email newsletters, which do a far better job at building a relationship between a company and its customers. "Email Newsletter Usability," co-authored by Nielsen and user experience specialist Amy Schade of Nielsen Norman Group, presents new data gathered using eyetracking technology, which precisely shows how people interact with RSS feeds and email newsletters.

Nielsen Norman Group researchers found that people today are extremely fast-paced when processing their inbox and reading newsletters. The average time allocated to a newsletter after opening it is just 51 seconds. The predominant behavior is to scan the text, with only 19% of newsletters being read fully. Eyetracking observations of users reading RSS news feeds showed that people scan the headlines and blurbs in feeds even more ruthlessly than they scan newsletters.

"When your message appears in somebody's RSS newsreader, it has a diminutive footprint that's rubbing shoulders with a flood of headlines from other sites," said Jakob Nielsen, co-founder and principal of Nielsen Norman Group, "Newsletters are a much more powerful medium than RSS feeds, and I would not be surprised if it turns out that companies make 10 times as much money from each newsletter subscriber."   continued ...   (Via Yahoo)


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