Partial Feeds Don’t Lure Visitors

    April 24, 2007

Conventional wisdom tells us that if you publish partial feeds, people will click through to your site to read the rest of your story. The truth is that it just doesn’t work out that way. FeedBurner’s VP of Publishing Services, FeedBurner’s Rick Klau, noted last week:

First of all, I think the primary justification often given for partial feeds—that it will drive higher clickthroughs back to the publisher’s site—is off-base. As people subscribe to feeds, they subscribe to more feeds. And that means they’re consuming more content, which means that each click out of the feed reader is taking the reader away from more content. In other words, feed reading is consumption oriented, not transactionally focused. We’ve seen no evidence that excerpts on their own drive higher clickthroughs.

Rick and Muhammad Saleem on Pronet Advertising also note some reasons why bloggers are reluctant to publish full feeds, as well as some strategies to overcome the potential problems of scraping (and wanting people to come to your site and click on your ads).

Marketing Pilgrim is ahead of the curve. Andy switched to full feeds well over a year ago. He mentioned it in December, after full feeds received some coverage at SES Chicago. Andy also referenced Amit Agarwal’s success with full feeds—more than 1000 new subscribers in one month.

Speaking from my own experience, I am among the many who dislike partial feeds.