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Let me Show You How my RSS Advertising is Performing

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of August 2009 RSS 0 Comments

Today I spent a little time digging around in my AdSense earnings stats to see how they’d been performing over the last 6-12 months and particularly was interested in how the RSS advertising was performing.

I decided to pull out some of the data that I found and chart it (I’m a visual kind of guy) and thought I’d share some of what I saw when I analyzed how the ads are performing in the feed of my photography site since August 2008 when I started running AdSense in the feed.

I’ve removed the figures from the chart to comply with the Terms of Service that AdSense has that prohibit sharing of too many specifics but have below charted Earnings (the blue line), eCPM (earnings per 1000 impressions – the Red line) and Impression numbers (the yellow line). I’ve also included a linear trend line to help visualize the average movement.


When I initially looked at the raw data I was surprised to see how much the ads were now earning on a daily basis. It’s been a long while since I looked at the figures so they actually looked quite healthy (RSS ads now make up around 10% of my overall AdSense earnings). My first reaction was that perhaps AdSense have got RSS advertising right at last and it’s starting to earn more per impression.

However the chart above tells a different story with the increase in earnings coming from an increase in impressions. In fact eCPM has been falling.

My next question was whether this fall in eCPM was due to the economy or whether it was more to do with a trend in RSS advertising – so I decided to compare the eCPM of my RSS ads vs the eCPM of the AdSense ads on my site. Here’s what I found:


This surprised me. While RSS eCPM (blue) is on the downward slope onsite eCPM has been on the up and up.

Of course this could be explained by the increase in the popularity of the site and more advertisers targeting it (I’ve noticed that as traffic and the brand of DPS grows that more and more advertisers are targeting the site) – but from what I can see advertisers are targeting the feed as well as the site, yet the eCPM is falling there.

Keep in mind that this is just an observation of a single site – I’m sure it’ll differ from site to site and industry to industry (for example the RSS ads here on ProBlogger’s feeds are performing appallingly less than a tenth of what they earn on DPS despite having half as many subscribers) but it does make me wonder whether others are seeing similar trends?

How is RSS advertising performing for you?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Since I don’t have a blog with many subscribers (only 40-50 now) haven’t I earned any income from RSS adsense. I only put it on three weeks ago, so I hope that when my readership grows, I get a little income from it. But I don’t suspect anything..

  2. I’m just like you Stefan. Since I don’t have a lot of subscribers, I think I haven’t seen more than 5 cents in my RSS earnings. But I guess if you have 118K subscribers then you probably are making a nice amount.

  3. This was a really interesting post. Thanks for sharing

  4. Thanks for sharing. We need to look at RSS feed as a viable income generator. Getting more traffic and follower will also be an added bonus.

  5. I dumped my RSS Adsense after it was only generating sense every month. The possibility of it making my feeds look to “spammy” wasn’t worth the potential revenue. Perhaps I’ll revisit at a later time.

    I’ve also tweaked the ads (with the help of the WhoSeesAds plugin) so that my regular visitors don’t see the ads – unless they start digging really deeply into the archives. Googler’s and occassional vistors do still see the ads.

    I also change my ads for “image or text” to just images and there seems to have been a small jump in response. Sample size is to small to jump to too many conclusions. More importantly, I liked the appearances of the image ads more than the text ads.

  6. We don’t use RSS advertising on our money saving site.

  7. D. Flanders says: 08/01/2009 at 2:16 am

    My RSS earnings and CPM are going up, but the amount I get per click is going down. It seems that clicks on the site are worth a whole lot more than clicks made in the RSS feed.

  8. I don’t have enough subscribers or traffic to guage, really. But I think that’s a very interesting observation.

  9. I recenly added ads to my feed, so I will check my stats next quarter. Today I just added the Google serach form I think that will make a lot of revenue. Are you using the Google Serach Form?

  10. I have not had any success with rss feed ads. However I have had great overall success with adsense. I am going to keep the ads in my rss despite not making any income with them.

    Thanks for the article.

  11. Ditto… not enough subscribers (yet!)

    But thanks for sharing your resources.

  12. Like Kosmo,
    I dumped adsense for feeds because it wasn’t worth the few dollars each month it was making, I have yet to find a good way to monetize an RSS. Your post is giving me hope though darren – maybe I will give them another shot in august and see what happens…

  13. I only made 1 cent from it. I have more people on my email lists that reflect my RSS subscribers. I don’t have a lot of true RSS users. Thanks Greg Ellison

  14. I don’t use adsense in my RSS feed. My first thought is that there has to be a way to better monetize the space. I mean google is taking half or so as the middle man…why not just cut them out and throw up some other ppc network or some relevant affiliate offers?

  15. If you have a lot of subscribers, you could perhaps experiment with other types of RSS advertising such as sponsored posts or affiliate marketing.

    As for our own experience, we are still a growing blog and do not have enough subscribers to show substantial revenues.

  16. I dig the way you think by comparing the two and your use of charts. That’s why we subscribe, the relevant data you give us on how to monetize our blogs. I haven’t really paid much attention to the advertising dollars yet, I’m still concentrating on building up the readership, but I have been noticing how different bloggers use AdSense on their sites.

  17. wow!! its great to see, good luck!

  18. I’ve yet to implement RSS ad’s, mainly because nobody is using my RSS feed =D

  19. I just have to say that I find the ads in RSS feeds to be incredibly annoying when I am trying to focus on the post content.

    And I can guarantee I will NEVER click on one of them!

  20. I only signed up for AdSense in my RSS feed about 10 days ago, and I’m shocked at how much it produced. Perhaps it’s dependent on the ads that have been showing the past few days, how they relate to my content, but it was 15% of my AdSense revenue for the month of July. Now I wish I’d done it sooner!

  21. I have a different thought that is if the blog does not have a lot subscribers, you should not put too much ads on the RSS feeds. The new subscribers will see a lot of ads and the posibility to subscribe to your feeds is much lower. What do you think?

    The iPhone Blogging

  22. nice growing, by the way if place many ads but the earning in adsense is increasing, I think it’s no problem.

    thank you

  23. GOOGLE

    Months ago I turned Adsense off in my Content but left it on in the Feed. In June I added Adsense back onto my site but had it stuffed at the bottom of a sidebar.

    After reading a post on CMP I started experimenting with my Adsense placement on my site in July and earnings are up 537%. Interestingly, with the better placement I have seen eCPM for Content increase 43%.

    Based on the past 6 months my eCPM for Feed has a much larger variance than yours and I cannot draw any meaningful conclusion based upon statistical analysis.


    Due to the NC, RI debacle with Amazon, which may be prompted by their greed to kill a bunch of links to increase profit, I purchased the Ninja Affiliate Plugin (Yay for putting $$ in Darren’s pocket … glad to help support the site). After reading through your posts on Amazon I have made it a goal to try and include an an Amazon link in every post. The Ninja plugin is awesome for being able to track clicks. I have noticed an increase of about 300% per month in Amazon fees over the past 3 months. Consequently, with some creativity I am able to get a pretty clear picture of CTR to Amazon, sales and generate a rough eCPM.

    The really awesome benefit is being able to see which links are being clicked on and in connection with Crazy Egg get almost X-ray vision into seeing what my readers are interested in, what problems they have and the content they crave for answers and how to generate that content (which books they are buying, etc). I have already bought a few of the books I did not know about but saw in the commission report and know they will assist me in content creation.

    I do not want to hijack the thread talking about that Ninja plugin but I think it fits within the discussion and I am extremely pleased with the purchase. Thanks Darren.

  24. Darren,

    My only RSS is on http://onetraveltipaday.blogspot.com which surprisingly enough gets a large number of impressions, but it does not bear out in earnings at all. I don’t know why. On some days when the views spike, the earnings will increase, but other days when the hits spike again, no earnings.

  25. I hope you display about the RSS adsense earings for ProBloger dot net. Either way, I thik this one’s already a good treat Darren.

  26. My RSS earnings and CPM are going up, but the amount I get per click is going down. It seems that clicks on the site are worth a whole lot more than clicks made in the RSS feed.

  27. Good post. Now with my numerous blogs I have seen something kinda interesting my rss has always been crap, but the category/niche of the blog really sways with the economy. The two blogs I have really been tracking is my marketing blog and my business blog the business doing much better. I can not figure it out since the majority of my marketing efforts has been towards my marketing blog. Anyway good observations on your adsense earnings.


  28. Darren,

    The results of my RSS feed earnings have been dismal.

    I have heard of other bloggers experiencing a similar dissapointment in earning through their feeds as well.

    My highest earning readers have always been the organic ones from search engines who are looking for information on a particular topic.

    RSS readers on the otherhand, are as far from “organic” as you can get and this is probably why my results have been so poor…

  29. I really can’t believe people are willing to monetize their RSS feeds. I mean isn’t he RSS feed what you are offering people who DON’T want all the ads and distractions from a website? It sure is to me. I think the loss in subscribers would be more important due to ads than the money generated from ads themselves. I know I unsubscribe quickly when I see ads in a feed that is supposed to be for content. Just my $0.02

  30. I have 3500 subscribers, but only get pennies from RSS ads. It’s never been a big revenue source for me.

  31. After reading this I pulled up my Adsense acct and realized I have no clue how to truly analyze my RSS versus on site Adsense revenue. It appears it’s going up but to fully analyze in the way you have – I am lost.

  32. No surprise that site is better than feed :)

  33. Interesting article! I’ve been contemplating for a long time whether I should add ads to my RSS feed on my blog Salad Sticks. I think I may seriously consider doing so.

    Great tips.

  34. Interesting article! I’ve been contemplating for a long time whether I should add ads to my RSS feed on my blog Salad Sticks. I think I may seriously consider doing so.

    Great tips.

  35. My RSS Revenue is Nil. My site traffic has been growing and I think that as certainly brings people to the site but they don’t seem to be clicking on the ads in it.

    Great article and timing because I’ve been pondering removing the adsense from my feed and figuring out how to improve my feed.

  36. I am using ads in my feeds since last few months on my music blog . I got something but its not much with respect to what i am getting from the site. . . One more thing what i noticed since last few weeks on my music blog that CTR is increasing day by day but CPM is getting low. I am not getting the logic for that. Seems like Adsense is managing to fix my income in either way . . . . Ha ha ha

  37. I’ve noticed the same thing–my RSS adsense $ has been going up. I was actually in my account before reading this and was pleasantly surprised.

  38. the number of visitors to my site has picked up so this might be a good time to use adsense with RSS

  39. Thanks for sharing. We charge to attending at RSS augment as a applicable assets generator. Getting added cartage and addict will aswell be an added bonus.

  40. I’ve just started with implementing adsense for my RSS feeds, which is very modest to say the least. It is virtually not making me any momey from my feed. After reading this article, and hopefully, more readers subscribe, adsense for feeds will give me enough money for coffee.

  41. I’ve avoided putting advertising in my RSS feed – I kinda feel like I want to have one stream that’s just pure, unadulterated content. Still, I suppose that’s not the right business way to approach it :)

    Do you ever feel guilty for advertising, Darren? Sometimes I feel like my regular readers will see me as a sell-out.

  42. Haven’t done this thing yet, maybe it’s time for me to setup this one.. thanks Darren for giving us additional information on how to monetize our RSS feeds.

  43. This is amazing.

    Now I realized the importance of RSS. And yeah, we must have great contents!

  44. I have a different thought that is if the blog does not have a lot subscribers, you should not put too much ads on the RSS feeds. The new subscribers will see a lot of ads and the posibility to subscribe to your feeds is much lower. What do you think?

  45. I haven’t implemented Adsense on my RSS feeds yet, but you have got me thinking about it Darren.

  46. Thanks for sharing.
    I actually used the idea of ads in my RSS feed to provide my own “items” to sell.

    Stricked a deal with a real estate broker in Thailand to sell properties.

    So instead of getting pennies from Google, I made a 6% commission from a villa sale …….

    Of course, you do not sell a villa per day …….. but the returns are huge compare to Google

  47. As someone who is not using adsense in RSS or on Site, I can only congratulate you on your RSS success, Darren.

    Enjoy It!


  48. My RSS was not as high as yours total up all my blog, still does not convert into significant earning in google adsense earning..i think something is missing here

  49. I’ve always been skeptical at how effective RSS advertising is and it seems as though the market is responding by showing you it is less valuable than on-site advertising.

    It could also mean that advertisers are as skeptical as I am and, having little data, have pulled back in light of the economy.

  50. I’ve thought about using adsense in my RSS feeds so I’m interested in seeing how this works for you.

    I like how you are able to choose text only because I will admit the pictures at the end of posts are irritating but not enough for me to unsubscribe from someone’s blog.

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