Thursday, February 22, 2007

How engaged is your audience?

Really excited with the latest post we put up today at the company blog: FeedBurner’s View of the Feed Market. The gist of the post is this: for all the attention focused on subscriber numbers, they’re an incomplete metric to use when evaluating a feed’s audience. What good are a million subscribers if they never read your content? Don’t get me wrong: subscribing to a feed is a start: it’s an implicit vote of trust, it’s a reader saying that your content is interesting, that they want it delivered to them as soon as it’s updated. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Publishers who want a better understanding of their audience’s engagement with their content can look at how often their feed items (“posts”) are rendered in feed readers, and can also use us to track click-throughs to their posts. Both of these metrics provide a way to go beyond the subscriber number – if the subscription is an indiciation of interest, then the views and clicks are a manifestation of that ongoing interest.

Anyway, we’re going to put together a few more of these over the next few weeks. With the number of feeds we host (up over 600,000 – there were only 20,000 when I joined!) and the number of publishers using us (340,000, up from 12,000 when I joined), we’ve got a lot of data, and a few more interesting observations to share. Stay tuned!


  1. Perhaps a silly question... But I am wondering...

    You commented on the techcrunch blog:

    @Narendra: The reported number of subscribers from Google includes both Reader and Personalized Homepage; the views data is exclusively from Google Reader, as PH does not render HTML from the body of the feed item. Views are incremented only when that HTML is rendered, so the only views data we’re capturing is from Google Reader.

    How dow you capture that the html is rendered in google reader ? Is there a special image inserted in every post's html that is loaded from your website so you can increase the count ?

    Thanks a lot.

  2. George - You've got it: for publishers who want it, we insert a 1x1 tracking GIF that, when rendered, increments the item view count for that feed item.

  3. Great! Thanks for answering. It's great to know how things work.