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Is RSS the Best of Web 2.0?

Not always.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has the highest value among Web 2.0 technologies, according to a Forrester Research report cited in a BtoB article.

RSS was considered to have substantial business value by 23% of respondents. One in three said they used RSS for marketing.

Web 2.0 business value was not measured by 14% of respondents. Of those who did measure, most looked at metrics such as ROI and total cost of ownership.

Forrester surveyed IT decision-makers between April and June 2007.

So is RSS really the most valuable Web 2.0 technology?

That depends on who is asked, and how "valuable" is defined.

RSS is simple to implement, requires no maintenance and can be integrated easily into all business processes using most forms of content. That is all music to the ears of chief technology officers and other IT decision-makers.

US interactive marketers are also catching the RSS bug, judging by another Forrester study conducted with ClickZ. The study found that 40% of US interactive marketers were either using or piloting RSS in 2007, up from 10% in 2006.

However, that does not mean that business-to-consumer marketers all think that RSS is more effective or valuable than other new media.

In fact, a November 2006 study by the American Advertising Federation put RSS at the bottom of select online new media types - including Web 2.0 methods like social networks and blogs - in terms of effectiveness.

If the technology is not so hot, why are marketers using and piloting RSS in growing numbers, as indicated in the Forrester/ClickZ study?

Those piloting RSS may be testing exactly how effective it is. Others who are using it may not consider it the best new tool in terms of effectiveness or value, but use it anyway as part of a campaign with multiple elements.

This is especially true with television networks, which recognize the need to adapt to a Web 2.0 environment. Users expect to be able to integrate their own media with professionally created content. As a result, 74% of the top TV networks said they had included RSS in the media mix during the first quarter of 2007, according to a 360i study.

RSS, like any emerging media, is not for every marketer. TV networks use it with other Web 2.0 tools to reach Internet users. Techies like it because it is flexible and low-maintenance.

Learn more about how consumers are using new media. Please read the eMarketer User-Generated Content: Will Web 2.0 Pay Its Way? report.

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