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Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer

In a recent survey of their customers HubSpot found that their customers preferred to subscribe to blogs via email subscription nearly 12 times more than their preference for RSS.  HubSpot serves mostly small and medium businesses in a cross-section of verticals.  Therefore, the results are not surprising.  In doing educational seminars and speaking to a variety of different groups, I usually have to describe what RSS actually is.  Most will admit to see the RSS logo on websites that they visit often but not knowing what it was.  Those of us that live and breath technology and digital marketing channels such as social media tend to take for granted that we integrate technologies into our lives well before mainstream society.

Comparing email and RSS subscribers of this blog reveals the exact opposite trend.  Only 5% of you choose to subscribe via email.  What’s interesting about this is that if you take a look at this blog, you’ll notice that the email subscription call-to-action is larger and more prominent than the 2 calls-to-action to subscribe via RSS.  While there are many reasons why this may occur, I think it boils down to a couple of reasons:

1. This is possibly due to topics that are covered around here and the subscriber that attracts.
2. It could be that many of you feel overburdened with email and therefore do not want yet another email to have to read on a daily basis.
3. Some may not like providing their email address due to a fear of spam and feel that if they subscribe via RSS it is easier to opt-out.

For those that are in the 3rd bucket, I can assure you that on this blog your email is held confidential (see my pledge to you on my Newsletter page).  But, I can understand the hesitance to provide your email address especially since every big box retailer, restaurant chain or other business asks for your email address.

I only subscribe to a couple blogs via email, mostly blogs that I manage to ensure that everything is working properly.  There are only a few others that I subscribe to via email because they provide a daily digest of the news within the vertical that they cover.  Otherwise, and more often, I prefer to subscribe via RSS.  Currently, I’m subscribed to 200+ blogs and read, in general, between 400-600 articles per day.  If I was to subscribe to even a portion of these blogs via email, I would have a full inbox at the start of the day before business and personal emails began to fly in.

Where do you fall?  Do you prefer to subscribe via RSS or email to blogs?  If you use both methods, what factors weigh in your decision?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to receive future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Photo Credit: HubSpot

  • http://twitter.com/justinlevy justinlevy

    Which do you prefer using: RSS or email for subscribing to blogs? http://bit.ly/8DjakC

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/unmarketing unmarketing

    Great post. RT @justinlevy: Which do you prefer using: RSS or email for subscribing to blogs? http://bit.ly/8DjakC

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/digitalvision digitalvision

    Brilliant find, @unmarketing.. RT @justinlevy: Which do you prefer using: RSS or email for subscribing to blogs? http://bit.ly/8DjakC

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/THGBusiness THGBusiness

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer: In a recent survey of their customers HubSpot found that their customers preferred t http://url4.eu/17pEK

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/jlevymedia jlevymedia

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer http://bit.ly/4pJqfU

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/sfsmjobshoot sfsmjobshoot

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer http://bit.ly/6asaHM #news #socialmedia

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/sfsocialmedia sfsocialmedia

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer http://bit.ly/6asaHM #news #socialmedia

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/socialmediajs socialmediajs

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer http://bit.ly/4zWWSN #news #socialmedia

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://twitter.com/kelvin8048 kelvin8048

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer http://j.mp/7Aopi0

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://www.twitter.com/unmarketing unmarketing

    Great point and one you can't stress enough.

    RSS is great for techies and net geeks like me…. except that I don't use RSS either. I tend to not login for a while, and I always see email daily. It's getting to the point where they're starting to overflow my inbox and for the first time today I debated going back to RSS, but then I end up not reading great blogs.

    Like yours :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/PaulArthurSmith Paul Arthur Smith

    RSS. 100%. Especially since I found Feedly last year and it's made the reading of, finding out about, and sharing what I come across much more enjoyable. I wrote a piece about it, and even since then, it continues to improve. http://www.greensmithconsulting.com/greensmith_

  • http://twitter.com/alisaan Aleksandra Stalmach

    I use email 100% – I have RSS feeds but I never check them (like unmarketing). Email is something I check daily and (when I had data) came to my phone as well.

    And there's a greater likelihood that if there is a call to action, I'll action it right away so I can clear it from my inbox. RSS I may forget (read: ok I WILL forget).

    Email is just super easy to set up…for geeks and non-geeks alike.

  • http://saramooney.com/ Sara Mooney

    Although I prefer RSS, it hasn't been very portable until recently. Even now Google reader mobile is clunky. It's much easier for me to receive an email and read that on the go, and tend to subscribe to blogs I must read every day via email. Everything else is left to the RSS reader.

  • http://convertiv.com/blog/ Chris

    RSS 100% – I get enough email as it is. Its nice to check out at the end of the day and breeze over google reader. I equate it to how my father you used to sit down and read the paper at now.

  • http://twitter.com/manielse Mark Nielsen

    By far RSS. In the past I subscribed to several sites via email but reality was that I would never open them. RSS isolates news into a separate a activity rather than filling my mailbox.

  • http://thelacproject.com ajleon

    I know people have been saying this for a while, but it really does seem that twitter might be the death of RSS. If you follow interesting peeps or use columns/lists, then your community organically curates great information/blogs for you. For instance, I hopped onto this post because I saw that @unmarketing tweeted out what a great post it was…I guess we'll see.

    GREAT post, bro, as always :)

  • melissaleon

    Its funny cause as I was reading the comments I realized that I am going to agree with AJ. I subscribe via RSS, however I hardly use it. What I use to keep up with the blogs I like is mostly depend on twitter and then once in a while I go to my RSS and catch up on what I have missed.

  • http://blog.poplabs.com mayhemchaos

    I prefer RSS simply because I get enough email as it is. I use my Google Reader to put my feeds in folders and just run down the list. I have a bloggers folders, a Listening post for my company, SEM/SEO related, etc. With over 50 subscriptions, my email would be unmanageable.

    Looking forward to having you at IS 2010!

  • http://LeanStartups.com Apolinaras Sinkevicius

    I have found that RSS is a much more efficient medium for me. I get a lot of e-mail and “process” it on my Blackberry as I sit on the train. I don't go to sleep until my inbox has zero unread/unanswered. So I am very selective about what goes in my inbox.
    RSS I can very quickly scan trough, star what I should read, and than hit “Mark all read”.

    That all said, I provide all subscription options on my blog, because I want my readers my their own choice how they want to “digest” my content.

  • http://twitter.com/justinlevy justinlevy

    Which do you prefer for catching up on blogs: RSS or email http://bit.ly/8DjakC

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Peter Peiser

    I prefer RSS to email. It's a pity Facebook does not have feeds for their group and fan pages. Anyone using http://www.feed43.com/?

    I'm using Newzie to read my feeds. What about Outlook 2007 RSS?

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    Awwe, you're too kind ;) I subscribe to the majority of my feeds in RSS but
    the really important ones or ones I don't want to miss, I subscribe via
    email.

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    I've checked out Feedly before and while I think it's cool, I still haven't
    ever been able to break away from my like of regular Google Reader.

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    I definitely understand and agree with you there. Even if I star a post in
    Google Reader, I usually don't end up going back to it. If I flag something
    in email, it sits there and annoys me until I take care of it :)

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    What type of mobile device are you using? If you're using an iPhone, Droid,
    or Blackberry, there are some great RSS apps that hook right into Google
    Reader.

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    That's exactly what I equate it to – my digital newspaper. Cheers!

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    Great explanation of why you choose to use RSS. I fully agree!

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    While I think Twitter Lists are interesting, I don't think they will replace
    RSS 100%, at least not for me. What I appreciate about Twitter, Facebook
    and other channels is that they ensure I don't miss news that I *might* miss
    flying through my RSS. Also, if something is breaking news, I'm more likely
    to see it on Twitter. Then I can read tons of viewpoints in RSS as there
    will be multiple posts about it.

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    Check out my reasoning for still loving RSS with the comment I left for AJ
    :)

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    Exactly! Now try extending that to 200+ feeds and growing by the day. Some
    blogs post 50-60+ times per week. That would be an additional 2600+ emails
    per year, alone. Yikes!

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    I agree with you and that's exactly why I prefer RSS. If I had that much
    more email, I would go insane trying to process it all. 200+ per day emails
    is enough for me, thank you :)

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    Hi Peter- I've never checked out Feed43 before. I agree it would be cool if
    they allowed you to pull the activity into RSS. But, I wouldn't use it. I
    never use RSS for anything but articles. So, I don't pull Twitter into RSS
    or anything like that. For me, like I said above, it's my digital
    newspaper.

  • http://twitter.com/intoxicologist intoxicologist

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer? via @justinlevy http://tinyurl.com/yfhxclk >> I’m a ‘Favorites’ lister. How about you?

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://www.therisetothetop.com David Siteman Garland

    Interesting read and perspective. I definitely agree in the power of email as most of our subscribers subscribe via email (I can see people with fear in their eyes at the thought of RSS….what is that?!)

    In my experience though, I subscribe mostly by RSS to blogs via Google Reader.

    I have very few email subscriptions. Specifically one is Mashable because they post so many times per day and they are in short snippets.

    Like many have posted on here, email gets a bit cluttered and RSS puts it more on my time and workflow.

    Although, I've had a blast explaining RSS to folks. If you ever want to see a great reaction, show someone that has no idea your reader (whatever it is) and show them how you go through info and headlines fast. Eyes light up. People cry. It is sweet.

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    Haha! I totally agree with your last paragraph about flying through
    headlines. :)

  • http://www.therisetothetop.com David Siteman Garland

    Like a monkey on caffeine :)

  • http://www.colinalsheimer.com/ Colin Alsheimer

    I have to say, I'm completely on the RSS boat. It always surprises me when I hear about a general lack of RSS adoption by the masses. I couldn't imagine wading through all the messages in my inbox if I subscribed to all my favorite blogs through e-mail. Could you?

  • http://twitter.com/LevelTen_Colin LevelTen_Colin

    Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer? http://ow.ly/YsmA #smchallenge

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    Yeah, I don't think I would want 800-1,000+ more emails per day ;) I agree
    that, at times, I'm surprised there isn't more mass adoption. However, you
    have to remember that a majority of society only use computers for basic
    email, word processing and maybe a couple other tasks.

  • http://twitter.com/devseo devseo

    Interesting read: Email or RSS: Which Do You Prefer – http://bit.ly/8kTBkY #socialmedia

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Anonymous

     RSS Feed are subscribing with fresh information lead to generating. As well as easier way to subscribe put-out. RSS subscribers of this blog reveals the exact opposite trend.