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What are the benefits of RSS feeds for digital signage

First off, what exactly is an RSS feed?

As Digital Trends explains RSS stands for “really simple syndication,” or depending on who you ask “rich site summary”. 

RSS is an old-school technology that has influenced modern internet tools and is essentially a stripped backed and algorithm free version of you of these modern tools. Digital Trends goes on to explain that “RSS is just simple text files with basic updated information - news pieces, articles, that sort of thing”.

“The death of RSS” has been a continual conversation over the years, ever since the invention of more targeted platforms. However, RSS feeds remain widely used and still play an important role for many reasons across the web.

According to BuiltWith user trends 23 million websites currently publish RSS feeds

RSS feeds or social media for your digital signage?

Displaying social media content on your digital signage is a great way to interact with your audiences and encourage them to engage with your brand in a positive and social way. You can also encourage users to upload social media directly from your digital displays by encouraging them to take specific actions, be it uploading photography or playing a game on the screens and posting the score. Check out our guide to “Online Games & Digitsl Signage” for more information.

RSS feed

Social media display advantages for digital signage include;

  • Increasing engagement and interactivity

  • Presenting a fun and colourful representation of your brand

  • Reinforcing your brand message (internally or externally)

  • Driving positive actions and sharing

RSS feeds are more basic than this. However this doesn’t mean that they don’t also have a place on your digital signage. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your digital signage. 

(You can find out more about how to use social media on your digital signage by checking out our guide, “The top 10 tips for how to use social media on your digital signage”.) 

Here’s our rundown of how RSS feeds can help your organisation. 

They are algorithm free

A major difference between social media, search engines and websites versus RSS feeds is that RSS feeds do not rely on algorithms to dictate the content that they display, whereas all of these other channels and platforms rely heavily on them. 

news in office

Algorithms and hyper targeting

Modern technology tools have become more and more adept at targeting relevant information to their audiences. This both keeps audiences engaged with the content and increases their likelihood to stay loyal to the platforms they are using. Whether it be in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages), on social media, or elsewhere user information and actions are monitored and the users are then presented with the most accurate information possible based on their web activity and habits. 

From brands competing for space and attention, journalists or newspapers trying to tempt you to read their story, or charities attempting to get you to sign up, the primary function of websites and social media platforms for businesses and organisations is to get you to buy in to whatever it is they are selling, be it products, services, news, or a particular message (while generally not doing this in an overtly salesy way necessarily).

RSS feeds in contrast to this hyper targeted marketing and advertising will present a simple display all of the latest news from a particular website or blog. This is because they are free of algorithms dictating which content to display to the user at any given time. 

RSS feed vs social media

Why choose an RSS feed over more targeted options?

So how can there be space for RSS feeds in a world where we have ultra high definition content, glossy images, carefully crafted copy and hyper targeted messaging ensuring that we are only delivered the most tailored and appropriate content based on our interactivity online?

1. It’s simpler

Well… put simply, sometimes there is a need to cut out the middleman and go back to basics. While hyper targeting is fantastic for a number of reasons, and in general makes everyone’s lives that little bit easier, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the only means of consuming information.

If we have a particular interest in a topic or subject for instance we might not want it to be shortened or captioned to be consumed in a more digestible way.

RSS on digital screens

2. It’s good for business

This is particularly the case for professional environments. Many businesses and organisations will want the overview AND then the real-time and detailed analysis that is only possible with a feed that is not biased by specific algorithms.

Office RSS Feeds are great for instance if you work in a newsroom where you might be interested in every breaking news story and not simply the stories that an algorithm thinks you should be interested in. If you work in a stock exchange you may want a rolling RSS feed of all the changing rates based on the time in which they are occurring live and not to be guided to one piece of information over another. (i.e you might expect a feed from the Financial Times in a corporate setting).

The audience in this instance can be kept constantly updated on raw information from a particular source, giving them a more accurate picture of what is happening in the area of relevance to them.

RSS feed for audience

3. It works for passive audiences

Digital signage is also a great way to keep people informed and entertained in a passive way. As employees tend to spend a great deal of time in the office for example, providing a constant RSS feed of rolling information means that they can dip in and out of it as and when they please to give them a general overview of the information in a more digestible way than having to actively do a search online. 

Read more to find out How digital signage can help in your newsroom. 

For public areas such as doctor’s waiting rooms, or hotel lobbies, it can also help to provide entertainment and keep visitors informed while they wait. 

4. It’s display is basic 

The majority of the web relies heavily on high definition and carefully thought out and designed imagery, videos and text. This is because these sites want their audience to read their message before anyone else's. 

RSS feeds in contrast are basic. While this may not always be quite so pleasing on the eye or exciting from a brand point of view, if what you are trying to achieve with your RSS feed is to provide consistently updated news in a simple and digestible way that is unbiased by competing stories or images, then an RSS feed could be the best choice for you. 

So there you have it. Depending on your requirements an RSS feed could be just the answer that you are looking for when it comes to your digital signage solution.

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