Cnet Adds RSS Ad Units

NEW YORK Cnet Networks has started running banner ads embedded with Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, allowing advertisers to pipe real-time information into Web ad units.

E! Entertainment television is the first advertiser to use the tool, which Cnet plans to make available across 15 of the Web sites in its network and for all Interactive Advertising Bureau ad units.

“It enables them to experiment creatively and optimize their campaign at much lower production costs,” said Laura Froelich, vice president of marketing innovation at San Francisco-based Cnet.

The E! campaign, which began on Friday, promotes its nightly “E! News” Hollywood coverage on Cnet site TV.com. The ad copy reads, “What do you want to know about Hollywood?” while headlines scroll on a ticker at the bottom of the placement. Clicking on the headline opens a new window with the story from E! Online.

Froelich said she expects more marketers will use the tool to promote their RSS feeds, which are used by publishers and marketers to distribute content.

“A food manufacturer might use this to highlight a different recipe every day,” she said. “An apparel maker might use it to highlight fashion seasonally. It’s really only bound by your imagination.”

Cnet’s RSS ad units follow a similar effort by Reuters, which created ad units for Diet Coke with live Reuters’ news headlines, as part of Diet Coke’s “Lighter Side” push. It also created a campaign with Nasdaq, using finance and business headlines.

Some Web agencies, including Omnicom Group’s Agency.com, have used RSS feeds to dynamically update ad units. Agency.com used RSS for British Airways to keep banner-ad flight offers fresh and pushed CNN.com’s broadband service with updated video information.