Danny commented on this post, and sensibly makes the point: "It's not altogether clear what kind of metrics you are looking for."

So, to clarify...I'm asking for:

an agreement on the key metrics that marketers (and anyone interested) can use to understand and compare useage & consumption data of RSS feeds at the aggregate, not personal data level.

(Before I go on, I  agree with Danny: the web does have more value than just a place for selling stuff :-) ...in the same way RSS will have many more applications & usage scenarios than content/blogging syndication...)

Examples:

  • number of views/impressions (where the RSS post has been viewed...similar to the established email metric of 'open rate')
  • number of views/impressions by client (browser, reader, server app, etc)
  • number of views/impressions of headline only (similar to email metric of 'subscribers')
  • number of views/impressions of headline only by client (browser, reader, server/machine app, etc)
  • click-throughs generated from RSS reader to webposting
  • click-throughs generated from Referrers to webposting
  • referrer URL details (not a metric, but useful to know)

Whatever the solution, it needs to be driven from the server-side (as per current email/web reporting solutions/modules).

There are ways of achieving some of the above metrics today:

  • adding web-bugs / transparent gifs / ad-server tracker to a post's body (similar to email/web today)
  • adding 'go' type URLs within a post's body (similar to email/web today)

I'm already seeing RSS feeds that are using first of these two techniques.  By using these techniques you could get:

  • number of views/impressions (open rate)
  • number of views/impressions by client

Most blogging & CMS today software provides:

  • click-throughs generated from Referrers
  • referrer URL details

I don't know how the remainder would be achieved:

++  number of views/impressions of headline only
++  number of views/impressions of headline only by client
++  click-throughs generated from RSS reader to webposting

The fact is we can get some of the metrics/reporting <not just> marketers need (although I believe this depends however of the type of feed you are using, i.e. RSS or whatever) , but we don't have an industry agreement on what the key metrics should be.  This is what I propose needs to happen, pronto.

(Update: Since this post, I think I've found some answers)