Headline Animator Overview and FAQ

Headline Animator is an easy way to promote your latest blog, podcast, or RSS feed-powered content.

What is it?

The Animator is a dynamically generated widget-like graphic that displays the five most recent items in your feed. Think of it as your own personal container that you can size, color, and brand however you see fit.

What does it look like?

The beauty of this service is that it can look however you want it to look. But, if blank canvases frighten you, FeedBurner offers a number of templates to kick-start the creative process.

Design Your Own Animator - Simply provide us with any background image URL (you can even use our default), and this background image becomes a canvas on which you can paint your own headline animator. By "paint", we mean "pick some colors and fonts and then drag and drop some stuff around on your background image wherever you want".

Email Signature Animator - Optimized for use as part of your "signature" in an email, its HTML code links to directly to your feed. You can use this widget to promote your blog or podcast within your signature in Outlook, Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, and even Gmail, for starters.

Classic Headline Animator - The stainless steel original is best suited for use on websites, bulletin boards, and other public locations. Its HTML code links to your feed's original web site.

Where can I put this thing?

Publishers have come up with many cool, personal ways to use Headline Animator on the web. In case you need some inspiration, consider these serving suggestions:

On your MySpace page - Keep your MySpace friends up to date with the freshest content from your blog or podcast feed. Look at how Epic Records customized the look and feel of their Good Charlotte Headline Animator to ensure the freshest content is being displayed in a way that matches the design of the Good Charlotte MySpace page.


In your blog header- Put it front and center as a way to cross-promote content from a sister blog or podcast, or just to give your audience a quick summary of the latest content.

In bulletin board posting profiles - Lots of popular boards allow for "Avatars" or personal images to be displayed in the sidebar next to your own postings. Others also allow HTML signatures, very similar to email.

Anywhere else you can display HTML! - The URL that dynamically generates your Animator's GIF file can be used anywhere images can be displayed. Do you have several blogs? Point readers to your other content. Keep it handy! If you wish to use the Email Signature Animator variant, check out our Tech Tip for using it with popular email applications like Outlook and Gmail.

How do I get one?

Easy! Sign up for a free FeedBurner account if you don't already have one. Then, burn a feed you already publish (or one you don't, such as http://blogs.feedburner.com/feedburner/atom.xml, just for kicks). Burning a feed allows you to apply FeedBurner's feed enhancement services - if you're new to us, here's a backgrounder.

Once your burned feed is set up, click the Publicize tab when you view your feed's details when signed into your FeedBurner account. Click Headline Animator on the menu of publicity services on the left-hand side of the page, enter a title for your Animator on the preview form that appears, click Activate, and you will instantly have HTML code ready to post anywhere you can publish HTML.

Tell me more about Headline Animator's journey toward greatness

Today, FeedBurner tracks "Views," the number of times your Headline Animator was requested and displayed on a website, in a feed, in email or anywhere else. We also track "Clicks," so you can get a sense for how people are engaging with your content out in the wild.

For those of you who have been tuned in to our company blog, you've seen this service go through a pretty steady transformation since its original brushed metal days. Read more about the journey in Headline Animator Overhaul, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part Three and One-Eighth and Part 4.

What is a Headline Animator ad?

An ad unit that displays the most recent headlines (aka live content) from your source feed, placed in the feed ad network reaching millions of feed subscribers.

What does a Headline Animator ad look like?

The beautiful thing about Headline Animator ads is that they can look however you want them to look. Using one of the standard template designs, you can easily create an ad encouraging end users to subscribe to your feed. Or, paint your own canvas and reflect your brand by linking to a hosted background image. Font sizes and colors can be customized. Word wrap can be applied and content can be arranged on the ad however you see fit. Check out this sample ad below.

Subscribe to Non-Partisan News from FeedBurner

What size ads can I place?

Currently, Headline Animators sized 468x60 pixels or 468x120 pixels may be placed as ads in feeds.

How do I create and customize my Headline Animator ad?

Sign in to your FeedBurner account, and click on the Publicize tab. Go to Headline Animator under Services, and design your ad to your heart's content. Be sure to save it in one of the two accepted sizes, and click Activate. To place your ad in the ad network, select the "Promote yourself in the FeedBurner Ad Network" option and follow the step-by-step instructions. View a sample configuration screen

How will my ad appear within a feed?

To see an ad in context, check out sample feed ads on the ad specs page.

Where will my ad run? What audience will I reach?

Your ad will run in the channel or network you select. To determine the best channel for your ad, and to review a representative list of participating brands, visit the FeedBurner Ad Network demographics page, organized by channel.

What's the difference between a channel and a network?

A channel is a broad category such as Business, Consumer Electronics, or Travel. A network is a group of related FeedBurner publishers, organized by a fellow publisher around topics like Music, Venture Capital or Politics.

Can I select the feeds on which my ad will appear?

No. To provide the greatest reach, feed targeting is done at the channel or network level.

What are the budget requirements?

Headline budgets can be $25, $50, $75, $100, $250, $500 or $1000. To place a media buy exceeding $1000, contact the Ad Sales team using this fancy form.

How many impressions will I get for my given budget?

Pricing varies by channel and network and is clearly displayed in the Order Summary section during the configuration process. E.g. "Approximately 3,125 impressions (446 per day) in Computing & Technology"

How is this service different from AdWords?

By placing your ad in the feed ad network, you reach an audience that is complementary to AdWords. Feed advertising is a great way to supplement existing marketing efforts and helps you reach the widest possible audience, particularly in content viewed away from traditional websites.

Where do I track the performance of my ad?

Sign in to your FeedBurner account, go to the Analyze tab for your feed, and look for your ad under "Headline Animator Stats" in the left column.

Can you track clickthrough rates?

Yes. Clickthrough rates (CTRs) are listed with other ad performance stats on the Analyze tab. (See previous question.)

What types of ads perform best?

Unlike search, where readers have a specific goal in mind, feeds attract a loyal subscriber audience who has opted-in to receive regular updates to specific types of content. Typically, ads designed to reach the target demographic perform best.

Can I auto-renew my ad?

Yes. When placing your order, select "Renew my ad automatically" and your ad will run continuously until canceled. Speaking of which... To cancel, go to the Analyze tab for your feed and find your ad under "Headline Animator Stats" in the left column. Uncheck "Renew my ad automatically" and click Save.


If you've created a compelling ad that is helping you promote your content, grow your audience or reach some other marketing goal, drop us an email at Publisher Buzz and you may be featured on the FeedBurner website.

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