Troubleshooting RSS in Campaigns

Mailchimp offers two ways to share blog and website content in your campaigns using RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS Campaigns can be set up to go out daily, weekly, or monthly, and automatically populate your campaign layout with the last batch of items from your RSS feed. If you want to mix in RSS posts with other content, you can drop a feed into other campaign types.

You may encounter some errors with your RSS feed, content, or merge tags. Check out the following list for common problems.

Mailchimp says my URL isn't a valid RSS feed

  • Is there a typo?
    If the feed URL is misspelled or contains unnecessary spaces, our system will reject the feed.
  • Is your feed password protected?
    If your blog is password protected, we can't access the content to display it in the campaign. To make sure your feed works as expected, use a public RSS feed with Mailchimp.
  • Did your feed change?
    If you're using the same feed you always have, it's possible that your web administrator moved the feed or made other changes to your website that have interfered with our process.
  • Is the feed set up properly?
    To validate your RSS feed, Mailchimp sends an "are you there?" request to your feed's server. If your server doesn't respond to that request, the feed will fail. Validate your feed or check with your web or server administrator to find out why something isn't working.

My RSS feed breaks in my campaign

  • Is there a typo or formatting error in your source code?
    Verify that the merge tags you're using are spelled and formatted correctly, and check for extra HTML code that might be disorganized. If there are any HTML tags inside the *|MERGETAG|* text, the entire tag can break.
    Incorrect format: Check out our *|RSSFEED: TITLE|* newsletter!
    Correct format: Check out our *|RSSFEED:TITLE|* newsletter!
  • Does your feed include the content your merge tags are asking for?
    Feeds can break when a merge tag in the campaign calls for information that doesn't exist in your RSS feed, particularly if it's a custom-made RSS feed. Try a standard RSS feed, or ask your developer or web administrator what could be wrong.
  • Are images appearing as links?
    If you are using enclosure tags to display images, you may see a link to where the image is hosted instead. Check with your web administrator to set up your feed to show each item's image using <media:content> RSS tags.

My RSS feed is wrong in Preview Mode

  • Are there any typos or formatting errors?
    Verify that the merge tags you're using are spelled and formatted correctly, and check for extra HTML code that might be out of order. If there are any HTML tags inside the *|MERGETAG|* text, the entire tag can break.
  • Are the items on your RSS feed out-of-date?
    In your campaign preview, Mailchimp only displays RSS items that would be included in the next send. If you don't have any recent items—items posted after your last RSS Campaign was sent—Mailchimp displays the most recent one, to give you an idea of how the layout will look.
  • Are your images the wrong size?
    Often, blog images are pulled into feeds at a size that's much larger than necessary, which changes the look of your campaign. Talk to your developer or web administrator about changing that image formats on the feed.

I can't preview my RSS content.

Check how many feedblocks you have in your campaign. If you have more than five feedblocks, you may not be able to preview your campaign in Mailchimp. To preview your campaign, we recommend you send a test email to yourself, or cut down on the number of feedblocks in your campaign instead.

My RSS feed stretches my campaign

When Mailchimp pulls the feed to add content to your campaign, it pulls in content as it appears in the feed. If large images are included, your template width may stretch to the width of the widest image. To have Mailchimp resize the images when we pull in the feed, check the Resize RSS feed images to fit template box on the RSS Feed step.

Currently, this option can't resize images in feeds that are viewed in Outlook. It also doesn't resize videos.

I updated my feed, but my RSS Campaign didn't send.

  • Is your feed valid?
    Mailchimp will warn you if your RSS feed is invalid before you finalize your RSS Campaign, but if something changes on your website's feed, it could break without warning. Try checking your feed URL with a validator, like the one at
  • When is your RSS Campaign scheduled to go out?
    If your campaigns are scheduled to go out at daily 10am, but you didn't update your feed until 10:05am today, the campaign won't be triggered until tomorrow at 10am.
  • Is the feed paused?
    When you navigate to your Campaigns page, you should see status badges next to each campaign. If your campaign was paused for editing but not restarted, you will see the Paused badge.
  • Are the timestamps set up correctly?
    Make sure your <pubDate> tags are set up and populating correctly. If a <pubDate> is set in another time zone or a day off, Mailchimp may not recognize that the items were posted before the next campaign is triggered.
    Here is an example of the correct setup for your RSS feed. The <pubDate> is in English.

    <title>Mailchimp Blog</title>
    <description>Mailchimp, email marketing, and monkeys!</description>
    <pubDate>Tue, 16 Sep 2010 15:55:58 +0000</pubDate>
        <title>osCommerce and Joomla Plugins for Mailchimp</title>
        <pubDate>Tue, 16 Sep 2010 15:55:58 +0000</pubDate>
        <dc:creator>Ben</dc:creator><br />

    We pull in the date for any of these tags, in this order: 'pubDate', 'pubdate', 'published', 'created', 'updated', 'date.' If you set your campaign to daily, it will send posts from the last 24 hours before it was triggered; from the last seven days for weekly; and for the last 30 days for monthly.
    When you first set up an RSS Campaign, we'll show the last post as a preview example if you haven't added an article in a few days.

The send time for my RSS Campaign is later than the scheduled time.

This can occur when we've run into an issue with retrieving your feed. If the feed is not available on the first try, we will retry sending your campaign for an hour.

Edit an original RSS Campaign

If you encounter any of these problems, you may need to edit the original RSS "parent" campaign. To do this, you need to pause the campaign.

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