I am a Digger, not a prolific one, I don’t spend all day on it, I’m not a “top” digger just Joe Blogs normal. I am a Stumbler no power account here just an interest in Stumbleupon and until they took it away a healthy but not amazing audience score. Therefore I am uniquely qualified to give you this guide as I am in the same boat as you when it comes to leverage traffic from these sites.
The statistics in this post is based on server logs, and Google Analytics data from a range of web sites over the last 4 months, most of the posts had minimal traffic from either source, it includes data from 2 front pages on Digg and what I’m dubbing a “super stumble”. Various people have contributed data so a big thanks to all of them including Nick, Olaf, and Ash.
A final note, these are stat’s we have collected and personal thoughts, think of it as a rule of thumb, for example advertisement you may get a front page Digg and make thousands with a good advert but I’m not sure you could do it 9 times out of 10.
Stumbleupon vs Digg
How many visitors the different services bring over time?
Digg Digg is not actually that great for traffic building, unless you reach the front page, digg traffic is limited. Even reaching the up and coming popular page no longer provides a steady stream however hit the front page and traffic will increase rapidly, with a sharp decline over a period of a week. Digg long term traffic is very week with even popular stories only receiving a handful of new visitors. Comments on the Digg page do increase traffic but only at the up and coming stage.
Traffic 3/5 – If your big its great but short lived
Stumbleupon Even unpopular stumble receives a small amount of traffic. Stumble traffic arrives in waves with an initial test wave and 2 or 3 follow up waves within the week. To continue the stumble a user or users must thumb it up. Even 1 or 2 thumbs up will bring in a fair amount of traffic. Stumbleupon traffic also seems to increase based on reviews, the biggest factor in Stumbleupon traffic appears to be the audience rating of the original stumbler. This seems to dictate the number of waves the site gets.
Traffic 4/5 – Almost impossible to get a “super stumble” but far more continuous traffic
Commenting / Participating
Do visitors brought through these services add to the conversation or participate in a site? Digg
Diggers love controversy and a small minority are flamers who deliberately say negative comments to cause offence, however on the whole Diggers comment within the Digg page rather then the original page. Certain sites are likely to cause more fuss then others such as SEO sites which have a very negative press amongst a vocal minority who believe that they are being “used”. Diggers while ad blind do like “freebies” and so convert well to marketing surveys and other data collection based sites in exchange for prizes.
Commenting 3/5 – Opinionated and noisy, you may wish they didn’t comment
Stumblers are very passive and rarely engage with web sites they view, in many ways this mentality is a sign that many consider themselves to be looking through a window to a site. When they do participate its on an individual level and so are less likely to leave negative comments instead they will use the thumbs to mark it as negative. Stumblers are less likely to participate in information gathering exercises if this is the page they are presented but are far more likely then there Digg counterparts to click a link to participate in such an event.
Commenting 2/5 -Quiet and reserved but that doesn’t mean easy to please
Are visitors coming from these sites provide good revenue?
Digg Diggers are notoriously ad blind with many using adblock and similar tools, they also don’t convert well to affiliate marketing or direct sales. This is probably due to the diverse nature and demographics of Digg users, indeed many users react badly if they believe rightly or wrongly there is an attempt to sell something. The only form of advertising that seemed to work was In-line advertising which was particularly effective between comment posts on blogs, but only when unique to the site.
Adverts 1/5 – You won’t make a fortune directly from Digg users
Stumbleupon Stumblers are almost as ad blind as their Digg counterparts but are more likely to follow affiliate links and to make purchases through links. Interesting In Line advertising made no real difference to stumblers, though I suspect this is down to the way stumblers look at a page they simply never scrolled down to see the ads. While Stumblers are ad blind they will provide a trackle of advert based revenue which has on the whole paid the bandwidth cost of those visitors making stumblers cost effective.
Adverts 2/5 – You might get lucky and they should pay for themselves in terms of hosting costs.
Bookmarking & Feeds
Do visitors Bookmark the site or add site feeds for later reading? note: this is more observation then stats, its very difficult to correlate bookmarking to users and so is based on when similar posts have been dugg or stumbled.
Digg Diggers seem to be bookmark wary and seem not to use del.icio.us and similar systems as often as you would expect, either they all bookmark using their browser or they really on Digg to tell them where they have been. Feed readership increases proportionally to Diggers indicating that diggers are no more or less users of feeds then the average person. However there is a far larger then normal drop in feed readership after the next post, Diggers probably subscribe to many blogs and simply forget why they subscribed to that one and drop it from the reader, also feeds with adverts saw a much higher percentage of users dropped as did feeds publishing extra information such as del.icio.us links.
Bookmarking 2/5 – Diggers don’t write home and its hard to keep their attention
Stumbleupon There is a higher correlation between stumblers and del.icio.us users then with Diggers to the point that stumble traffic brings above average bookmarking on a given site. Stumblers also appear to bookmark double, where they book mark both the page of entry and the main site. Feed readership also is slightly above average but has many similar problems to Diggers with a rapid decrease in readership after follow up posts. Though partially due to the wave effect of Stumbleupon this is harder to detect. There was no noticeable effect of adverts or extras in the feeds with stumblers either liking or being ad blind (there was not increase revenue through ads).
Bookmarking 4/5 – Good source of del.icio.us traffic and good feed readers
How long on average do visitors stay on a site?
="http://ventureskills.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/digg.png" alt="Digg Icon" /> Digg Diggers spend on average between 20-30 seconds on an article page, preferences are for shorter articles. Diggers are also likely to spend a further 40seconds to 2 minutes on a site on the front page.
Time 3/5 – Regardless of opinions Diggers do appear to read articles
Stumbleupon Stumblers are likely to spend 10-20 seconds on an article page, however if a stumbler stays on site they are likely to stay for several minutes and explore the site more fully and reading several articles
Time 2/5 – Unless you get them quick they are gone
Are visitors likely to follow links on the page? Digg Diggers are less likely to click any link on a page then an average visitor. As stated previously Diggers are mostly ad blind and rarely click “related” links the statistics for clicks to the home page are also exceedingly low. deeper pages in multiple page articles also receive fewer clicks yet example pages receive higher then normal clicks. This is the only time that Diggers actively click and principally only on technology focused sites.
Clicks 1/5 – Better luck getting a chimp to click on your site
Stumbleupon Stumblers react very quickly to sites and if a positive opinion has formed they will be very “clicky” and explore the site. Stumblers that stayed more then 20 seconds had a far higher then normal affinity to related link clicks and to the home page. On the whole Stumblers will click a link 3 times more frequently then an average visitor with the exception of adverts and navigation. Stumblers tend to be more methodical and often search taxonomy structures (categories) if present.
Clicks 4/5 – Once you got them interested you can’t stop their fingers!
Will visitors then link to you on other sites? note: I have saved this to last, like bookmarking this is hard to prove definitively and below are observations and estimations again based on similar posts to link ratios. Digg Bloggers use Digg as a means to find new ideas and thoughts, sites on the front page can see a correlation to being on the front page and links to their site from other sites. Primarily these are blogs but other article sites also use Digg in this way. However small number of Digg results in almost no links from Digg and so as a link building tool you need to be on the front page of Digg. Also Digg itself provides a searchable link and as an authority site is crawled regularly by search engines.
Links 3(5)/5 – If your on the front page then its amazing and links will follow, otherwise useful only to get a site crawled
Links 3/5 – Direct correlation more happy stumblers more links.
So Stumble or Digg?
Digg -15(17)/35 Stumbleupon – 21/35
Stumbleupon will provide you with traffic that is more consistent, more likely to click links and will return more often. However even though Digg comes out at the bottom I’m still a fan of Digg though today its not really a viable traffic tool for the masses, and certainly not worth trying to promote an SEO style post on. But even with the flamers and comment trolls you can find real gems and has one major advantage over Stumbleupon as a content developer you have 2 chances to impress, the headline and the content! Stumbleupon you have less then a few seconds before they hit the little circle and are on there way.