Mailing lists, IM groups stumble me stumble you forum posts, do any of these schemes to maximise social media traffic actually work? Well lets find out… How we do the tests Myself and a team of caring slaves (researchers) pour over logs provided to us by website owners as well as our own sites, we submit and follow stumbles and Diggs as well as normal traffic. We then average out the traffic over several sites to create the graphs. Each graph is based on a minimum of 10 sites averaged. To try and minimise any bias we don’t include sites/posts related to social media or out of niche for the site. While we try to minimise as many variables as possible we are talking about live web sites which we don’t always control and are not always designed as part of our experiments in other words take the graphs with a pinch of salt and if your results are different don’t blame us!
Note from Tim: Every post is different and every mailing list, forum and IM system work in different ways we are not saying your group does not work! Think of this like a network penetration test we have used well known techniques to test how two large social media services cope nothing more.
StumbleUpon There is no such thing as “normal stumble” so we have to take an average, to make life easier we discount stumbles that didn’t get more then 3 stumblers thumbing up and we also discounted stumbles that did not have a peak spike of more then 100 visitors within 3 days. We use the same basis for all our stumble graphs. Digg Digg is a little different for each of our tests we measure which had more front page results on average our normal pages or our assisted pages. We also looked at bury rates, these are the overall average of a story being buried regardless of if it reaches the front page. Note: Buries are very topic dependant politics, social media are two topic that suffer from the “bury brigade” a group of Diggers who bury any associated topics as such getting a post from those niches on to the front page is much harder then normal. Average Bury rate: 12%
Forum Stumble me Stumble you
If you visit any large forum you will come across the “Stumble me and I will Stumble you” posts this is perhaps the open face of assisting social media. If you are a paranoid sort of soul you would immediately be looking over the shoulder after all if you found this forum what’s to stop others? StumbleUpon Light blue is the forum posts the darker our normal Digg On average normal posts had a better chance of making the Digg home page then Forum assisted posts. Average Bury rate: 26.4%
With the support of 3 mailing lists we tracked nearly a 100 users, not all voted on all stories all the time and one of the features that make mailing lists so useful is they are not easy to spot people are voting over a period of time and from lots of locations, but does it work? StumbleUpon Light blue is the mailing list assisted posts the darker our normal Digg On average normal posts had a better chance of making the Digg home page then mailing list assisted posts. Average Bury rate: 13%
“hi Ya any chance you can give x a push” we all do it me included but what if you did this on a wide scale rather then just the person you are currently talking to. We tracked nearly 90 people through IM as we asked for stumbles and Diggs. StumbleUpon Light blue is the instant message assisted posts the darker our normal Digg On average Instant message assisted posts had a better chance of making the Digg home page then non assisted posts. Average Bury rate: 28.5% Note: This is a scary statistic but we may have a reason, it like every thing else is down to our friends we may well have had some rather anti social friends and never knew it. UPDATE: I came across an article on IM epidemic within Digg.
None of our assisted stumbles did as well as being left alone though the use of instant messages does appear to give an additional boost but damages the total number of visitors over a long term. Likewise mailing list and Forum posts don’t show any gains with dig, an interesting statistic was the high bury ratio for forum posts could this be Digg auto burying based on referrer? Of all our methods only the use of instant messages showed an increase chance of hitting the front page, the reason would be the speed issue which is still a major factor in the Digg algorithm however it showed an alarming bury ratio as well over a quarter of instant message Diggs were being buried that’s a very scary statistic. Ultimately the answer is assisting stumbles and Diggs doesn’t help if your content was going to work it will work, if it wasn’t it won’t. Of course every so often an assisted post will make it popular but the problem is people will associate the popular status with the assistance rather then with the quality of the post.