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Why StumbleUpon Sends More Traffic Than Digg

I was digging around in the Google Analytics stats for Digital Photography School this afternoon and did some analysis of some of the most popular pages on the blog over the last month.

One page that has done exceptionally well and continues to bring in reasonable traffic even six weeks after it was written is 11 Surefire Tips for Improving Your Landscape Photography.

The post has had just over 93,000 page views from around 70,000 visitors since I posted i on 18 May. Here’s how the traffic was spread out over this time (you’ll want to click it to enlarge the graph in a new window):

Traffic-1

The Spike – Days 1-7

You can see very clearly that there was a real spike of traffic in the first couple of days. The day after I posted this tutorial hit the popular page on Digg. Here’s how the traffic came in over the first week (i’ve rounded these numbers to the nearest 50):

18 May (the day I posted) – 6,400 page views – largely from direct traffic (via RSS). StumbleUpon generated 405 page views.
19 May – 30,000 page views – 21,000 from Digg, another 2500 from RSS and regular readers, plus another 6000 or so from other sites like Delicious, Popurls and other blogs/sites linking up. StumbleUpon generated 575 page views.
20 May – 6200 page views – Digg sent 1550 of them, another digg like site (Wykop) sent 1200, direct traffic was around 900, other sites still sent a bit and StumbleUpon hit 1050 page views. (note, Google started sending a little traffic on this day).
21 May – 6600 page views – Wykop sent 2500, Digg sent 1100, direct traffic was 700, Google sent 200 and StumbleUpon continued to rise to 1300.
22 May – 3350 page views – Digg was down to 600 page views while StumbleUpon was at 953. Other sites and Google made up the rest.
23 May - 2250 page views – Digg sent 300 page views and Stumbleupon 800. Other sites the rest.
24 May – 2000 page views – Digg sent 150 page views and Stumbleupon generated 550.

OK – so that was the ‘spike’ and while StumbleUpon has generated more traffic than Digg in the last few days – Digg is still the clear winner after the first week:

  1. Digg – 24,410 page views (43% of all traffic to the post for this period)
  2. Direct Traffic – 8634 page views
  3. StumbleUpon – 5599 page views (9.5% of traffic to the post)
  4. Wykop – 4661 page views
  5. Delicious – 2523 page views

The Tail – Days 8-43

It’s usually at this point that a blogger would stop tracking how successful an individual post is going (in fact I tend to lose a little interest after the first 3-4 days) but out of interest today I decided to see what happened to traffic to this post since 24 May. It’s been 5 or so weeks – so how much traffic has the post generated and where did it come from?

Here’s how the traffic graph for this five week period looks (click to enlarge):

Traffic-2

As you can see, the post has continued to generate traffic over the last 5 weeks. On it’s highest day it generated 2800 page views and it’s not dipped below 400.

I won’t go through the period day by day but can you guess where the majority of the traffic came from?

You guessed it – StumbleUpon.

Can you guess how many page views it generated?

60.05% of the traffic to the post from the 5 week period. Here’s how the top 5 sites sent page views over the last 5 weeks:

  1. StumbleUpon – 21,963
  2. Direct Traffic – 5,253
  3. Google – 2,530
  4. Digg – 1,057
  5. Wykop – 934

Digg traffic has dropped to next to nothing (today it generated 6 page views) – yet StumbleUpon continues to send traffic (today it’s already at 500 page views – 6 weeks after the post was written).

Add the totals for the first 7 days to the last 5 weeks and here’s how the page view count between Digg and StumbleUpon looks like this:

  1. StumbleUpon – 27,562
  2. Digg – 25,467

Now I know that the Digg traffic for this post wasn’t as big as some other stories that get to the front page of Digg and so it could be argued that this type of analysis will vary from post to post – but I guess the main point of this post is to show how the two social bookmarking sites can have remarkably different impacts. Digg’s impact upon a blog is short, sharp and can be quite devastating (at least to unprepared servers) while StumbleUpon’s impact is somewhat gentler and longer term.

The way things are trending in the case here under examination, the gap between Digg and SU will grow significantly as SU’s steady stream of traffic to the post hasn’t really shown any signs of tapering (although at some point it surely will).

One More Reason I like StumbleUpon

One last thing that strikes me about the comparison between the stats of Digg readers and StumbleUpon readers is the comparison of the ‘Bounce Rate’ figures (or the percentage of people leaving the site after viewing the particular page – ie single page readers who don’t go onto explore the site).

StumbleUpon – 52.31%
Digg – 65.73%

There’s not a lot of different between them I guess – but what interests me even more is that when I compare bounce rate between Digg and StumbleUpon across all pages on the blog – Digg users bounce on average 89.64% of the time and StumbleUpon users bounce 39.28% of the time. As a result the average time spent on the time statistic is also longer with SU readers.

An Argument for Digg?

The last thing I’ll say is that I’ve not done any research on how Digg and SU compare in the numbers of secondary links that they can bring a story. I do know that when I hit it big on Digg that this generally triggers going big on other social bookmarking sites (eg – delicious) as well as causing many blogs to link up. My suspicion is that the secondary links that come from being on StumbleUpon are fewer and further between.

I can only deduce this by seeing a lot of links made to the story in the first 7 days and few being made over the last 5 weeks. If this the case then Digg’s impact on traffic from secondary links and also SEO benefits are significant.

Digg or StumbleUpon? Or Both?

Of course – this post doesn’t really illustrate that StumbleUpon is better than Digg or that Digg is better than StumbleUpon. In fact, if anything it shows how they compliment each other quite nicely – I wouldn’t say no to being featured heavily on both!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Stumble is a fantastic tool and site. I back it 110%.

  2. Alan says:

    Great

    I am already on Digg, but will be going to StumbleUpon straightaway!

    Alan
    http://www.lettingsmatch.com
    http://www.stortfordlocal.co.uk

  3. Olivia Bell says:

    A great article, Darren.

    My family asked me last night “Why use StumbleUpon?”, so today I decided to really research why one should use it and really give it a go myself (I use it, but haven’t really explored it). I have used Digg and do use it, but after playing with SU for a few hours, I’ve noticed I bounce less (as you mentioned too) than when I do when viewing Digg articles.

  4. arwind says:

    Yes, I think StumbleUpon is good.
    I have got 878906 trafic in a month by StumbleUpon
    for my website http://www.adeptinfotech.com

  5. StumbleUpon is the best, I was on Digg 5hours/per day working articles up in the digg front pages and in the last 2months i found that my articles aren’t being dugg and none of my 800+ friends were ever online. I went to alexa.com and looked at digg’s traffic and found-out that there traffic has dropped over half.

    I wrote a article on the decrease of traffic at digg on my website:

    WHY IS THE TRAFFIC FOR DIGG.COM DOWN BY OVER 70% SINCE JUNE 2008
    http://www.industryfinest.com/content/view/925/

  6. Jinny says:

    i have StumbleUpon and Digg but i still look wiht web will get me more Traffice. but nice to read this and know more,. then i know where i will go to work .. thank
    http://www.mythailove.com

  7. Visin says:

    I noticed the same trend actually, SU is more consistent but Digg provides me with the great random people.

    Interesting
    -Visin
    http://www.azerothnow.com

  8. SU does bring great traffic but it doesn’t convert the way I would like it to. Digg on the other hand helps me get a good ranking in Google unlike SU.

  9. Stumble brings in big traffic spikes on a couple of days a month but digg seems to be more consistent.

    When it spikes, SU really rocks – most of the time tests my hosting service to the peak as well.

    Cheers,
    Ajith

  10. Stumbleupon is still the undisputed king of push button traffic. It doesn’t come without some initial setup first though. Many people make the false assumption that they can sign up, submit their own site and sit back while the visitors come rolling in. Actually it takes setting up your profile and adding friends who share the same interests as you to get thing rolling. By carefully coordinating your submissions and using the power of your friend network you can begin to see massive results. Tip: Use the Send to: function to leverage your friends and get momentum.

  11. blackzero85 says:

    Nah, SU is by far better… It has very active and friendly community as well.

  12. I posted a satire article titled “Research finds Nickelback Caused Global Warming”. And it got well over 30,000 visitors in less than 24 hours.

    I’m expecting it to hit the 40,000 / 50,000 mark by this afternoon when it will be 24 hours.

    At the time of posting this comment I’ve received thus far in under 24 hours.

    Pageviews: 30,353
    Unique pageviews: 21,271
    Time on page: 00:01:30
    Bounce Rate: 60.96%

    I absolutely love Stumbleupon.

    Dwayne.
    http://probablysucks.com

  13. I’ve been experimenting with StumbleUpon for the past few months and have had several pleasant experiences., thankyou for nice tips

  14. Bryan says:

    I like Stumble Upon but I think I like Digg better because it makes my sites rank higher for the keywords I use.

  15. Mike says:

    great post i think dig is a great service but like you said before stumble upon prob gives you the longest amount of traffic.

  16. Jenny says:

    I think digg’s traffic is great. It is about 8 times comparing to splashdot. Digg is popular to the world including Western, Eastern, and Asian countries.

    Thanks for sharing this great article.

    Jenny.

  17. Thomas says:

    Digg has good traffic, I agreed.

    However, I have learned from online forums that article submission is the best method to get indexed faster on Google. Mr. G. loves it. Other Search engines will index your site if you have more and more back links.

    Anyway, you can write fresh articles and submit them to big article directories, your site will be indexed faster.

    Thanks.

  18. Great post,

    Right now I am not really getting a lot of traffic form either digg or stumbleupon but I am working on it and I hope I can get it done.
    —————————————————
    Mohammad Afaq
    Free Website Traffic

  19. Gazzali says:

    Good post again by Darren but anyone here knows how stumble upon works?

  20. James K. says:

    if you can write fresh articles fast and then quickly submit them to lots of big article directories, then your site will surely be indexed a whole lot faster.

  21. Good insight! Traffic and links are good, but since I have little to offer the Digg demographic, I suppose the traffic would be more challenging to manage than profitable.