When launching a new website or blog, you have a variety of outlets to market yourself. The possibilities are endless, but there are common strategies to successfully promote yourself online. You can add yourself to directories, submit your URL to search engines, start a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign, engage in affiliate marketing, or hire an seo company; there are many online resources to help boost your web real estate.

If you are looking to get an immediate influx of visitors, rss subscriptions or feedback from people online, one of the most efficient methods is through social media networks. In this post I will be comparing the two of the most popular Social Bookmarking Sites on the web to date: Digg.com and StumbleUpon.com, and analyze the quality of their visitors. Both networks have become extremely popular in the last 3 years with an estimated 2.7 million registered users on Digg.com and 5 millon registered users on StumbleUpon.com.

Here at Best Rank we’ve released several stories that have become popular on Digg and StumbleUpon. In this post I’ve included analytic statistics to show you the difference in user characteristics across both social networks. The following traffic estimations vary for each popular story, and are dependent on the amount of diggs, time on Digg.com’s front page and quality of article.

Below is a screenshot of one our site’s analytics data, showing a traffic spike, from an article hitting the Digg front page.

Digg Positives

  • Drive 1,000 – 50,000+ unique referrals within 1 week.
  • 2.7 million registered users

Digg Negatives

  • Average time on site was only 8 seconds per visit.
  • Users only browsed 1.06 pages per visit.
  • Bounce rate was very high at 96.76%.
  • If you’re story doesn’t become popular relatively soon (around 24 hours) after submission, chances are that your story will never see large traffic volumes.

Below is a screenshot of an article that hit the Buzz.StumbleUpon.com section of StumbleUpon.

StumbleUpon Positives:

  • Drive 1,000 – 30,000+ unique referrals within 1 week.
  • Inbound traffic was more spread out than Digg: not all in one day.
  • Average time on site is higher at 1:36 seconds per visit.
  • Users read 1.73 pages per visit.
  • Bounce rate was lower than Digg’s at 39.41%.
  • 5 millon registered users
  • If your story never hits the "buzz" section, the article can still become popular and receive large amounts of traffic if users begin to "review" or "thumb up" your content.

StumbleUpon Negatives

  • Traffic is fairly generic and not as themed or targeted as places like Digg who seem to revolve around tech and politics.


Digg has been known to send a substantially higher number of visitors in a shorter amount of time per popular story than StumbleUpon, while StumbleUpon’s traffic seems to have a longer attention span than Digg’s. Recent studies have also shown that the traffic on Digg.com has been steadily decreasing per popular story. As seen in the screenshot above, StumbleUpon has a higher average time on site, higher number of pages visited per user, and lower bounce rate: these factors point to the conclusion that the quality of traffic can be considered superior on StumbleUpon vs Digg, especially if you’re looking to help build your brand. As a search marketing consultant I would recommend building your profile on StumbleUpon just as much, if not more so, than Digg because of the potential for higher quality traffic.


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Clon • 10 years ago

Screenshots are useful but, if you could do the same with several & different topics this would become a great research resource, for you and your visitors (like me).

With that information, we would be able to see which social network provides quality traffic for each topic, I meant…

Maybe StubleUpon works for a “humor” tag/website.

But maybe Digg gives you higher visits for a “bush” tag/website.

I’m reviewing this website in my SU blog and added to my rss, hopefully I’ll find more interesting topics just like this one.


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Mike Shannon • 10 years ago

ZaggedEdge, you’re absolutely right in that StumbleUpon allows you to categorize stories into more specific categories than Digg - In our description we could have been more specific and said “overall traffic from StumbleUpon is very generic”. We’ve found that because there is more of a variety of categories, there is more of a variety of web surfers on StumbleUpon which helps to generate more generic, broad traffic overall than a place like Digg that seems to send people very tech and political in nature.

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Bill Canaday • 10 years ago

The left hand side of your graph is the same as the right. Of what value, then, are social network traffic spikes?

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Mike Shannon • 10 years ago

Bill, traffic spikes help to slowly build your level of steady traffic. It’s generally the case after a large traffic spike hits, you get a portion of those people either returning, linking to your page or spreading your ideas to others - when this happens traffic levels increase marginally or sometimes dramatically (though not as often) after each spike. Think of it like building muscle, you work out hard on Tuesday and then are all healed up by Friday/Saturday, ready to lift just a little more weight. In our example images we didn’t zoom in to show the details of the before and after traffic, just the large spike in traffic.

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Mike Shannon • 10 years ago

Another point that might not have been so obvious in my last response and in our post is that when people do link to your content from traffic spikes, your traffic not only increases steadily over time but your search engine rankings begin to rise as well. Even if the links you acquire are not 100% targeted anchor text, you still get a bump in search engine “importance” or weight so that your content has the ability to rank higher than it did before.

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Anonymous • 10 years ago

Very eye opening. Thanks

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Michael Hoppal • 10 years ago

Well, you may have positive experiences with stumbleupon. Unfortunately, I get around 200 page views randomly (not a fan of submitting my own stuff), with a bounce rate of around 70%, no comments, no subscribers, and an average of a minute on-site. Not that I'm too disappointed with the page views. It's just I'd much rather get some kind of community going rather than just "Oh yeah cool *click*"

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Matt • 10 years ago

Yeah there is a great spike of traffic with Stumbleupon. That is fine if you have monetization through CPM. If your monetization is through AdSense, that Stumbleupon traffic is not worth much. In my experience. Anyone care to add their own experience with the actual Stumbleupon monetization?

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media buying • 10 years ago

I like stumbleupon, but I think digg is better for advertisers.

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