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):
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:
- Digg – 24,410 page views (43% of all traffic to the post for this period)
- Direct Traffic – 8634 page views
- StumbleUpon – 5599 page views (9.5% of traffic to the post)
- Wykop – 4661 page views
- 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):
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:
- StumbleUpon – 21,963
- Direct Traffic – 5,253
- Google – 2,530
- Digg – 1,057
- 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:
- StumbleUpon – 27,562
- 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!