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Why StumbleUpon Sends More Traffic Than Digg

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of July 2007 Blog Promotion, Social Media 0 Comments

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:

  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):


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 and LinkedIn.
  1. Personally, I’ve never seen a digg spike on my blogs and the websites I promote- but I have seen stumble spikes, and to me digg seems a lot geekier, so since not all my topics are geeky… I like SU

  2. Very interesting post. Personally, I prefer Digg over StumbleUpon as a user–I find Digg to give much better information. I very rarely use the Stumble! button, to be honest. I guess part of me thought that meant that most people rarely use it. Guess I shouldn’t make assumptions =P Now that I’ve started my blog I’ll be sure to Digg and Stumble (among other things).

  3. I’m new, so i prefer digg. It send more visitor instantly. I make game with my friend. One of us will be winer if get higher all unique visitor till august 24. Mine about 300 by now…anyone can help me to win? I write fresh original content, but it not help much..

  4. Just one warning about stumbleupon. When you join it will ask if you want to invite your friends. Don’t click yes unless you want it to automatically email your entire mailing list. I did this and it wound up emailing everyone I didn’t want to invite from the tax office to the bank manager!

  5. Very interesting. I’ve tried Digg but not StumpleUpon yet. I’m working on it though. This really motivates me to try it out. It will be interesting to see how it affects my somewhat newer blogs.

  6. heh. Stumbled here.

    I wrote about this from a different angle, trying to determine WHY the behavior is different.

    Check out my article:
    Digg is Broken – Virtual Schrödinger’s Law

  7. I just love problogger.net… I just recently joined in and I wished I just had the time to read more. I’m trying to find out how I can improve my pages below. Specifically, I’m trying to get more “organic” views clicked from searched in google, yahoo, MSN… If anybody can point me to a post, thread or discussion on it, I greatly appreciate that. Thanks.


  8. I’ll have to try StumbleUpon and see how the traffic goes. It would be interesting to see how long SumbleUpon can generate the traffic.

  9. ya ,that’s the power of stumbleupon..

  10. I think i should try stumbleupon now…

  11. I get far more traffic from StumbleUpon than I do from Digg, but that’s to be expected, as I don’t (generally) write about either technology or politics.

    As far as comparing the users, Digg viewers to my site average one page, SU users a little over two, and Google traffic (I know it’s not the same, deal with it) averages about six.

    Because of that, I would appreciate Digg traffic just as much as SU, because of the greater chance of linking, driving more SEO power, and therefor more search engine traffic.

    Then again, like I said, my site isn’t really all that “Digg-friendly”, since I write about self development, relationships, etc.

  12. I hate when I stumble upon blogs that ONLY TALK about how to use stumble to create traffic.

    What is your blog about? How to get more people to go to other blogs?

  13. That’s right, SU sends quite a lot traffic provided you have a good network over there.

    I have tried it and been successful doing so for http://www.picsfantasy.com

  14. Quiet interestingly traffic from all the Social networking sites is less than that of Stumbleupon.

  15. Thanks for the info. I have a greater appreciation for StumbleUpon. I felt a little of the Digg effect, but it was minor, and my added “readership” left after a week or so.

  16. Dont use StumbleUpon if your ad provider is Google AdSense. Google is very unfair to SU users.

    No ad click throughs will register on Google.

    Darren, please update your blog post on this….

    I bet lot of people are taking your advice (like me) and facing this issue. I also read on AdSense forums that in some cases Google bans the account altogether.

  17. You guys don’t get it…Digg is a well controlled joke. Their traffic is abundant but useless. The Digg elite users control everything. That’s why I Go out of my way never to digg a site if they have the button,

    1. If they don’t like a link they label it as in accurate.
    Peoples opinions on their own site shouldn’t be inaccurate.

    2. If Don’t like you submitting your blog. The label it as spam. And any one who “diggs it” will eventually get their account banned.

    They are anything but fair. They will eventually be surpassed. (also SU will continue to generate traffic for a LOOOONG time)

  18. Indeed very interesting post… problogger has always been helpfull to me. It’s a one-of-a-kind blog.

  19. DIGG people in my opinion tend to be techie bloggers and know that clicking on ads and adsense means money to those webmasters.

    Stumblers tend to be regular web surfers who love to surf the internet. Even regular internet users don’t know what the word ‘blog’ means. They haven’t a clue about adsense either so they will click more on them…

  20. Stumbleupon will probably win over Digg in the long term because of their long term outlook. Digg definitely is too biased and you can buy “diggs”?!?

  21. It’s simple – digg’s limited categories lend themselves to an almost ‘clique’ like following.

    And either you’re one of them, or you’re not.

    Stumbler has room for just about everybody.

  22. i think you’re onto something there Mean Dean. StumbleUpon is a much different crowd

  23. I completely agree Mean Dean, Digg seems to be a dictatorship whereas Stumbleupon is more democratic.

  24. on Digg its about headlines and how do you manipulate, however stumble is networking true networking. better than any other site.

  25. good analysis. i will try sumble. so far no trafic from stumble to my blog, only digg and technorati :D

  26. I’ve used both StumbleUpon and Digg and I find the SU users come in higher quantity, but there is little room to continue to stumble your site again. As for Digg users, they will recognize the domain and be more likely to digg up your site due to recognition. Stumbling takes you to a random new place, it’s the just the nature of the service, and by chance your target will happen upon your site. Digg users are more targeted based on the article title.

    I love them both, however, and will continue to use them. Good article.

  27. This is an interesting post that I found. If you have any more stats I’d be curious to see a follow-up post about the performance of other content that went viral.

  28. The best way to promote website is now a days to join social media website like StumbleUpon. Lot of people from different interest, like n dislikes joins this social media community sites. And as much your website get traffic search engines gives preference more. This article exxplains in that way as I observed. thanks :)

  29. Wow, I would have never found that out anywhere else. Thank you again for such a informative post!

  30. Hi, Darren very informative ,and interesting your post help me to develop traffic ,Thank you.

  31. Hi, Can stumble upon and digg help me to develop traffic and rank posting my first articles?? I wait your reply thank you.

  32. Thank u for your analyzed report here.

    social networking is the became one of the greatest traffic generating place at free of cost.

    Great thanks for the inventors of social networking.

    And Problogger for parking this article.

  33. I just got my first stumble and I gotta say that it sent quite a bit of traffic my way. I think it is a better site than digg for smaller sites like myself to target.

  34. Both Social Networking sites are great its just that SUtraffic is more steady than Digg.

  35. I totally agree. I’ve had articles of mine reach the frontpage of digg as well as be “Stumbled”, and Stumbleupon does indeed send more traffic.

    While being on the frontpage of digg drives HUGE traffic on day 1 and day 2, but day 3+ it really starts to trickle down as your article gets less current. Stumbleupon however drives traffic based upon people liking your site/article. This means that as long as it keeps getting a thumbs up you will continue to get traffic.

    In the end you get a much more consistent flow of traffic from Stumbleupon that people are much more likely to bookmark and come back to. Well at least that was my experience. =).

  36. @Alex Bhaswara: Mine is the reverse so far – traffic from Digg but not others. Will keep trying my best, like most :)

  37. Your stats for “Bounce Rate” is very informative.
    I guess stumble gives more traffic because there are more people on it. Besides Digg monitor the sites very closely. They are known to have banned quite a number of accounts

  38. I still don’t understand how to get traffic with stumble upon.

  39. Well if sumbleupon and digg both brings a significant amount of traffic to my site then i would definitely prefer both of them. Simple because they bring traffic to my site.

    what do u say?


  40. Abhijeet Mukherjee says: 12/13/2007 at 11:02 pm

    I personally like Stumbleupon more….however I believe Digg is more influential because I have heard of Digg effect but not of stumbleupon effect!!… :)

  41. Stumble is definitely worth it’s weight in gold.

  42. This is an awesome write up! The one thing I was thinking that digg has is that a lot of big media people watch it. I was able to get on the frontpage of digg and it got me on national tv. I asked how they found my story and they said digg. So I’m sure a lot of producers are watching digg. From that national spot I was able to get 30,000 visits.

  43. Hi to all,
    I am both a Digger and a Stumbler. However, I am not sure if it is right, but whenever I stumble a post, or simply to go their site, there is no content except for the headings. Although I suppose I stumbled right, this problem has been like that since I joined them. I cannot even contact them due to the above problem. I wish someone here can give me some ideas.

  44. When I first started I got a spurt of traffic but now very little. There’s something I’m not doing right. If someone has the time to inspect my site for problems I would appreciate it.

  45. Hey, check out http://sitehoppin.com, a mashup of del.icio.us and stumbleupon. It’s still beta though…

  46. I see the same thing on my site. Digg is not working while Stumble is great! I don’t know what happened, but I had two spikes for the same 2 pages at an interval of 1 month! It is like when somebody stumbled my pages again

  47. Very interesting read. I’ve focussed mostly on reddit and digg with fairly crappy results but I’m off to try stumbleupon to see how that goes! thanks.

  48. SU has sent me over 2000 hits in 2 days. My average hits per day is only around 50.

  49. Hi i think both websites are very useful bookmarking sites getting trafic from outside visitors (www.mocazoasia.com)


  50. I just recently moved from LiveJournal to self-hosted WP blog. I just started to used digg, del.icio.us and StumbledUpon. I even found Sphinn & Reddit which are on the same types of blog submission as the others. So how many more of these are out there? I just hope they can bring in some good hits to my blog. I guess time will soon tell. Good luck! Thanks for posting this, btw.

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