StumbleUpon vs. Digg

Since I started consistently posting on this blog in July the top two sources of traffic have been StumbleUpon and Digg. Much is written about each of these popular social media websites, so I thought it would be interesting to compare the traffic that each has sent.

From July 1st to November 24th, 2007:
- StumbleUpon sent a total of 90,485 visitors.
- Digg sent a total of 61,274 visitors.

The four posts that have made it to the front page of Digg have also been 4 of the top 6 posts in terms of StumbleUpon traffic. This isn’t very surprising to me, as large waves of traffic from one site will logically result in votes at the other site from a certain number of visitors.

The post with the highest number of visitors, 77 Resources to Simplify Your Life as a Web Designer has:
- 115,571 total page views.
- 40,383 total visitors from StumbleUpon
- 29,980 total visitors from Digg.

Aside from that post, the other 3 that have hit the front page of Digg have all received more visitors from Digg than from StumbleUpon. Additionally, a few posts that were not dugg had some decent success with StumbleUpon. How to Set Up a Domino Effect of Traffic has received 2,891 visitors from StumbleUpon and 31 Sources of Quality, Free Icons has received 4,494 visitors from StumbleUpon.

Here is a graph of traffic sent from StumbleUpon. As you can see, it is fairly consistent with the exception of 1 large spike.

Traffic from StumbleUpon

Now, compare that graph with the one below which represents traffic from Digg. On most days traffic is nonexistent, with a few large spikes.

Traffic from Digg

Anyone who is active with social media marketing will not be surprised with the results that show StumbleUpon sending more consistent traffic than Digg, although some may be surprised that StumbleUpon has sent more than Digg overall.

I don’t think this information shows that one site is better than the other, but they both can be used differently. Most website owners and bloggers would prefer the consistent traffic from StumbleUpon over the large waves of traffic from Digg. What are your thoughts on these sources of traffic and what experiences have you had with these sites?

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23 Responses

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  • Dustin Coates, November 25, 2007

    While I don’t have any experience getting on Digg’s front page, a story talking about a website I worked for did get to the front page and the traffic spike was huge. But, honestly, even if SU gave overall less traffic than Digg, I’d still prefer it. The traffic seems to be higher quality (when measured in something such as bounce rate) and the commentators are a lot less…scary.

  • admin, November 25, 2007

    Hey Dustin,
    I agree with you. I’ll take SU traffic any day.

  • pelf, November 25, 2007

    My just-revived turtle blog has 8 posts and only 5 comments so far. Blog promotion will only began when I have at least 20 posts so that my visitors will become my readers :)

    The other day one of my turtle posts were stumbled, and more than 200 people visited it, but none of them left me a comment. So sad :(

  • Pearl, November 25, 2007

    Those are some awesome stats Steven! I just recently started using social media sites and use SU more than any other, and am loving the consistent visitors from there…. SU crowd in general also seems to be more willing to thumb up a site than Diggers, as SU toolbar makes the task easier.

  • Dustin Brewer, November 25, 2007

    I agree, I’ve had some of my sites on the front page of digg before and had a huge traffic spike over 2-3 days but the bounce rate, pages visited per session were extremely low.

    Digg traffic is mostly crap, most of the visitors will never come back to your site and don’t subscribe to your feed or even most times comment-positively on the article.

    Stumbleupon traffic is oddly enough much more quality, which is weird because the service basicly blindly throws the visitors around the internet on random stumbles based on a broad interest they have in something a site has been tagged with.

  • Izabela Bogdanovic, November 26, 2007

    Completely Diggless though, one of my posts got 1933 visits in one week from DZone (even though my career related blog does not directly fall into to its niche), compared to 1016 in two weeks from SU.

  • Wayne Liew, November 26, 2007

    Will there be any possibility that our old URLs that have been stumbled upon long long ago gets picked up to be recycled for Stumblers again?

    I have doubts on this but I don’t have any proof to support it. Just asking though.

    I have to agree that Stumble Upon do send a consistent traffic than Digg. Once you get off the Digg front page, your traffic from them will just be non-existent as shown in your graphs.

  • Wayne Smallman, November 26, 2007

    For me personally, I much prefer StumbleUpon, not least because of the traffic, but for the social networking aspect that really helps the social media angle work and pay off long-term…

  • Ruchir, November 26, 2007

    I prefer StumbleUpon but it’s only because of 1 reason:
    -it’s the easiest to get traffic from

    Other sites like Digg require some luck, strategy (your domino post comes into mind) and dedication. While SU also requires some amount of dedication, I was able to build my SU profile with 83 fans in just over 2 months. And everytime I stumble my own posts I receive anything between 90-1000 visitors each time.

    However, if I were to choose between SU traffic or Digg traffic I’d choose Digg because being featured on Digg generally helps you in generating a boatload of links. In my experience, SU users don’t generally link as they’re in Surf Mode all the time and so don’t jot down the URL…None of my posts that have done well on SU generated significant backlinks…

  • Reverse Funnel System Blog, November 26, 2007

    I think that stumbleupon is better then digg, in example i prefer stumbleupon page design, navigation, also stymbleupon can send me hundreds of hits from one stumb, digg just dozens so i see great potential in stumbleupon.

  • Wayne Smallman, November 26, 2007

    Which sort of reminds me; if your stuff doesn’t get Digg’d by someone with a fair amount of standing, it’s unlikely that your stuff will fly.

    Contrast that with StumbleUpon, where I’ve see my stuff get SU’d by someone pretty new to the game, but then bring in a nice dollop of traffic weeks later…

  • pearl, November 26, 2007

    Guess what…:) I was reading your articles yesterday and the one on How to set up Domino effect of traffic in particular…. and my best 101 lists got on the digg front page, 55 delicious saves :) I loved it – the only downer was the site exceeded CPU limts allowed and was down for a while but the ride was really thrilling :) so thanks for such great articles Steven!

  • Masked Man, November 26, 2007

    I would say the actions of the individual readers would determine which traffic source is better. If SU readers never return to your site or subscribe, but only 10% of Digg readers subscribe, which is the better source of traffic? Depends on what you want from these traffic sources.

  • admin, November 26, 2007

    What is the URL of your turtle blog? I can also check your main blog for it.

    I agree with you. I think the ease of the SU system makes people more likely to use it. Congrats on your recent success! I also saw the post made the front page of delicious today, so it looks like some of that Digg traffic converted into bookmarks. Very nice.

    You’re right, Digg traffic typically isn’t high quality. I’m an SU user, but I rarely use the stumble feature, which as you said throws people to somewhat random pages. Instead, I look at what pages have been thumbed up by some of my friends and I visit what looks interesting. If other people are using the site this way I think it makes the traffic a little bit higher quality.

    I’ve had decent success with DZone, but only 1 of my posts has gotten that much traffic, that’s really good.

    Wayne L.,
    I’m no expert on how StumbleUpon serves up pages, but it seems like I’m still getting trickles to pages that were originally submitted almost 6 months ago. I guess as long as someone gives it a thumbs up every now and then it will keep sending traffic.

    Wayne S.,
    Good point. The networking on StumbleUpon has been pretty helpful for me as well. Yes, that is a nice feature to StumbleUpon that just one vote can bring in decent traffic and lead to even more. I don’t think there is any other social site that can make that claim.

    That’s another good point about links. I think you’re exactly right.

    Yes, Digg is much more all or nothing.

    Masked Man,
    Very true.

  • pablopabla, November 26, 2007

    I agree with you. The pattern of referral for my blogs are almost similar to yours, albeit far lower in numbers. However, I have yet to learn how to track the referrals like how you did.

    Perhaps, a tutorial post might be in order, Steven? :D

  • Vandelay Design, November 26, 2007

    Do you use Google Analytics? I can show you how to do it pretty quickly.

  • pablopabla, November 27, 2007

    Yes, I do use GA. The “problem” I have with it is that it has far too many features! LOL!

  • Reverse Funnel System Review, November 27, 2007

    Does anyone have problme with SU? It dont add sites to my favourites, i fill form click add and it goes to blank page..

  • Karl M, November 27, 2007

    Like some of the other comments, quantity and quality are two very different things.

    Overall we’ve seen visitors last much longer on our site when coming form SU.

  • Vandelay Design, November 27, 2007

    Here’s how you do it:
    - when you are logged in to GA, click on “traffic sources”.
    - that will list the sites that have sent traffic to you.
    - click on StumbleUpon.
    - when the next page comes up you’ll see a dropdown menu that says “referral path”.
    - click on that and choose “landing page”.
    - Now you will see a list of pages that have received traffic from SU and how many visitors each.

    Reverse Funnel,
    I haven’t had that problem. I’ve never heard of that.

    I completely agree. My experience indicates the same thing.

  • pablopabla, November 27, 2007

    Thanks Steven!

    I didn’t know it was that easy :P

  • Michelle, July 20, 2009

    I can agree with the majority of people and say that I have had more success with traffic using SU. The visitors from that site tend to stay a little longer on my pages, as well. Interesting post. It’s nice to see the comparison.