First, a disclaimer about this experiment and the analysis.

In retrospect, this experiment was flawed.  The subject matter and style of delivery was very clearly geared in favor of one of the combatants.  When it was initially conceived, it was decided that the experiment would best be delivered through a post that announced itself.  By checking traffic statistics on a post titled: “The StumbleUpon Digg Experiment”, there would be equal billing, equal exposure, and most importantly, equal chances through the delivery methods to give both sides a chance.

We were wrong.

In retrospect, it is clear that the title and subject were more geared towards a social experience.  While Digg offers ways to share stories with friends, it isn’t nearly as suited for this as StumbleUpon is.  The very nature of SU is designed to where members passively share stories they like by stumbling and reviewing them.  Digg requires active participation by people to see the story.  Stumble requires nothing other than clicking and waiting for websites to be served to them.

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The Digg traffic of lore says that websites will get tens of thousands of visits in a short period of time.  The problem is, not all stories get this kind of traffic when they hit the front page.  Because they have to be actively clicked on, people have to have an interest to click.  This story, while more popular than past stories that have hit the front page of Digg from this blog, still didn’t have the universal appeal to get a ton of traffic.

Stumblers are, by their nature, more interested in stories about SU than Digg users are interested in stories about Digg.  This and other factors make this experiment somewhat flawed.  Thus, the results were tremendously in favor of StumbleUpon.

Detailed statistics are being compiled.  We are breaking it down hour by hour, noting traffic spikes and comparing them to specific times of reviews on SU.  The data so far is interesting, but for those interested in the general results, here they are:

Story posted early in the morning, PST, December 14th.  It was Dugg shortly after being posted by ThinkingSerious. Then, it was Stumbled by hockeyguru around 7:00 am PST.

December 14th, 2007:

  • Traffic from StumbleUpon: 15,694
  • Traffic from Digg: 8,463

Surprised?  So was I.  Traditional thought is that Digg wins the short race and SU catches up over time.  Again, the subject matter/headline were geared to get Diggs, but not actual visits.  Another thing to note as that this story made it to the “Top in All Categories” box on the front page.  Less than a minute later, it was buried off that page after getting 24 hits.  Stories that do can get a huge bump in traffic for that day.  Some stories whose statistics I have seen have gotten twice as much traffic or more from being there than they did when they were initially on the front page.

December 15th, 2007

  • Traffic from StumbleUpon: 4,761
  • Traffic from Digg: 2,357

This is actually a very encouraging number from Digg.  Considering most of the traffic came from people when the story had to be found on deep inner pages, this is a huge number relative to the original day’s response.  Stumble traffic, if anything, was a little disappointing, as some stories get 80% of their initial day traffic on day two.  Despite the positive reviews still rolling in on day two, the percentage compared to the first day was low.

December 16th, 2007

  • Traffic from StumbleUpon: 3,689
  • Traffic from Digg: 349

There is the drop that happens with Digg.  There is also the famed residual traffic from Stumble.

Again, let me be clear.  This story was unintentionally geared to for SU.  The results are not a real representation, as stories that aren’t about Social Media will still have the normal results of Digg wins the first day and SU may or may not catch up over time.  The subject matter appealed to SU’s manner of delivery.  One digg is one digg and helps very little.  One stumble and especially a positive review by the right person can generate a chain reaction, a viral effect that can snowball into more and more stumbles.

Thank you to all who participated by reading, sharing, stumbling, and digging this story.  We want more data.  If you have statistics from posts other than social media themed ones, please contact us.  We want to explore, analyze, and share the data.

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Read more social news stories on this blog.

Written by JD Rucker
JD Rucker is Editor of this site as well as The New Americana, a Conservative News Aggregator. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and co-founder of the Federalist Party. Find him on Twitter or Facebook.