Digg Traffic vs Google Traffic – An AdSense Click Through Rates Analysis

June 8, 2007 by  

When it comes to ads clicking, the general consensus I find among site owners who got dugg before was Digg users are lousy ad clickers.

It’s kind of obvious when you think that Digg users arrive at your site because they are looking for something specific. They tend to be very focused in their quest for information and they are there for one and one reason only and that is instant gratification.

If they haven’t installed ad blocker already, they are probably blind to ads since they are used to seeing them all over the place. The main demographic profile of the classic Digg user is perhaps college going Internet power user.

This is the main reason why Digg traffic usually translates to low click through rates.

Things got a little interesting for me recently when one of my other blogs got dugg for the first time. Instead of just accepting the theory, I got an opportunity to put numbers into it.

My aim is to find the AdSense CTRs for Digg traffic vs. Google traffic from organic search and segmented the Digg traffic further to identify who’s among those Digg users that actually click on AdSense ads.


Analysis Background

  • I used a combination of Google Analytics and Javascript to help me do this. The result presented below is by no means definitive.
  • The data were collected over a 31 day period from May 7th 2007 until Jun 6th 2007 using Google Analytics.
  • My blog got into Digg’s front page on Jun 4th and this has brought in 42,856 unique visitors over the course of three days.
  • I received 3,308 unique visitors from Google within the same 31 days period. All traffic sources sent a total of 62,612 visits.




AdSense CTRs for Digg Traffic vs. Google Traffic

  • 7.50% of the 3,308 visitors sent by Google clicked on my AdSense ads. Keep in mind that this number may be slightly different from that reported by AdSense itself.
  • In contrast, only 0.94% of Digg traffic has clicked on my AdSense ads.
  • Google traffic is about eight times more likely to click on AdSense ads than Digg traffic.


Digg Traffic Segmentation – Who’s clicking My Ads?

Obviously there are portions of the Digg traffic that click on AdSense ads. Here, I’ll identify them according to several segmentation options. From this, we will be able to build up the Digg user’s profile that’s most likely to click on AdSense ads.


By Browser

  • Over ¾ of Digg users use Firefox, that’s a whooping 75.99% to be exact. No doubt, many of these users are using an ad blocker plugin. How many? I don’t know.
  • The best converting users are those using Camino, followed my Mozilla Compatible Agent, then Firefox.



By Operating System

  • 72.03% of the Digg users use Windows Operating System followed by Macintosh based (22.77%) and 4.95% use Linux.
  • Surprisingly, or not – depending which side you are on – Digg users that use Mac are the best ad clickers. Actually, Google Analytics was unable to identify the OS of the best ad clickers, so the second best falls to Mac OS users.



By Visitors Type

  • The Digg traffic can be divided into two visitor types which are Returning Visitors and New Visitors.
  • Interestingly, a returning visitor is about three times more likely to click on AdSense ads (2.50%) than a new visitor (0.91%). One reason I can think of is that returning visitors are not in the specific information searching mode. They are ready to explore the rest of the site and are more receptive to ads.



By Language

  • While English speakers made up the majority of the Digg users, they are by far not the best AdSense clickers.
  • The best AdSense clickers I found are those that speak Spanish Argentineans (es-ar), followed by Portuguese Brazil (pt-br) and then Swedish Sweden (sv-se). Of course, this may varies from one site to another.



By Continent

  • Majority of Digg users come from the Americas (80.20%) followed by Europe (10.40%) and then Oceania (4.95%)
  • The best ad clickers are not identifiable by Google Analytics. The second best group comes from Asia followed by the Americas .



By Sub Continent Region

  • Digg users from Central America click AdSense the most, followed by users from Caribbean and Southern Asia .



By Country

  • Digg users from developed countries are less likely to click on AdSense ads. As shown below, most ad clickers come from the developing countries.


  • The top ten countries where the majority of Digg users come from are shown below



While I don’t claim this analysis to be entirely accurate; it’s still interesting to unearth some trends that we may have never thought of before. The result is only as good as the data being fed into Google Analytics.

As more Digg users become sophisticated we can expect the click through rates generated by Digg traffic plummet in the future. So if your business depends on gaming Digg, it won’t work for long.

Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

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Comment by Zhongg
2007-06-08 16:47:40

No surprise here. Indeed Digg and other bookmark service users are looking for something specific; and this quest for information isn’t powered by need but rather mostly entertainment – thus negating any chances of them clicking ads. Also, Digg users are a web savvy lot whom mostly have either ad or javascript blockers installed.

I seriously never considered the implications of being dugg from a CTR perspective. Interesting stuff 🙂

Comment by Azmeen
2007-06-08 17:31:34

Very well written, Gaman! Got a digg from me 🙂

Anyway, many of those running ad-blocking software, might also block Google Analytics’ javascript as well. I know I do.

I noticed that you have MyBlogLog here but not on Offbeat Enough. In case you don’t know, MyBlogLog’s stats feature tracks AdSense clicks as well. And it’s pretty accurate as far as I can tell.

You might want to place the MyBlogLog “Recent Readers” script on Offbeat Enough as well.

Comment by Gaman
2007-06-08 17:37:32

Thanks 🙂

I am aware that MyBlogLog track AdSense clicks but I am not sure it could give detail stats like what Analytics could unless I can tie the clicks with Analytics.

Comment by kuanhoong
2007-06-09 13:41:39

I do agree too that most Digg users are tech savvy, and they are immune to all AdSense ads.

One interesting piece of information from your results, is that 75.99% of Digg users are Firefox users. Looks like Microsoft is really losing the browser war.

Comment by Ed Kohler
2007-06-10 00:19:03

I’ve been thinking about ways to adjust ad serving based on referrer to deal with this. For example, you could switch to CPM based ad units when a visitor’s referring site was Digg since you know they’re not going to click on the AdSense units.

Comment by College Guide
2007-07-30 19:22:54

Why not analyze MSN and Yahoo traffic? Personally I like that kind of traffic more than Google traffic (due to conversions being low with G traffic).

Comment by Gaman
2007-07-30 19:25:47

I know sometimes MSN converts better but I doubt Yahoo traffic could beat Google.

Comment by daud
2008-07-11 11:54:33

Yes, What i ecperince Digg user are to specific information!! But we should find a geniune user that really what to know any specific product. So why you out there use any social theory e.g. TAM,TRA & TPB to understang the user behaviour

Comment by Rizzo Subscribed to comments via email
2008-08-01 02:41:10

wow my head hurts. great write-up, alot to digest (for me, at least!)

Comment by AdsenseNoob
2008-10-30 19:43:17

cool..nice info

Comment by Stemulite
2008-11-11 03:49:49

What I’m interested in is some data on how to best optimize Adsense for clicks. Moreover, I am dying to see some trending data showing expected clicks vs. traffic.

Better still would be expected clicks vs. traffic for different placements (header, footer, left, right, interstitial, etc.). With this info, you would have the ability to really set your ads up for success.

However, I suppose it would be different for every site given all the different ways to lay a site out…hmmmm…it would still be interesting info.

Comment by Jimmy
2010-05-25 08:55:08

Hemm.. nice idea.

BTW, what is the chance of that traffic from Digg is actually come from search engine?

I mean lots of Digg page get high ranking in SERP. They surely convert better for adsense.

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