March 12th, 2008Are Social News Sites Useless?
This is a community!
On March 6, 2008, I posted a nice article about the Top 10 All Time Youtube Female Singers. I spend some time on Youtube and I love to watch musicians perform in their videos (I am a musician myself). I searched around the internet and to my great surprise, I could not find a Top 10 list of Youtube Female singers. These performers all have an incredible talent and deserve to get a little publicity! As you might know, top 10 lists are very popular on the web, especially on social news and bookmarking sites.
From a marketing point of view, my article should have had some success on social sites
- It’s a top 10 list so by definition, it’s shows you the best
- It asks and answers an interesting question: Who is the best Youtube Female singer?
- It features good looking girls (all marketers know good looks sell!)
- The ranking comes from the most famous video site on the Internet, Youtube
- There is interactivity built into the blog post; you can click to watch videos, vote for your favorite singer and leave a comment
- The 10 descriptions are complete with name, rank, biography, statistics, links and best video
- Everybody likes to listen to good music and learn about the performers especially if they can “relate” to them
- The article is compressed and summarized. More and more people want to read summaries and excerpts to get the most valuable information in the least amount of time
- There’s a list of interesting statistical facts
- The blog post is user friendly, clear and easy to read
Promotional work done around the article
- WordPress automaticly pings a list of 20 servers; blo.gs, pingomatic, feedburner, blogsearch etc…
- 14 sites display my RSS Feed: Technorati, Faves, MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog, myFeedz, Rojo, Idiotvox, Blogoria, Digg, ReadaBlog, Genwi, 9Rules, Kinja, Wikio
- I bookmarked the link into 6 social bookmarking sites: Delicious, Furl, Blinklist, Magnolia, Simpy, Blogmarks
- I added the story to 9 social news sites: Digg, Shoutwire, Reddit, Stirrdup, Plime, IndianPad, NewsCloud, Mixx, I am Bored. On Digg I shouted my story to my 45 mutual friends.
- I sent an email to each girl on their Youtube account, Myspace and their Official site if they had one to let them know they were on the top 10 Youtube singer list. Always nice to hear you’re the best!
- I left a comment for everyone to see on their Youtube and Myspace page. I ask the fans to come vote for their favorite singer and I include the URL linking to the blog post.
- A couple girls had forums for their fans so I left a message with my link and asked the fans to come and vote
Six days after I publish the post on the Internet, here are the traffic statistics
According to Google Analytics (total in 6 days):
- Pageviews: 576
- Unique Pageviews: 439
- Time on Page: 00:04:36
- Bounce Rate: 73.96%
- % Exit: 60.76%
Pageviews – Peak of 160 on March 7
Unique Pageviews – Peak of 113 on March 7
Time on Page – Peak of almost 6 minutes! I think that’s a lot.
It’s interesting to multiply the number of pageviews by the average time spent on the article:
576 x 4:36 = 158,976 seconds = 2,649 minutes = 44,16 hours
Wow! I’m impressed! More than 44 hours have been spent on the article in the first 6 days! Sounds like a lot.
Where are the visitors coming from?
|Source||Pageviews||Unique Pageviews||Time on Page||Bounce Rate||% Exit|
Analysis of the Entrance Sources
- 55% of the visitors come from Google
- 19% of the visitors come Directly
- 5% of the visitors come from the 4 fan sites and forums
- 4.5% of the visitors come from Myspace
- 2.5% of the visitors come from Digg
- 2% of the visitors come from Yahoo
Thank you Google! As usual, my traffic comes from Google. Every other service should be ashamed of itself! The results are very disappointing!
It’s interesting to notice that users from “Mixx” have stayed an average of 14 minutes! Users from the fan site and forum “esmeezone” have spent 11 minutes per user. Those two sites have high quality users.
6 days after I submitted my story to Digg, I have received a total of 10 diggs.
I was expecting to get some good results from Social News sites like Digg, Reddit etc… which is why I spent 2 hours adding my story to the 9 social news sites: Digg, Shoutwire, Reddit, Stirrdup, Plime, IndianPad, NewsCloud, Mixx, I am Bored. After 6 days, my 2 hours of work brought in 40 pageviews which represent 5% of the total traffic received. I kinda feel I wasted 2 hours of my life!
The Possible Problems
I do not know exactly why my story did not get popular on social news sites but I’ll try to list all the possible causes:
- My accounts and profiles on the social news sites are not strong enough and my communities are weak. Meaning I could not have enough friends, maybe I did not vote enough on other stories, I didn’t spend enough time on the social sites to show my interest and devotion.
- The social news sites thought my story was spam
- People could be tired of Top 10 lists
- People don’t actually care about my story
- Maybe some spammers buried my story
- My server is too slow (I don’t think so!)
- My domain is banned (Don’t think so either)
- There is an evil spirit stopping my success (I don’t believe in those things)
I have to admit I do not spend much time on the 9 different social news sites except on Digg where I have 45 mutual friends since April 9th, 2007. I even have the iGoogle Digg widget!
Facts about Social News sites I would like to know
- What percentage of users have at least one submitted story made popular? I’m pretty sure the results would be between 10% and 15% of the total user base.
- Of that percentage, what is the average time spent on the sites per week per user? I would say 5 to 10 hours.
The Truth about Social News sites
It makes sense that the more active you are within a community, the more your opinion will count. But to be considered an “active” member of a community, how much time must you spend participating? I believe this amount of time is constantly rising! I feel we have reached the point when only the people who are “addicted” to sites like Digg and spend a considerable amount of time can have their submitted stories made popular. How can you be more active then someone who is “addicted” to the site? It’s impossible! And it’s only going to get worst. Pretty soon, you’ll need 10,000 friends to Digg your story so it becomes featured and popular. Stories are no longer made popular because of their content, but because the user submitting the story has a lot of “friends”. This degrades the quality of the content and the overall site. I think sites like Digg are aware of this problem and are trying to improve that aspect but let’s be realistic, it will always help to have a strong community to digg your stories! And even if your account grows, so does every other account. The only way to reach the power users league is to have a faster growth rate. That’s sound practically impossible since their growth rate is exponential!
Is it fair that only “addicted” users get their submitted stories made popular?
Would it be possible to create a community where everyone is equal?
I’m really curious to know how marketing experts sell social internet marketing to their customers. How could they possibly use social news and bookmarking sites to promote their customers? They would need to use “fake” accounts that already have great popularity and strong followers and once in a while they would slide in their customer’s story? Would they do that? Are the top diggers selling their services to promote stories? Has it ever been done?
Are the systems already saturated? <– that was my last question
I wrote this article cause I’m pissed and disappointed. I’m not the type of person who will ever spend more than 1-2 hours per week on social news sites and because of that I am doomed never to get a submitted story made popular. Hopefully I’m wrong and the next story I submit will get 2000 diggs, 200 stumbles, 50 Stirs, 100 Reddits and 30 mixx!
Let’s not forget that if an “addicted” power user submits your story from his profile, you’ll have a lot more chances to get featured. But it did not get popular from your own puny account! You need help!
I re-read my blog post and I’m quite happy with it! I’m teaching myself to spend more time working on my articles. Quality not Quantity. You’ll be a lot more successful with great blog posts not so often than lots of mediocre blog posts.
One last word of advice, if you want to succeed on social news sites, do not bash them like I’m doing!
Just for kicks and giggles, I’ll submit this story to a few social news sites. I’d greatly appreciate your support! Add me as a friend too!
Additional information about Social News Sites ::
- How NOT To Manipulate Social News: A Sphinn Experience
- 10 Useless SEO Worries
- 122 Social Bookmarking Sites and How To Use Them
- The Importance of Social Media Marketing: Why You Should Learn and Master it
- Social Traffic: Useless Gossip or Powerful Word of Mouth
- Media Killed the Bookmarking Star: del.icio.us traffic falls below StumbleUpon, Reddit
- Bookmarking and social sharing trends