One of the most effective ways to syndicate content is by activating power users on sites such as Digg. Quite simply, “Diggers” uncover and bookmark interesting content – news articles, images and videos – for others to view.
Top Diggers are known for frequently submitting content that is deemed compelling by the Digg community. If others users like the content, they may “digg” it as a way to recommend it to others.
Why should marketers care about whether an article submitted on Digg becomes popular or not? Well, “popular” articles create their own viral effect. Not only are more people likely to be interested in articles that come highly recommended, but more people are exposed to them as well. On Digg, popular articles tend to get preferred placement on the front pages of the site and each topic section. (Note: while popularity is the primary factor that affects placement on Digg, Neil Patel of the Pronet Advertising blog suggests that other factors impact placement including “number of submissions in a category, diggs, and time” between submissions).
For a marketer, this can translate into increased reach and traffic to a site where the content is hosted at little to no incremental cost. Though it is difficult to quantify the incremental impact of traffic referred from Digg, antidotal evidence suggests that Digg popularity leads to increased traffic.
For example, The Daily Green recently published its “10 Most Popular Stories of 2007”. Notably, five in ten articles had been bookmarked on Digg. Moreover, three in five articles submitted were wildly popular on Digg – with more than 1,100 users digging each of two articles (“Major Breakthrough for Super Efficient LED Lighting” and “Arctic Sea Ice Re-Freezing at Rapid Rate“) and nearly 700 users digging a third (“Glass Wall of Death Surround California Suburb”). Inevitably, these bookmarks referred significant traffic to The Daily Green and contributed to the popularity of the articles on the site.
Today, “Top Diggers” are ranked based on the total number of popular stories that they have submitted. Marketing Green believes that for green marketers, however, the current method for ranking diggers is incomplete.
First, the current ranking gives undue weight to tenure. Quite simply, the longer one has been digging, the higher the likelihood that they will have submitted a greater number of articles that became popular. While successful tenure is an essential criteria, it may portray an incomplete picture, however, as it does not necessarily mean that the digger is very active today. As such, any ranking of green diggers should also take into consideration recent activity.
Second, the current ranking is based on articles submitted across all categories rather than those specifically focused on the environment. Diggers are typically specialists that focus their efforts on a specific area of interest, however. As such, not every Top Digger is interested in promoting articles related to the environment.
Others have tried to create a more specific ranking focused on green diggers. The Daily Green, for example, recently published a list of top environmental diggers. While the list is solid, it is based on a “subjective process” that relies heavily on personal opinions rather than measurable facts.
In contrast, Marketing Green believes that a ranking should be based on more quantitative criteria that enable it to be repeatable over time while minimizing bias.
Moreover, any ranking should balance a digger’s success over time (successful tenure) with his/her recent activity specific to the environmental category (recency in category). Marketing Green’s List of Top Environmental Diggers attempts to do just that (within the limits of publicly available data).
Marketing Green gives equal weighting to two criteria: successful tenure and recency in category. Successful tenure is determined based on the cumulative number of popular articles submitted by a digger over his/her tenure on Digg. This is similar to how Top Diggers are currently ranked today.
Recency in category is a proxy for how successful a digger has been recently in submitting popular articles specifically on the environment. It is estimated based on two factors: the number of articles submitted in the “environment” category within the past 30 days and the historic percentage of submitted articles that have became popular.
Marketing Green’s List of Top Environmental Diggers
Based on analysis of diggers in early January, 2007; 1Overall popular articles; same as current Top Digger ranking; 2Popular articles on the environment within the past 30 days
Marketing Green’s Top Environmental Diggers: MrBabyMan, supernova17, msaleem, suxmonkey, zaibatsu, tomboy501, burkinaboy, Aidenag, skored, sepultra; Notable mentions: 1KrazyKorean, capn_caveman, charbarred, cosmikdebris, DigiDave, FameMoney, johndi, maheshee11, petsheep, pizzler, vroom101
Notably, Marketing Green’s ranking reveals somewhat of a different mix of diggers than are included in the previous rank of “Top Diggers.” It should not come as a surprise, however, to see that the four Top Diggers are also ranked on Marketing Green’s list of Top Environmental Diggers. Interestingly, these Top Diggers rank highly on Marketing Green’s list based not only on their successful tenure (the current criteria for ranking) but also on their recent activity within the environmental category.
The remaining six diggers on Marketing Green’s list are ranked in large part due to their recent activity in category. Up and coming diggers such as suxmonkey and burkinaboy are great examples as they rank #57 and 110, respectively, based on successful tenure while ranking #1 and 3, respectively, based on recent activity.
Why should green marketers target top environmental diggers rather than digg the articles themselves? For starters, content submitted by top diggers has a higher probability of becoming popular than others. This is likely due to a variety of factors including: faster submission time (top diggers spend time trawling for new articles), superior ability to uncover interesting content, a broad network of friends that may digg articles submitted, and established influence within the Digg community that may peak the interest of others.
Moreover, InvespBlog suggests that diggers also know how to ‘sell’ their Digg submissions through compelling titles (eg, more than 75% of the top 100 most popular articles on Digg had titles different than the original), by attaching relatively lengthy descriptions (eg, the median description for a top 100 article was 48 words) and by choosing articles of limited length (eg, the median number of words in the top 100 article was 444).
How much better are top diggers than the average? As it turns out, they are significantly better. In fact, the 10 “Top Diggers” have an average % popularity of nearly 37%. This is in contrast to the average of the 100 Top Diggers (26%), let alone the 1,000 Top Diggers (18%). Impressively, Marketing Green’s List of Top Environmental Diggers have the highest average % popularity at 38%, narrowly surpassing the overall 10 Top Diggers.
As such, marketers seeking to syndicate content should consider activating power users on sites like Digg to help them do so. All diggers are not alike, however. Green marketers should take into consideration not only the overall success of a digger but their recent activity within the environmental category.
Stay tuned for the third and final part in this series for tips on how to active them.