The rise of Reddit and the steady decline of Digg have been well documented. Just recently Reddit announced that its traffic has more than doubled in less than a year (to 2.07 billion pageviews in December), an impressive feat.
Has this translated into a significant change in social news referrals for publishers?
Anecdotally we’ve all seen Reddit gain in prominence at a time when Digg has struggled to maintain its relevancy. Adam Singer summed up the general sentiment in recent conversation we had on Twitter:
“Reddit / Stumble won.”
I wanted to get a better idea of just how much of a shift has occurred with some of the publishers that we work with at Define Media Group. So I pulled the 2009-2011 Reddit and Digg referral figures for selection of 12 major magazine and Web-only content sites.
I’m not able to reveal the specific sites or figures due to confidentially requirements but they are all well established brands. I intentionally chose sites from several different publishers and focused on those with content that is a reasonably good fit for social news sites.
To anonymize the data I combined each site’s figures into a total number for the group. The numbers represent visits, not pageviews.
12 sites is a very limited sampling so this survey is certainly not meant to be conclusive. I just found the comparison interesting and I thought I’d share the findings here.
First a look at the total combined traffic for all 12 sites in 2009-2011:
The trend lines tell the story loud and clear: traffic from Reddit is way up and traffic from Digg is way down.
Among the surveyed group, Reddit went from a combined total of 6.3 million visits in 2009 to 22.7 million 2011. Conversely Digg dropped from 31+ million in 2009 down to 4.6 million in 2011.
Here is the YoY change for 2010 and 2011:
Again the numbers look great for Reddit and not so good for Digg.
Nearly all of the surveyed sites have seen substantial gains from Reddit in the past few years and significant declines from Digg.
Only one site in the group saw a slight increase in Digg traffic in 2011 and just one saw a slight decrease from Reddit. Otherwise the figures are overwhelming in favor of Reddit.
The decline of Digg was already apparent when I did a basic survey of Twitter, Facebook and Digg traffic to newspaper and magazine sites in early 2010 and the negative trend continues today.
Digg is certainly trying hard to improve its position through initiatives like Newsrooms and Digg Social Reader. We’ll see if they can stem the tide.
What you are seeing with your own traffic? If anyone is willing to share their figures or experiences either in the comments or privately, I’d be interested to hear from you.