Open Discussion: How Much Traffic Does Social Media Really Generate?

By Daniel Scocco

Last week I wrote an article on how to generate traffic with social bookmarking sites, and one question popped into my mind: How much traffic do those website really generate? If you browse around the web you will hear all sorts of numbers, from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of unique visitors.

That is why I decided to write this post and invite the readers to share their own experience. Being able to access the numbers behind real stories is always beneficial for understanding the whole picture.

Let me share my experience with the main social bookmarking sites:

Digg: Over the past years, through out my different blogs and websites, I have been on the Digg front page 11 times. The smallest traffic I have seen from a front page was around 5,000 unique visitors. But that was coming from an article that talked about writing mistakes, which is not really a hot topic on Digg.

The highest traffic I have seen was around 50,000 unique visitors, spread in two days, from an article that featured a list with websites that every gamer should know.

Most stories fell somewhere in between those two ends. I would say that an average front page would send me 25,000 unique visitors.

An interesting point to note, though, is that a Digg front page will usually trigger a bigger avalanche of traffic because other social sites will grab the story, and many people will link to it. The story that got 50,000 uniques from Digg also got 50,000 uniques from other sources on that same day, and probably those were triggered by the front page on the first place.

StumbleUpon: It is harder to measure the total traffic coming from Stumble Upon, because apart from the spike on the day of the submission, you will also have visitors coming on the following days and weeks (sometimes even months!).

On the peak day, which is usually the same day of the discovery or one day later, I have seen as many as 15,000 unique visitors coming from Stumble. Some article I published, however, experienced a prolonged peak with 10,000 unique visitors coming from Stumble for many days in a row. I think it is completely possible, therefore, to hit 100,000 or more unique visitors in the course of a week, if your article explodes with thumbs up.

Average articles that I have seen submitted received far less traffic, hovering on the 10,000 unique visitors range after one week (so around 2,000 unique visitors daily, with a decreasing amount as the days went by).

The good thing about Stumble is that pretty much all submissions will get some traffic. Even posts that readers submitted for me and had only 5 or 6 thumbs up ended up receiving a couple hundred of visitors.

Reddit: I have only reached the front page of Reddit once. It sent me around 15,000 unique visitors if I remember well.

Usually you can reach the front page of the single categories (e.g., politics or gaming) more easily, and those will send anywhere from 500 up to 3,000 visitors from my experience.

Delicious: I have been on the front page of Delicious many times. Usually as a consequence of being exposed on some other social bookmarking site or larger website. The site can send anywhere from 1,000 up to 5,000 visitors depending on the quality of the article.

Over to the readers

Those numbers come from my personal experience, though, and I know that other people will have different tales to tell.

What traffic did you receive in the past from the different social media websites? What was the highest and lowest you have seen around?



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33 Responses to “Open Discussion: How Much Traffic Does Social Media Really Generate?”

  • Kevin S

    Well, I have been on front page of Digg for almost 8 times in last 6 months. I received visitors from 35k to 60k. depending on the article topic.

    Del: I hardly get 10000 if i make front page, but targeted visitors as they have to save the link.

  • medyum

    Overall I think it totally depends on your websites market and the readers that you target. Figuring out who your target market is earlier on can definitely save you time and money which could of been used for useless promotion.

    There are hundreds of different social media sites now though and I think there are several for most markets the most popular being Digg and SU.

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