The Results of Viral Marketing

The Results

Today I am going to be showing you the results and effects of this experiment, everything from the traffic, the links, the viral path, the effect it had on the blog, the server, opt-in numbers etc…
The Traffic

Let’s start with the juicy stuff: The Web Traffic

— Site Summary

—VisitsTotal …………………. 155,745

Average per Day ………….. 6,083

Average Visit Length ………. 0:13

This Week ………………. 42,583

Page Views

Total …………………. 234,901

Average per Day ………….. 7,655

Average per Visit ………….. 1.3

This Week ………………. 53,587

This was sent to us yesterday and it shows an overview of the “average” stats per day.

It is certainly impressive, but we have to take into consideration that the 5 days prior were pretty dead in comparison. So let’s look at the daily figures:

This was from towards the end of the first day, around 11pm. The final total was around 46,000 visits, but we can really see the spike here:

Average per day = 179

Today = 40,924
Going Viral Baby

Most people focus solely on the initial spike that Digg provides, but for me, this is shortsighted and shows a lack of understanding. The real value for me is what happens AFTER the Digg traffic has died down.

Here are some examples:

Del.Icio.Us

Most of you should be aware of del.icio.us, here is the page for our buzz article: delicious page

At the time of writing it has had a whopping 90 people tag the story.

The story was at one point top ranked for tags like: Funny, humor, advice, inspiration, self improvement and numerous others.

Most of you will know the long term power these tags will have, and I expect a steady stream of daily traffic for the coming months from this.

StumbleUpon

Stumbleupon seems to be the big dog these days, it has had over 4 million downloads and the largest social userbase of all the social media sites.

You can see the current Stumbleupon page for the article here: stumble page

It has had a huge 29 written reviews, and has maxed out the number of voters shown on the page (40 is the max).

At one time it was the number one “recently popular” article on the entire network, I made a screenshot, but it is not very good quality, see it here:

The site has also been linked on numerous blogs and forums, far too many to list here, but here are a few of the bigger sites:

Yes, one of the biggest newspapers in the UK linked to one of our stories… more on this PR6 link later.

MIXX.com

Many say that Mixx will be bigger than Digg, I am not so sure, but either way, we did well on there and were top ranked for numerous tags. This didn’t bring much traffic, in fact, the link from The Times newspaper got a lot more.

Another Digg Style Site

Perhaps someone could translate this for me? In any case, it did fairly well at bittita – I put this in purely to show you how fast and far your viral seed can travel on the net.

I can’t list all the blogs and forums that linked to the article, as there are too many, but two big traffic referrers were,, each brought over 600 unique visitors in the past 36 hours.

Getting Your Site and Server Prepared

Preparing for a global buzz success is not something many people think of, but if your site hits the Digg homepage, you have two choices:

Longterm vs Short term

Each webmaster will have a preference, and I am not claiming my way is the best, but it suits my game plan, and that is very much a longterm strategy.

For me, branding and link strength will always outway things like Adsense. In fact, on another blog I have no adsense, zero affiliate links, no banners, no popups and I promote no products… to many of you this may seem insane. But I know that the BIG money in this industry comes from reputation, perceived authority, site strength, respectability etc… and I know that plastering my site with ads make make me a few hundred dollars extra per month, but it may lose me the six figure deals, and the networking I have recently been doing with many of the industries A-listers.

Remember, you can get a few hundred dollars in 24 hours quite easily from a Digg success, but is it worth it?

You also run the risk of Digg users not voting for you because you have the ads.

Anyway, my advice to the site owner was the long term strategy, and by the time the article had only 7 Digg votes, he had removed all traces of Adsense from the site.

The Server

I am pretty sure the server is a dedicated server, but we all know that WordPress and high traffic are not a good mix. So 10 mins before the article hit the frontpage, I had installed this wordpress plugin and effectively made the site a static website.

For the first time ever the server coped perfectly, and as far as I know, it had a 100% online uptime.

RSS Feed Readers

Getting Feed readers is huge for any blog, so I was shocked to see that there was no Feed button on the site. I spotted this at least 6 hours too late, but here is the fruit of my labour:

It is not overly eye-catching, but it was better than nothing. That said, the site wasn’t setup for Feedreader, so the feed link was just the standard – this means I don’t know how many people subscribed to the feed.

Opt-Ins

Opt-ins are another great benefit to a viral spike. We all know that the money is in the list, but at R21 the call to action seemed pretty weak. The offer is for future blog updates, but I think we are going to change that to a free gift very soon.

I checked the opt-in stats 12 hours after the Digg traffic started, and to be honest it wasn’t impressive. The total at the time was 64 opt-ins. On a normal day that would be amazing, but I feel a better call to action could have trebbled those figures.

Other Cool Stuff

Over the next few weeks we will likely see the start of the links having an effect on the site’s Google rankings, but I thought I would show you this:

Google Ranking

This is actually really useful. It is a search term that the site owner was keen to rank for, and now his article is 2nd in the rankings. He should get steady traffic from this for potentially years to come.

Super Cool Stuff

Ok, not the most technical of sub-headings, but you may remember that we got a PageRank 6 link from The Times. A top 1000 Alexa ranked website, and one of the leading UK newspapers.

Here is the thing… it wasn’t for the self improvement article, it was for this article which many blogs displayed on their blogs earlier this month.

What I want to show you here is that although many Digg users will read your article and then leave, there will be a % that will check your site for other cool stuff. If your website sucks, then you are destined to fail regardless, but if you have a few gems on your site, they WILL find them.

In this instance they found the post, and that got submitted to StumbleUpon. It now has a whopping 21 reviews, and at one point was top of the Science Buzz page at Stumbleupon, this clearly lead to an editor at The Times seeing it, and we got our PR6 link and International mention from a high authority source.

You can see the Times post here: Times Post.

The SEO experts will know exactly what sort of longterm effects this link may have.
Summary

It has now been almost 48 hours since the story hit the home page, and traffic yesterday was around 13,000 unique visitors. It is too early to tell what today’s will be, but it looks set for around 10,000

Some people have asked what effect having a Digg top user had on the story, to be honest, this is the first time any top user has dugg any of my stuff, but I did notice an improvement for the first 15 or so Diggs, but after that, I felt it made little difference.

I hope this insight has been interesting and helpful, obviously I couldn’t cover everything, partly because I don’t own the site and don’t have access to all of the stats etc, but I believe this was the net’s first EVER real time buzz experiment, so I am glad I could share it with you.