Why Google Loses Sleep Over the Digg Effect

If I was Google, this is something that would scare the crap out of me: Digg
users don’t click ads.

The first graph below shows the page views by day of a site I track which
received two trips to the front page of
Digg.com. It’s pretty easy to
tell when those occurred:

The second graph, shown below, shows the click through rates (CTR) of the
same site on a day by day basis. Notice the two corresponding dips well
below the average CTR:

When Digg users come flying in, clicks drop. This isn’t to say that revenue
drops, because some do click, but the percentage who click is significantly less
than that of the average visitor. In this case, while traffic increased
dramatically (3-5x), the click through rate percentages dropped off as much as
75%.

Digg users don’t click ads. Why does this matter? Because Digg users are
sophisticated web users.

As more web users become as sophisticated as
today’s Digg users, click through rates will
plummet.



And if you’re business is based around making money off clicks, this is
something that should be keeping you up at night.

Of course, this isn’t only a problem for Google. It’s a problem for every site
that uses AdSense as their business model.

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