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The Problem with Advertising on Digg - Very Poor Conversion Rate

Digg, who enjoys all the privileges of a premium Adsense publisher, today dumped the Google Advertising program in favor of Microsoft who will now serve advertising to over 150 million eyeballs that hit Digg every month.

Kevin Rose and the wise Digg army are no fans of Microsoft. Infact, if you even submit a story on Digg highlighting some bug in MS-DOS of the early 90's, it's likely to reach the Digg front page in no time. Then why did Kevin switch from GOOG to MSFT?

digg google ads

[A search for Microsoft on Digg shows Google Ads related to Diabetes, Cholesterol and Air Valves]

Poor Conversion of CPC Ads:
I was listening to Tim Ferris of The Four Hour Week here and he said that his blog has been on the Digg home page atleast half a dozen times in less than a month. Whenever that would happen, he would see an avalanche of visitors coming to his website but the conversion ratio was negligible.

Tim felt that most Digg visitors were like 15 year old** Warcraft loving kids who came, who saw and then went away. On the other hand, if that same post was linked / recommended by some influential blogger like Robert Scoble, Tim felt much better as far as the conversion ratio was concerned.

Tim's observation may explain why advertisers may be shying away from placing CPC ads infront of the highly tech-savvy audience of Digg - they are not converting. [TechCrunch CPC figures]

Traffic from Search Engines:
It's a well-known fact that visitors who come via search engines convert best because they are in dire need of information and in that mode to buy products. Digg stories are placed well in organic search results, often at a higher position than the actual story, but the traffic that comes from search engines may not be converting well.

Why ? Because the search engine visitors are less likely to read the online ads on the Digg webpage - they are more inclined towards visiting the site that's linked from that Digg page. So the CPM ad impression may go waste.

Related: My experience with Digg Traffic

Lisa Barone and Todd Bishop wonder how Digg's users will react to the site's association with "evil" Microsoft.

**According to Federated Media, Digg readership is 94% male, 39% publish their own blog,  52% are IT professionals and most of them are in the 18-39 age group.