Digg Ads: It’s Just the Beginning

As some of you may know, Digg Ads is now officially open for business.

Digg Ads are the ad units that let marketers promote their own content on Digg’s homepage, and let Digg readers Digg up the ads they like (and bury ones they don’t). So far, we’ve received positive feedback from the Digg community on this new approach to advertising.

Digg Ad for Ford Mustang

We’re very excited about this at Digg, and not because we’ve found a few extra pixels to sell to advertisers but because Digg Ads is our first step in the direction of helping marketers speak to the Digg community in the local language of Digg. Nearly forty million people visit Digg each month (17.4MM US visitors, per Comscore) because they want to discover new content that’s been vetted by the rest of the community. Yellow boxes with numbers in them are an indication that the content on the other end of the blue link is interesting, important or funny to other Diggers.

As marketers perfect their skills as web publishers and invest more aggressively in content creation — content about their products and services, as well as general content that might be useful to their customers — it creates an opportunity for better advertising experiences: ads we don’t feel the need to block, skip or ignore. Digg Ads, we hope, will give those marketers a real-world proving ground — a place to measure their success in making content that’s relevant to their customers. And it will give Digg readers a feedback mechanism to make the ads (and the content promoted in those ads) better over time.

If we can help brands learn the native language spoken at Digg, the better the odds that advertisers and Diggers can get to know each other and have a constructive, two-way conversation.

More updates and announcements around Digg Ads coming soon.

  1. # New Comm Biz » A Glimpse into the Future of Social Media, Journalism and Advertising said: October 1st, 2009 at 7:50 am

    [...] Chas Edwards discusses the success of Digg ads and hints at the future of advertising filtered by (and I’ll throw in co-created with) their customers: Digg Ads: It’s Just the Beginning [...]

  2. # Digital Product Reviews said: October 1st, 2009 at 10:10 am

    So far the ads haven’t been that bad, and it seems that many marketers “get it” when it comes to the copy and thumbnail to use.

  3. # Arron Lorenz said: October 2nd, 2009 at 8:36 am

    I’ve voted every ad down.

  4. # Si said: October 2nd, 2009 at 8:38 am

    I think it is very annoying and pointless. If you bother to read Digg you would find a lot of people hate it, but the digg article gets buried and automatically disappears from searches.

    Disguising your advert as a news story is questionable at best.

    By burying an advert you get to charge more to the advertiser. So you are actually punishing the advertisers by marketing to people who don’t even want that advert.

    Plus the system doesn’t really work, because 3 or 4 pages later the exact same advert shows up again despite burying it.

    So to me all it does is annoy me, charges your advertisers more. The only real winner is Digg.

    Ps. My machine with Adblock installed can’t even log into the site anymore. When I remove it, then I can but I see the adverts.

  5. # Trent said: October 2nd, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I’d like to know who’s taking the time to send ‘positive feedback’ about the latest way to convince people to buy shit they don’t need.

    Its advertising, not content!

    I can’t imagine any users being happy about advertisers finding yet another way to shove stuff in our faces.

  6. # pjpete said: October 2nd, 2009 at 9:59 am

    As a Digg user, I find the ads thinly veiled as articles annoying and deceptive.

    From a publisher’s point of view, I think the idea of the voting system is interesting; just for the additional feedback your getting along side comparison of page view vs click through.

    With the cooperation of the community, it gives Digg feedback to provide more relevant adverts to a segment of users, but the way they currently present the ads intermingled with and designed to look like news articles I think is insulting to the Digg community.

  7. # Johnny said: October 2nd, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Digg Ads. Wow! Awesome and innovative. A+. You guys are the best and this business model is surely the best. Brains, brainiacs, and brilliance! Very impressive.

  8. # Ingrid said: October 2nd, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I agree with previous comments about the annoyance of ads masquerading as content, but if you really want your advertisers to get feedback from potential consumers, why not enable comments on Digg Ads? A bigger or smaller number doesn’t explain what works or doesn’t work about the ad.

  9. # Chas said: October 2nd, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Thank you all for the feedback. Arron–That’s part of what Digg Ads are about; bury the ones you don’t like and we’ll use that input to serve up better ads for you next time. Your experience is also relevant to some of the others who object to “disguising” ads as content. Did you have any trouble figuring out which items were the ads so you could bury them? (It sounds like you didn’t, which is exactly our intent.)

    Google publishes paid search ads on its search-results pages, and marks them (about like Digg does) as “sponsored.” Sometimes they are relevant to me, some times they are not — but because Google calls them out as sponsored, I’ve never been fooled into thinking they were something other than ads.

    Keep the feedback coming! We’ll do our best to make Digg Ads better over time.

  10. # blah said: October 2nd, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Funny how you and the rest of the Digg staff will only respond to positive reinforcement from the community. Every negative comment about these deceptive, thinly-veiled ads disguised as adverts have been summarily ignored by you, the first post that praises you on the other hand, you jump right on top of? I wouldn’t be surprised if “Johnny” is you patting yourself on the back for a shady job well-done.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this comment mysteriously disappears either, you are a Digg staffer after all.

  11. # Chas said: October 2nd, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Blah–Did you read Arron’s comment as a positive one? I interpreted it as negative, that he didn’t like Digg Ads and so he “voted every ad down.” In my reply I tried to address some of the other negative comments that expressed concern about the ads being deceptive. Given that all of us (both those of us who, as I do, like the Digg Ads format, as well as those who don’t) are able to identify that the ads, which are called out as “sponsored” units, I’m not understanding who is being deceived. Thanks for chiming in!

  12. # Il'dar said: October 5th, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Hey it’s a good digg. Promote is the best thing to solve problem to many peoples

  13. # Who is Worthy of Digg’s Pixels? | BlogWell said: October 12th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    [...] Just over a week ago, Digg’s Chief Revenue Officer, Chas Edwards, offers up this gem: [...]

  14. # Digg Ads: Positive Early Results, Plans for Syndicated Revenue Platform said: October 14th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    [...] spoke to a handful of journalists this week about the early results from Digg Ads, the ad units that let marketers promote their own content on Digg’s homepage, and let Digg [...]

  15. # Digg Content Ads for Where The Wild Things Are said: October 16th, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    [...] make more money if readers click on these banners, though we sure do like it when they do. (Digg Ads, the ad units that allow marketers promote their own content on Digg’s homepage — rather [...]

  16. # Rick Harrington said: October 31st, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Can you explain the voting discrepancies?

  17. # Chas said: October 31st, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Rick–Which voting discrepancies? Between the organic stories on Digg and the advertiser stories in the Digg Ads system? The two operate independent of one another. In other words, Diggs on Digg Ads items do not have any impact on related stories that exist within the main (organic) Digg system.

  18. # EA’s Dragon Age: Content and Ads Working Well Together said: November 4th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    [...] is promoting Dragon Age on Digg with Digg Ads units on the homepage. At the same time, reviews of Dragon Age (this one from Joystiq) are also [...]

  19. # LA Times on Digg Ads and Other User-Feedback Ad Systems said: November 16th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    [...] the LA Times piece on Digg’s Digg Ads platform, as well as ad systems on Reddit, Facebook and others that allow readers to voice [...]

  20. # Natural Born Clickers and the Rest of Us said: November 18th, 2009 at 6:49 am

    [...] lead scientist, Anton Kast, shared with me an analysis of who’s clicking on Digg Ads, the ads on Digg that give readers the option of Digging and burying them like regular Digg [...]

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