Yesterday Digg announced that Matt Williams, currently an executive at Amazon, will be joining at CEO in September. From Kevin’s post:
“Matt has spent the past 11 years in a variety of roles at Amazon, most recently as GM for Consumer Payments, and earlier in his career he led Amazon’s community efforts. He was the Founder and CEO of LiveBid.com, which was acquired by Amazon in May of 1999. Matt brings seasoned management experience and has a reputation for delivering innovative products and excellent results.”
“The majority of Digg’s userbase will likely find the new design refreshing and it very well may gain some traction among users that feel overwhelmed with the real-time news stream or the pontifications in their news feed. Better yet, Digg may attract a whole new audience looking for a place to discover news through curated sources.”
With the new Digg rumored to be launching this week, and further rumors that it will allow users to import their social graphs from Facebook, Twitter and others in order to create a personalized My News experience, I’m hoping next year’s Social Media Map won’t represent Digg as that lonely island just north of the United Territories of Wikimedia.
We just launched a feature that allows alpha testers of the new Digg (version 4) to invite friends. I’ve got a few left. Want one? Drop me a note at chas [at] digg [dot] com.
My favorite thing about the new Digg is My News, the default start page that ranks content items not by their overall Digg count (that’s still there, called Top News) — but by the Digg count among people (or publishers or brands) I’ve opted to follow. That’s the number in the green box below. (By “opted to follow,” I mean I clicked the button that pulls in my Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pals, but you can also add new tastemakers by clicking on Find Profiles.)
Digg, the Grammys, NOTCOT and others got together in LA last week to talk about social news, crowdsourced content discovery and more. About six and half minutes into the above video, I give my 90-second version of the changes coming to Digg as part of Version 4.
Digg user dankoleary created this video tour of the new Digg. He’s liking My News, the feature that sorts stories based on friends’ activity, and he’s loving the clean design and lightening-fast load times.
If you mistype a search on Digg, prepare yourself to get teased by Burger King. They’re going to suggest your mistyping is caused by hands so tiny they can’t handle a BK Double Cheeseburger. From Mashable:
“The ‘error’ message reads: ‘Looks like your search had a typo. Maybe you’ve got tiny hands?’ While that may or may not be the reason for your empty search results, as Switched notes, that wording is actually a tie-in with an ongoing BK ad campaign where people complain that their hands are too small for BK’s massive double cheeseburgers.”
As more publishers recognize that their readers want to share content on social platforms like Digg, Twitter and Facebook — and enjoy the boost in traffic that follows — Digg is upgrading its publisher buttons and widgets to make integration easier and more effective. From my colleague Matt Van Horn’s post on Digg’s blog:
“Our publishers have found great success in driving traffic to their content by integrating with Digg. The Telegraph in the U.K. saw their traffic increase from 500k page views a month from Digg to 5.5 million page views due to a deep Digg integration. The Telegraph integration required custom work using the Digg API, but now with the new widget generator anyone can create a similar integration without development resources.”
If you’ve spent time with me in the past few years, you’ve likely heard some variation of my recommendation to “market in the vernacular of your customers.” (More here.) By that I mean: Figure out what attracts your audience to a particular media product or platform (whether it’s Vanity Fair, MTV or Facebook), and then speak to that audience with the same grammar, tone and format as the medium that attracted them.
This isn’t new. If I was among your target audience in the late 1970s, you were likely to find me watching the groovy kids on the sitcom What’s Happening. When Dr Pepper ran commercials starring a guy dancing his way across town dressed like the kids on What’s Happening, surrounded by a group of back-up dancers that looked like extras from the show, it got my attention. The commercial was nearly as much fun as the program, only shorter. I didn’t yet have an iPad and I had recently burned out on Atari Pong; the vernacular I spoke most fluently at the time was TV, and that’s the language in which Dr Pepper spoke to me.
Fast forward to today. If your customers get their news from Digg (where I work), they are speaking a vernacular in which yellow boxes next to blue headlines help them discover content they better not miss. The bigger the number in the box, the more they are likely to pay attention — since it’s a content item that has been vetted and recommended by influencers in their community.
Brands that speak to Digg readers in the vernacular of yellow boxes and blue headlines are succeeding with the Digg audience more than advertisers running more traditional banner ads. By an order of magnitude, in fact, if you’re looking at click-through rates.
Earlier this month, Intel took the idea a step further. They used Digg Ads units (Digg-able, bury-able ads between the 2nd and 3rd story on Digg’s homepage) and IAB-sized Content Ads to drive Digg readers to page filled with news stories breaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The page wasn’t a collection of press releases on Intel products, or even a list of editorial stories picked by an Intel employee because it said something nice about Intel. It was a round-up of CES stories that were vetted by the Digg readers themselves. Intel’s sponsorship created something that Digg itself was lacking: One page assembling the most important gadget news from CES for the reader who doesn’t want to be distracted by any other kind of news. (You know who you are.)
And Intel’s campaign took advantage of something else, too. While nearly 40 million people come to Digg each month, they’re not the only ones speaking the Digg vernacular. Readers of most content sites on the web have noticed yellow buttons and invitations to Digg stories right there on the site they’re reading. Like a Briton coming to America and finding out that we too speak her language. So Intel took IAB-shaped Content Ads and ran them on other sites — such as Wired and CNET — that also attract Intel’s customers in a context where those customers would understand that yellow boxes with big numbers in them mean there’s socially-curated content they might want to check out.
“The ability to ‘Digg’ something on the Web has become a ubiquitous sign of approval from a content hungry audience throughout the Internet. With our content ads the goal was to team up with Digg to provide genuinely interesting stories coming out of CES across a wide landscape of sites where our customers seek information.
“Recognizing the aggregation of compelling content was brought to you by Intel in a social friendly, audience approved ‘Diggable’ format gave us the ability to add value to our audience’s experience rather than just paying for an impression that may or may not be of benefit to them.”
Advertising that seeks to improve the audience experience? I like it. And I’m betting website audiences will too.
(Credits: Dave Veneski at Intel; David Zamorski, Sarah Reed and Melissa Sabo at OMD; and Elyssa Wilpon, Erin Coull, Dav Zimak, Eric Hoppe, Dan Contento and Mac Delaney at Digg.)