Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Will People Dig Digg Ads Beyond Digg?

I'm a huge fan of Digg ads... on Digg.

Per the Digg corporate blog, "Digg Ads will give you more control over which advertisements are displayed on Digg. The more an ad is Dugg, the less the advertiser will have to pay. Conversely the more an ad is buried, the more the advertiser is charged, pricing it out of the system."

Seems like a great model, right? And perfectly aligned with the Digg ecosystem.

Here's one that's live now on the Digg homepage...

Digg Ads - Ford

Today came word that Digg is thinking about running its new ad unit on 3rd-party sites. Brian Morrissey at AdWeek has good coverage of Digg's plans, comparing it to an ad network of sorts.

In the article, Chas Edwards, CRO at Digg, justifies the move as follows -- "Advertisers want the ability to take an advertising format and scale it in many places. It's like what Google started with AdWords."

Yes, but is that what consumers want? Not so sure.

Digg users want Digg ads. Or, more appropriately, Digg users will tolerate Digg ads.

But if I'm not a heavy Digger or if I'm one of the overwhelming majority of people online that's never heard of Digg and I'm not on Digg at the time, will I want or even know what to do with Digg ads?

As I said earlier, Digg adds are perfectly aligned with the Digg ecosystem. The challenge is that the Digg ecosystem does not currently extend beyond

I'm all for taking lessons we can learn from Google and using them to innovate in the marketing world but I think there's been a misinterpretation here.

What Google started with AdWords was a way to serve relevant ads based on queries and content.

What Google started with AdWords was a way for advertisers to reach consumers when they are in a commercial mindset -- ie, where can I buy X or what's the best brand of Y product?

I could go on but instead I'll point you to for all 20 lessons.

To be sure, Digg can check some of these boxes -- eg, Tap the Wisdom of the Crowds, Act Like Content, and Let the Data Decide. But it misfires widely on Relevancy Rules, Mindset Matters, and Be Where Your Audience Is.

The bottom line is that the Google ecosystem extends far beyond because search is ubiquitous. Therefore AdWords has legs far beyond

Until Digging content becomes ubiquitous (ie, when Digg is recognized by Webster's as a verb the way Google is) , I don't think Digg ads will be dug beyond Digg. Ya dig?


Lex said...

Do you think they're being entirely honest with their tally of ad votes?

Aaron Goldman said...

Yes, too much to lose if they're not being fully transparent. No doubt introducing ads pissed off some users. Manipulating the tallies would piss them off even more. Would piss off advertisers too.

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