1. danielha

    Discovery: Driving High Quality Traffic

    Posted on August 1, 2012 by danielha

    An important part of the new Disqus is a concept that we call discovery. We want to help websites better connect with their audiences and build stronger communities through our platform. To us, discovery is not any one feature — it’s a benefit that’s woven throughout the core experience.

    We recently introduced the Discovery box to help people discover other interesting stories and conversations happening on your site. We built this feature because we want to help build measurable community engagement — the Discovery box is meant to drive a lot of high quality traffic. With our new discovery features, we’re doing this in a way that results in more traffic and stronger engagement for your sites.

    It’s now been over a month since we began rolling out the Discovery box, but the feature is still young. Today, only about 50% of unique users see it when they visit a site using Disqus. It’s been a slow, careful rollout as we focus on delivering quality results. The good news is that we’re getting amazing data so far.

    We began working with some sites to study the impact of Disqus and discovery on their engagement and traffic. Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

    • Of the sites we surveyed, Disqus consistently made its way into the list of top traffic referrers. One site even saw Disqus in its Top 10, even though the Discovery box was only turned on for a small portion of its readers.
    • Another site saw 2.8 pageviews per visit from traffic referred by Disqus, compared to the site’s average of 1.6 pageviews per visit. This same site saw the average time spent of 9 minutes 30 seconds from Disqus traffic, compared to the site’s average of 3 minute 45 seconds.
    • Similarly, another site saw 4.6 pageviews per visit through Disqus traffic (versus 2.75 pageviews) and an average duration of 5 minutes 45 seconds (versus 2 minutes 30 seconds).
    • And a favorite example: from Disqus-referred traffic, a site is seeing an average time spent of 11 minutes (!) and 5.6 pageviews per visit.

    We had a chance to dive in even deeper with popular entertainment site IGN.com. This is what they found:

    • Referrals from Disqus consumed 39.1% more PVs per visit than the site average.
    • Referrals from Disqus spent 136% more time on site vs. the site average.
    • Referrals from Disqus also have a significantly lower bounce rate (42% better)

    We’re extremely excited about what this data is telling us: Disqus is effectively delivering more, higher quality traffic than many other sources of traffic. We think that this is the key to community building: sustaining engagement and, thus, loyalty from your visitors.

    Promoted Discovery

    As we continue to learn and improve how sites are using the Discovery box, we’re also excited to talk about the newest form of discovery: Promoted Discovery. In a nutshell, Promoted Discovery is a way for your site to increase engagement and make money. It works by recommending content, through the Discovery box, that your readers may find interesting. Promoted content recommendations, such as other blog posts, are personalized to your readers based on relevance and quality. You’ll earn money when any of these promoted recommendations are clicked on by your readers.

    This is the first opportunity for sites to make money through Disqus from their engaged communities. We’re looking forward to opening up this revenue-sharing program to more websites soon — in the meantime, we’re gradually rolling out and testing Promoted Discovery on a limited basis.

    How does Disqus impact your traffic numbers?

    Earlier in this post, I shared some data that we’ve been able to gather over the last few weeks, and now we’re looking for additional insight from sites.

    We’d love to understand how Disqus performs as a traffic driver for your site — just submit to us a few key data points. For the most impressive engagement results, we’re putting together a Disqus Hall of Fame, based on this data, to feature some of the best communities using Disqus.

    All you need to do is fill out this form with a couple key things from your web analytics. Bonus: the first 50 submissions will get some awesome Disqus gear!

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