The Telegraph's social media strategy seems to be paying dividends, as its website now receives 8% of its daily traffic from news aggregators like Digg and Reddit, as well as Twitter.

The newspaper's Head of Audience Development Julian Sambles revealed this figure to Malcolm Coles on his blog, and based on the Telegraph's 28m uniques in March, this equates to around 75,000 visitors per day from social media.

Unfortunately, I don't have similar figures for other newspapers' social media traffic, but based on The Telegraph's efforts to optimise for sites like Digg, I'm willing to bet that it has a higher proportion than its rivals. 

In addition, Hitwise stats from last year on news aggregators (which also includes Google News) show that no newspaper was receiving more than 4% of traffic from these sites, while recent stats show it receives more Digg traffic than other newspapers. According to Julian:

We have successfully engaged with these social sites and will continue to incorporate tools and services that allow readers to interact and engage with our content when we make changes to our site.

In the changing role of newspapers in the digital world it is important that we have the ability to adapt and engage with new services and social media to ensure that our great content reaches as many people who are interested in reading it.

So how has The Telegraph achieved this?

Playing the Digg game

I looked at how The Telegraph was making good use of Digg to drive traffic a couple of months ago, after stats which showed it as the highest recipient of Digg traffic in the UK.

Malcolm's stats from February show that The Telegraph received many more Diggs than any other newspaper, and this trend has continued. I checked today, and it has received a total of 18,027 Diggs to date, compared with 14,332 for its nearest rival The Guardian, and 12,058 for The Mail. It also does well on Reddit.

Digg-friendly headlines

Eye-catching and descriptive headlines attract clicks on Digg, and The Telegraph has plenty of these. Some of its most popular Digg headlines are listed here. Some are sensational too, which can help catch the eye of Digg users. 'Fish with human faces spotted in South Korea' got 1,759 Diggs, for instance. 

Digg widget

The newspaper has a widget next to its news articles which shows the most popular and upcoming and related Telegraph articles on Digg, providing more of an encouragement for readers to Digg than the usual button. It also offers readers a good way to find other content on the site. 

However, this does seem to slow the page load time down; it took nearly ten seconds for it to load and the Digg widget was also the last item to appear on the page.

Other social media buttons

While the main focus is on Digg, The Telegraph covers all bases with the social media buttons next to its articles, with a total of 11 options to share the story elsewhere:


Twitter can be another useful source of traffic, and The Telegraph has set up a series of Twitter feeds for the various sections of the paper, and has also been displaying Twitterfalls on the site. It used one for the Budget coverage, and has them next to its live football coverage, as well as a button to share articles on Twitter.

Graham Charlton

Published 11 May, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)

Jake Brumby

Jake Brumby, Managing Director at Mr Monkey Limited

Telegraph has a good strategy on Digg but the The Guardian wins hands down on Twitter:

  • Guardian: 19,136 followers
  • Telegraph: 1,940 followers also came 8th in the list of 100 most mentioned brands on Twitter though the methodology of the survey is questionable.

The Guardian also beats The Telegraph on total traffic according to Alexa... position 312 versus 338.

about 9 years ago

Elle Holgate

Elle Holgate, Digitial Planner & Copywriter at Vexed Digital

The Telegraph has always had a good strategy online and has been surprisingly progressive for such a conservative paper.

While it's true their Twitter account is much lower in popularity, it doesn't mean they're becoming complacent - they currently have an iPhone app for the paper - something that The Guardian is lacking.

With the new version of the iPhone OS supporting micropayments within apps, this could become an additional revenue stream for the paper.

about 9 years ago


Andrew Thomas

As well as demonstrating a good online strategy, The Telegraph’s reported success stats demonstrate the importance of measuring the impact of one’s social media efforts. With a plethora of tools available, impact differs in each case, however one thing is clear, readers want to be able to interact and share content online. What social media has achieved where straightforward digital content failed is to enable this sharing process to take place. More than anything, social media has facilitated the convergence of new and traditional media. This has fundamentally changed the way we consume content and this trend will continue for years to come. The Telegraph’s approach really highlights success measurement and as a publisher myself, I’ll certainly be taking note of this and thinking of ways I can use social media to improve my site’s traffic ratings.

about 9 years ago


Ben Smith

Good campaign and to be fair it shows that with some planning and strategy it is relatively simple to correlate a social media campaign to website traffic. This next bit, and arguably the more important bit is to track it to customer spend and income.

The beauty of on-line content and social media is that this is relatively simple to do. The problem publishers still have of course is that (unless their sites are guarded by pay-walls) they make money out of a tiny fraction of visitors to their site.

over 7 years ago

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