Russ Jones on theGoogleCache took a look at how “Top #” lists perform on Digg. We all know how popular top 10 lists are. Russ’s initial premise was that they’re not necessarily the best performing. He thought top 6s would be best, another coworker bet on top 7s.
The coworker won. Of 90 “Top 7″ stories submitted to Digg, 53 made the front pageâ€”59%.
Second place? Top 12: 34 stories submitted, 16 made popularâ€”47%.
Top tens took third, with 39% of the 1680 “Top 10″ stories submitted to Digg becoming popular. Top 5s and Top 11s tied for fourth, with 29% of 558 stories and 34 stories becoming popular, respectively.
Interestingly, it could be the popularity of Top 10 and Top 5 lists that make them less popular (by the way, thanks, ProBloggerâ€”the Group Writing Project triggered nearly 1000 Top 5 posts throughout the blogosphere).
There were more top 10 stories (1680) than any other numbered list stories submitted to Digg. Top 5s were a distant second, with less than a third as many (558). With so many stories on Digg, it’s going to be a lot harder for a significant number of them to become popularâ€”not to mention the eye-rolling and sighing that have begun to accompany posts with “Top 10″ in the headline. Top 7 lists are the third most popular, with less than 1/6th as many top 7s as top 5s. Still, they outperformed their more popular compatriots.
One final note: if you’re making Diggbait, don’t use the Top 3, Top 4, Top 6 or Top 8 format. Less than 10% of stories in each of those formats actually become popular on Digg.
Somehow, I doubt that David Letterman will change his format.