Jun 25 2012
Even though StumbleUpon has been around since 2001, it has only recently started to gain in mass popularity. And despite the fact that it lags behind social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter in membership, with Facebook clocking in at over 900-million users and Twitter topping 140 million, StumbleUpon’s relatively small 25-million users are currently contributing more than 50 percent of all referral traffic from the web’s leading social media sites (http://mashable.com/2011/08/19/stumbleupon-social-traffic/).
What does this mean for your company’s marketing efforts? It means it’s time to stumble on StumbleUpon and stumble hard.
How it Works
The way StumbleUpon works is similar to a search engine. But instead of going to the engine and typing in your search á la Google or Bing, you basically tell the engine what general topics you prefer (astronomy, crafts, homemaking, technology, etc.) and then click the “stumble” button. The engine stumbles to a site that seems like something you’d like and if you do, you click the thumbs up, or “like” button, on the engine toolbar. The more likes or dislikes you feed it and the more you stumble around, the more the engine learns what you like and the harder it becomes to walk away from it. What site will it show you next? What new thing can you learn or funny video will you watch?
Users can also post a short review of the website to a site-specific comment page. If you’re curious about what other users think, just click the word balloon in the toolbar.
The engine has several more features, including a video-specific stumble engine and an internal stumbling option on the toolbar for larger websites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, FunnyorDie, Scientific American and WordPress called StumbleThru.
Stumble on Site Promotion
How does this work for marketing? It actually works in several ways. The most immediate approach is through direct marketing. StumbleUpon’s ad system, Paid Discovery, inserts paid advertisers’ sites directly into the users’ experience. No more than 5 percent of a user’s experience is Paid Discovery stumbles, but when you consider that each of the engine’s 25 million users spends an average of seven hours a month stumbling, that accounts for quite a few clicks. It also means that your company doesn’t need to create an ad. Your business website is the advertisement as the user stumbles directly onto it. The stumble works in the same way as the rest of the sites that appear through StumbleUpon; users can like or dislike the site, and post a comment on your site’s StumbleUpon comment page. This could be invaluable information for companies looking to appeal to certain user demographics. The only difference is that StumbleUpon lists in the toolbar that the user has stumbled on a paid advertising site, indicated by a green icon or “sponsor” notation.
Alternately, companies can also create a StumbleUpon channel, where users can follow your channel and stumble through pages that relate to your company’s interests. For example, the Spotify channel has about 165 pages and more than 3,200 followers as of early June 2012. Users can view the channel’s preferred pages on their channel page, or stumble through the pages. Alternately, they can follow the page and integrate it into their stumbling experience. Creating a company channel allows you to promote your company in a background manner by promoting sites that are relevant to your business.
Another option is to StumbleUpon your own website. As a StumbleUpon user, you can add pages from your website to the selection of webpages that the engine draws from. For example, if you have an online used bookstore with a blog section, you can add your blog posts to StumbleUpon. As a user you can set your preferences to all things relating to literature so that your user preferences, added pages and likes will be included in the pool of choices for book bugs. It’s a more subtle way of integrating your company into the rapidly growing engine, which currently includes more than three-million sites, but it vastly increases the chances of people who never would have considered visiting your site stumbling upon it.
Regardless of how you approach it, StumbleUpon is quickly becoming a leader in website referral traffic, and having your page included in their selection of sites appears to only improve your online visibility.
Anita Brady is the President of 123Print.com, a leading purveyor of promotional and office organization supplies like custom business cards, banners, photo mugs, memo pads and other items that combine high quality and customization with an affordable price.