Some things don't change. StumbleUpon, after all these years, can still be a great driver of traffic to your website, despite how little it has changed in comparison to other social services. Think about how much Facebook has changed over the years, or even Twitter. StumbleUpon is certainly a different kind of beast, but each of these products is used by people to consume information, and even if StumbleUpon's primary appeal isn't necessarily the social element, that element is there, and it has helped make StumbleUpon one powerful force for content producers.
What do you like best about StumbleUpon? Let us know in the comments.
We had an interesting conversation with social media consultant Brent Csutoras from Kairay Media, who has been talking about the power of StumbleUpon for quite some time. We've chatted with him a number of times about the subject over the years. You can find some of our other interviews here.
Csutoras tells WebProNews that marketing on StumbleUpon hasn't really changed much over the years. "They have made a number of changes that changed the way we prepare our campaigns, but essentially the approach is the same today as it was years ago," he says.
"StumbleUpon's algorithm uses a tree network system blended with quality scores for the account, the domain, and the content, which determines how visible any specific article can become," says Csutoras. "So submitting quality content with the right categories (ones that are StumbleUpon made and not your personal guesses), along with sharing your content with key individuals in your network, is still the basic strategy to marketing within StumbleUpon."
"We have seen an improvement in using StumbleUpon Ads to boost your content's natural traction, but it relies on the content being high quality and targeted for the StumbleUpon audience," he notes.
Late last year, StumbleUpon launched a big redesign (complete with a logo redesign), seemingly making the site itself more of a destination for users, but Csutoras downplays the importance of StumbleUpon.com.
"We had a number of discussions with StumbleUpon about the redesign," he tells us. "What we learned was the percentage of StumbleUpon users that actually participated through the website was very small, so the redesign really had little to no negative impact to our marketing efforts. Remember that StumbleUpon is essentially a social tool bar and is not focused on being a web portal."
There's certainly a great deal of truth to that, as StumbleUpon is all about the content from around the web. It only makes sense that users use it most while they're elsewhere on the web. The very nature of StumbleUpon, obviously drives you throughout the web at large. This is why it's such a powerful driver of traffic.
StumbleUpon does not get the media attention of some other services, like Pinterest, for example, yet content producers are clearly getting tons of traffic from users thirsty for more compelling content, whether that be something funny, interesting, or just plain cool.
"I think that StumbleUpon has always been below the radar when it comes to media attention," says Csutoras. "That might be attributed to the fact that it has stayed true to its core offering and not tried to copy other social sites, so there are fewer drastic changes or features to discuss."
"StumbleUpon has launched the StumbleThru feature, Channels, added search to the site, opened up the categories to create your own, and many other features, but they just do not get the media coverage."
These are the kinds of features that seem like they could do nothing but help content get in front of the right people. Speaking as a user, the search feature (the "Explore Box"), for example, has driven me to countless pieces of content related to whatever topic I happen to be interested in at that moment, eagerly awaiting a thumbs up and/or a share. I have to assume it's had a similar impact on many other users.
The StumbleThru feature and channels serve no other purpose, but to serve up more of your site's content to users (granted, channels aren't just available to everyone).
StumbleUpon can drive a great deal of traffic to a page relatively quickly, but perhaps its real appeal for content providers is the long term effect it can have.
"You have to remember that the way StumbleUpon's system works, when your content gets traction, it will get waves of traffic for years to come," says Csutoras. "For instance, if one of your articles gets a 15,000 visitor spike, you will see that the trail off on that traffic never really goes away. This is because as your content gets popular in StumbleUpon, it queues up for the people who have subscribed to the category applied to your content. Users are only shown the content one time each, but some users may not be that active or their queue is really full."
"Fast forward a few months when there might be another 10,000 people who have signed up for that category," he adds. "As those inactive users log in over time and vote up your content, it will again start to gain traction again and potentially go popular showing to all those active members who have signed up since the last time it was popular. So you might see another 7,000 visitor spike months later."
"This cycle has the potential to repeat for all your content forever," Csutoras says. "In addition, if enough people tag the content with another category, it can cross over and become visible to a whole different segment of people. This is the beauty of StumbleUpon and why people who have been using it regularly love it."
"Lastly, StumbleUpon has done a great job over the last year in defining associated categories, allowing more people who might likely appreciate your content see it, even if they are not subscribed to the exact match category."
Suffice it to say, despite the lack of media attention StumbleUpon gets, compared to its peers, it is still highly relevant to anyone creating interesting content that wants people to view it.
Just remember (and I think it goes without saying, but just in case I'm wrong), the content has to be good. Otherwise don't bother trying.
Is StumbleUpon an effective source of traffic to your site? Let us know in the comments.