VMS-Washington – What you need to know about StumbleUpon

Posted: 23 March, 2012 in Social Media
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The social-powered Web browsing service StumbleUpon now claims to drive more than half of all social media referral traffic in the U.S., according to new data from StatCounter.

Is it true? Is it possible this lesser-known service, which helps users discover Web pages based on their interests and other people’s recommendations, has dethroned Facebook and Twitter?

All we really know from the data is that StumbleUpon drives most of the social media traffic to the 3 million websites that use StatCounter for their Web analytics.

StatCounter is a free service that some website owners install to track relatively simple data about the number of visits. Most news organizations and large websites use more detailed analytics services like Google Analytics or Omniture.

We don’t know who exactly the 3 million sites using StatCounter are (there’s no overview on the site), but we can assume they don’t include a representative sample of mainstream content publishers. And because StatCounter’s data is not weighted to represent news sites or the Internet as a whole, we can’t draw any conclusions.

In the specific case of a news website publishing timely or breaking stories, I expect Twitter and Facebook are the dominant referrers. But there is still a role for StumbleUpon in your social media strategy.

What does it mean?

StumbleUpon has grown to 15 million users and its site traffic is rising. Whether or not it beats Facebook, it can generate significant referrals, so news websites ought to pay attention to it.

While Twitter and Facebook excel at spreading the breaking or local news of the day, StumbleUpon is for the long tail. The type of content that succeeds on StumbleUpon meets a few criteria: the subject is useful, interesting or bizarre; addresses a niche topic; and has enduring value.

To understand why, you have to know how the service works.

  • Impressive. StumbleUpon is a serendipity engine that tries to recommend amusing and delightful pages based on the number of similar users (people who share a particular interest) who “like” a page over time. A page needs to be especially useful, interesting or bizarre to get someone to stop and like it, rather than stumbling on to the next thing.
  • Niche. StumbleUpon users begin by defining their personal interests, and now they can browse within one interest at a time. So the service is a home for things that appeal greatly to narrowly defined audiences rather than general-interest audiences.
  • Enduring. This is not a real-time news network like Twitter. Pages in StumbleUpon gain likes and momentum over time. So think of explainers, guides or revealing features as good candidates from a news site. A site homepage itself often gets traction for the general purpose of discovering the site, whereas you don’t see many Facebook likes or tweets of home pages.

To cement that a little, here are some of the Poynter.org pages that have received the most StumbleUpon referrals this year. The home page of Poynter.org comes in first, and near the top are several how-tos (useful and enduring) on:

How to optimize for StumbleUpon

Not that we need another cottage industry like SEO for StumbleUpon (SUO?), but you can take some basic steps to capitalize on the service.

First, add the StumbleUpon badge to your home page and article pages. Much like the Facebook and Twitter buttons that surely are there now, this badge enables a user to add or recommend your page to StumbleUpon. You also can add a widget to your site that shows your best-rated StumbleUpon content.

Second, be prepared to capitalize on the new visitors that stumble your way. The nature of StumbleUpon is to send browsers to sites that are new to them.

When they land on your site and realize they like it, you should have obvious widgets or links somewhere encouraging them to follow you on other networks or to sign up for email or RSS content delivery.

Linking to related posts on your site also can help extend a StumbleUpon visit through a few pages instead of directly bouncing to the next recommendation. That’s generally good practice for all Web visitors.

For something more specifically targeted to StumbleUpon, you could build a special widget that greets StumbleUpon visitors, introduces your site in a sentence or two, shows other popular SU pages on your site and invites the user to follow you or subscribe.

In the long run, it’s really not useful to measure StumbleUpon against Facebook or Twitter. They exist in two entirely different classes — one is a timeless, passive, serendipity engine, the other is timely, active, two broadcasting networks. Both are important in their own ways, and deserve their own strategies.

Why hasn’t your processor mentioned the Durbin Amendment?Learn how to lower your card acceptance cost: www.vms-washington.com and ask about the Durbin Amendment that was passed on October 2011 and how it will help you lower your rates. 

Comments
  1. As soon as I noticed this web site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  2. Hi, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

  3. Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this article is awesome, great written and come with almost all vital infos. I’d like to peer more posts like this.

  4. Hi there, just wanted to mention, I liked this post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

  5. Drew Ernster says:

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such magnificent information being shared freely out there.

  6. Perfectly pent written content, Really enjoyed looking at.

  7. I believe you have noted some very interesting details , regards for the post.

  8. My spouse and i still can’t quite feel that I could possibly be one of those reading the important guidelines found on this blog. My family and I are really thankful for your generosity and for providing me the chance to pursue my personal chosen career path. Thanks for the important information I got from your blog.

  9. I have read several good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you put to create this kind of excellent informative website.

  10. site says:

    Some really wonderful posts on this internet site , thanks for contribution.

  11. Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great post.

  12. I’m having a small problem. I’m unable to subscribe to your rss feed for some reason. I’m using google reader by the way.

  13. I went over this website and I conceive you have a lot of good info, saved to bookmarks (:.

  14. Utterly indited content material , regards for entropy.

  15. sorbetière says:

    Some genuinely nice and useful info on this internet site, as well I think the design and style has got excellent features.

  16. site says:

    Nice post . Cheers for, writing on this blog dude. I will message you again! I did not know that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s