Many online marketers do not take into consideration the power of StumbleUpon in their social media channel reviews and that is a critical failure that should be remedied. Technically, StumbleUpon is not a social network or a web portal but a news and web content rating service (often termed a bookmarking site or social tool bar) which operates somewhat along the lines of the original Digg or the powerhouse Reddit. Users provide content and then, through a rather complex algorithm to determine its quality and popularity, the specific article gains or loses visibility according to its ranking. Remarkably, some sources indicate that StumbleUpon can drive more traffic from American users than the mighty Facebook itself!
The Creation of Virtual Communities Based on Interests
The key to the actual function of the StumbleUpon site is collaborative filtering: a programmed process that evaluates and blends the opinions expressed by the human users with the automated comprehension of the personal preferences. The crux of StumbleUpon’s existence is the creation of virtual communities of users who share particular interests and the provision of content that they will find compelling enough to share widely through the site’s facilities.
40 Billion Stumbles Generated by 25 Million Users
StumbleUpon may be in the background when it comes to widespread visibility and media attention/hype, but the business users of the site are benefiting from considerable traffic as long as they are able to provide a wealth of content that is seen as shareable. StumbleUpon’s mobile functions are mushrooming in usage with volume being nearly non-existent in mid 2010 and reaching over 200 million “Monthly Mobile Stumbles” by the end of 2011. Total Stumbles are swiftly reaching the 40 billion mark generated by the more than 25 million registered users of the site. This exponential increase is expected to continue, creating a situation where StumbleUpon can be a real force in both the mobile content marketplace as well as the overall traffic generation category.
Brand Channels Are Fully Integrated with Twitter & RSS
StumbleUpon recently underwent a thorough redesign that saw a wealth of new features being added to the mix, and none so interesting to online marketers as the Channels. Brands can now create their own specific profiles and encourage their customers to follow them on StumbleUpon, in a way that is not too different than the Brand Pages on the other major social networks. StumbleUpon also integrates Channels with Twitter and RSS feeds so that the flow of a company’s content can be optimized. Users who follow a particular brand’s Channel are presented a greater proportion of that brand’s content and the site will also recommend that brand content to users who are following similar companies or sites. In order to ensure that their Channels are stocked with fully legitimate brands, each application has to be approved by the management before a Channel can go live.
Paid Discovery Is Limited to 5% of the Stream
StumbleUpon also offers a Paid Discovery advertising system that provides a prioritized feed in the stream of user’s Stumbling whenever that individual’s interests match the profile of the company placing the ad. Upon matching, the user experience includes the actual brand web page, clearly identified with a green icon or Sponsored label in the tool bar or the mobile app screen, to inform the user that this is a paid placement. Five percent of all Stumbles consist of Paid Discovery and as just like any other form of Stumbling, the users can provide feedback on the content they are viewing. Unlike many other social media sites, StumbleUpon does not serve up the usual display ads such as the banner, pop-up or interstitial formats.
As in the cases for any other brand presence on any social network, it is imperative that the content that is placed on the system is valuable and worthy of being shared, as the basic standards of virality also apply to StumbleUpon. Brands that comprehend the power of StumbleUpon are benefiting from powerful traffic and yours should be one of them!