Stumbling Upon An Opportunity

September 20, 2011

stumbleupon, website traffic, social media


The social media world was abuzz last month with news that Stumbleupon was the dominant source of traffic among top social media sites - accounting for 50% of all referral traffic in the U.S.

No longer can Stumbleupon be looked at as just a way to kill a minute (or two hours depending on how addicting you find it). The numbers don’t lie - you certainly can’t question its evolution from niche time killer to what some people consider one of the best way to discover content on the web.

It’s also an unsung hero for bloggers and marketers looking for new avenues for promoting their sites. Two cases in point: Mark Evans’ Tech blog and Fred Wilson’s AVC site

Evans recently described the power of StumbleUpon by citing how it has doubled the amount of traffic to his own blog in the past month.  

Fred Wilson’s AVC blog saw his blog skyrocket from an average of 10k visitors per day to 20k because of traffic from Stumbleupon.  

Wilson explains, ‘I've never seen a fire hose of traffic and visitors like I've seen this past week from StumbleUpon. I'm not entirely clear what is happening here. But I hope it continues. More readers means more conversations and opinions and more friends.”

However, not everyone is as impressed with these results. Cynthia Boris for Marketing Pilgrim points to a few reasons why people should not to go crazy when looking at StumbleUpon’s success.

“People go to Facebook to do a lot of things. They catch up with friends, post photos, play games, join groups and share links.  At StumbleUpon, people only go to do one thing — share links.”

She further explains that Stumbleupon is a “highly sophisticated bookmarking site whose competitors are Digg and Reddit, not Facebook.”

Even if Stumbleupon’s user base (roughly 12 million users) is drastically smaller than Facebook’s (750 million), marketers had better pay attention to the opportunities presented with the new Explore Box.

Stumbleupon is advertising this new feature as ‘Stumbling with a Purpose.’  The new toolbar will introduce a more search-like specificity that allows users to stumble and discover content related to their tailored interests.  It even has a search suggestion feature that somewhat resembles Google Instant.

With this new Explore Bar, Stumbleupon is also offering more targeted advertising opportunities.  Narrowing the search topic — narrows the results — and provides marketers with the ability to better target their specific audience.

Similar to how Twitter is using ‘Promoted Tweets’ and Facebook gathers information from your profile, Stumbleupon has the potential to deliver ads through that same interest-targeting format.  

Right now Stumbleupon is not showing any cards in terms of future advertising plans.  

When that happens though, it’s safe to say they may have stumbled upon quite an advertising advantage.