How To

March 7th, 2012

How To Promote Content on StumbleUpon

While the tech-savviest women are using Pinterest to plan weddings as of late, the latest social network to engineer a marriage proposal was StumbleUpon (Spoiler: She said yes!). Content marketers tend to romance the latest social platform, hoping the new kid on the block will sweep them off their feet. The wallflower at this junior high school dance happens to be StumbleUpon, and she has a few secret moves up her sleeve.

If you’ve never used StumbleUpon, it behaves almost like a Chatroulette for content. Users can pick a topic (but don’t have to) and click “Stumble” to be served up an article or even just a regular page on the web. StumbleUpon does not crawl sites — the only way a web page is qualified to be “stumbled” is if a StumbleUpon user first submits it. That means you must be actively involved to get your content into the game.

StumbleUpon drives nearly 50% of social media traffic, according to data taken by StatCounter. The site may have only 20 million users compared to Facebook’s 800 million, but the difference is that StumbleUpon is a mecca for consuming content. It’s what users have in mind when they enter the site. The internal data reported by StumbleUpon shows 1.2 billion total referrals every month and an average of 300 “stumbles” each month per user.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share

So, how can you optimize your content to win in this crowd? “It’s best for destination-based content marketing,” says Jack Krawczyk, StumbleUpon’s senior product marketing manager StumbleUpon. “People are looking for content to spend time with.”

Here are some tips that will get your content exposure as well as quality time with an interested audience.

Install the Badge on Your Site

The StumbleUpon badge looks just like the “Tweet” or “Pin it” button, and it enables your site to get fed into the index, Krawczyk explained. Sites see a 20-25% lift in traffic from StumbleUpon once they’ve added the badge. As you can see, Mashable includes the StumbleUpon badge on every article.

Interact With the Community

The pages StumbleUpon serves to each user are selected based on both an interest graph and a social graph. Add friends and “stumble” relevant and interesting sites.

StumbleUpon uses a thumbs-up, thumbs-down system to cater content to a user’s preferences, but also measures what StumbleUpon friends he “trusts” based on which articles he like — so, that will influence what a user sees. Having a legacy or reputation inside the StumbleUpon network ensures that the content you inject into the ecosystem will be found.

Get on the Waitlist for Channels

Channels is a beta product from StumbleUpon to be released in a few months. It allows users to follow or subscribe to content sites. The sooner your brand signs up, the sooner it can get started building its distribution network on StumbleUpon. Microsoft, CNN and Wired are just a few brands and sites already participating in Channels.

Try Out Paid Discovery

AOL used paid discovery to grow new readership and increase time spend with its content (see slides 23-26 of this Slideshare for details).

With paid discovery, each URL is only served to people with interest in topics you choose, and brands pay 10 cents per view (but the brand doesn’t pay if a user leaves in under 5 seconds).

StumbleUpon provides data, including sharing rates and time spent on a piece of content. Premium paid discovery is also offered at 25 cents per visit — with this feature, the promoted URL is pushed to the front of the line — so brands pay more, but they’re guaranteed to get lots of views in a short time frame. Krawczyk explains that this premium offering is ideal for movies studios promote a film premiere, for example.


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