You should, and here’s why.
Kicking off 2011, StumbleUpon, a website that recommends ‘the best of the web’ based on the recommendations of users with similar interests, got to add another shiny achievement to its growing trophy collection. The site surpassed Facebook as the number one source for social media traffic in the United States.
Fast forward to July and the site gained the crown of number one referrer in all of North America, according to analytics site StatCounter, a site that tracks page views to more than three million websites each month.
As of August 2011, StumbleUpon delivered right around 48 percent of all social media web traffic compared to Facebook’s 40 percent. Considering the fact StumbleUpon only has a user base of 15 million, next to Facebook’s more than 500 million, the accomplishment is even more impressive.
Worldwide, Facebook still reigns supreme pushing out 60 percent of social media referrals. It’s worth noting, however, that FB referrals peaked in April of this year at 77 percent worldwide and has been on a steady decline ever since.
StumbleUpon, on the other hand, has essentially doubled its referrals in the same period, from 14 to 27 percent.
We’re not saying SU will replace Facebook (at least not in it’s current form) but from a marketing and web analytics perspective it’s value is increasing immensely.
That’s the why.
StumbleUpon has been around since 2001, so it’s not exactly new. In fact, in terms of the social web, it may be getting ready to apply for AARP membership. Regardless, it can be a great platform for publishers if it’s used right.
I’ve been using StumbleUpon off-and-on for a number of years, but with my 14 followers I can’t exactly claim ‘super user’ status. Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the company is trying to bring the best of social networking and randomized surfing to a single platform, but, at the core, the concepts are a bit at odds with each other.
I expect the platform to evolve a bit more and work out a few of the kinks and loose-ends that don’t exactly translate into a seamless user experience, but even with it’s current workings, StumbleUpon can be a great referrer for your website. Spanning the past two month we’ve gotten an average of 2,000 or so referrals a week to a single post.
The algorithm is secret, but, much like everything else in the social web, content is king. The key to pitching successful stories and really using the platform effectively at all is quality content. Peers (i.e. other Internet nerds) rate your post with either a thumbs up or down. A thumbs up and your post moves forward in the recommendation engine to that user’s friends and in whatever genre you’ve tagged.
There is no magic bullet or easy road in, but, like most everything else involving the Internet, learning the ropes is fun. Our best advice? Roll up your sleeves and start stumbling – for fun or for work – but make sure you have a few hours to spare.