Does StumbleUpon Drive Traffic?

Stumbleupon, one part social network – one part content discovery platform has just crossed over the milestone of 20 million members and is consistently ranking amongst the top 100 visited sites in the United States month after month. Compete.com is tracking Stumbleupon at over 12 million unique visitors last month, which may or may not be an entirely accurate estimate based upon a sudden spike in traffic between October and September, but nonetheless Stumbleupon is far outperforming Reddit, Digg, Delicious, and all of its other social bookmarking counterparts.

To Stumble or not to Stumble, that is the question.

Is Stumbleupon worth your time?
More importantly, can it drive traffic to your site?

The short answer is yes, but it largely depends on a couple of factors.

Is the content actually stumble worthy? In other words will it quickly catch and hold the attention of the Stumbleupon community. A clever, highly information, and detailed infographic is probably a safe bet. In contrast a long piece of generic site copy won’t receive much attention. Love it or hate it, it’s just the nature of the site.

European agency SimplyZesty recently revealed some surprising insights into the quality of their SU traffic. For an unknown reason Stumbleupon generated a large spike in traffic at some point in the day, but a careful look at Google Analytics showed that a strong majority of visitors had viewed the content and then left immediately. Although several thousand people landed on the page most of them stumbled off of it just as quickly as they came. The traffic was there, but it wasn’t anything worth getting excited over. SimplyZesty went on to say that a focus group revealed that many teenagers had said Stumbleupon was their favorite site and a “great way of wasting time.”

Fortunately Stumbleupon is more than just a flash in the pan game of chance, although a little bit of luck never hurts. Well composed how to articles, blog posts with large eye catching images, and lists of any nature tend to outperform other types of content. By using the site’s social networking components it is feasible to build a community of friends made up of likeminded stumblers who will promote your content, but doing so takes a large investment of time and ongoing commitment, to which the benefits often don’t outweigh the costs. There’s no harm in having a Stumbleupon button as part of a sharing widget or using the site for content discovery, but much of the hype around Stumbleupon needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Results may vary so experiment and take what it’ll give, but don’t get carried away with high expectations.

Image via Scott Beale / Laughing Squid


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