When most marketers talk about StumbleUpon, they usually say two things about it:
- It drives a lot of traffic to your website, but…
- The quality of traffic that you get isn’t great. Visitors usually bounce right off of your site.
I set out to test these widely held beliefs, and while I have yet to come to any revolutionary conclusions, I did discover some interesting things.
Let’s take a closer look at both of the previously mentioned assumptions.
StumbleUpon Drives a lot of Traffic to Your Website
At first, I wasn’t able to get much traffic from submitting pages and posts to StumbleUpon. When I did use it, the traffic I got was more or less on par with Twitter, Facebook, or search.
Occasionally I had some posts that saw a significant influx in traffic from submitting to StumbleUpon, but that seemed to be the exception and not the rule.
I started to wonder if StumbleUpon was becoming too saturated, and that I had missed it when it was good.
Here in 2015, I have been experimenting with StumbleUpon as a traffic source again, and I have finally confirmed this supposition that StumbleUpon sends loads of traffic to your website.
However, it didn’t really seem to happen until I started submitting multiple pages at any given time. I don’t know why that is, but it has made a big difference.
It’s important to note that they will only let you submit a dozen or so posts on any given day. Well, they say day, but in some cases the waiting time between content submission seems to be a little longer.
If you’re going to submit content to StumbleUpon at all, I would recommend the multi-page submission approach. Of course, we still have to consider whether or not it’s actually worth it.
The Traffic you get from StumbleUpon is Low Quality & doesn’t Convert
It’s hard to deny that a lot of people bounce right off of pages they stumble across on the StumbleUpon platform.
However, to say that the traffic you get from it is unqualified and uninterested isn’t the whole truth.
After all, when you submit a page or a post, you still select from a list of categories and add tags to it.
Moreover, when users join StumbleUpon, they select what interests they want to stumble. In other words, they are actually pre-qualified for the content in the specific category you add, so long as they are interested in what you have to say.
This still doesn’t mean that your conversion rate will blow your mind. However, you might be surprised by what content gets a lot of views, and for how long it continues to receive attention long after you’ve submitted it.
2 Case Studies
Neither of these case studies are extensive. As I already mentioned, I’m just beginning to experiment with this traffic source.
Though I don’t know whether or not StubleUpon will continue to be a vital part of my traffic strategy in the long run, it will likely be something I continue to pursue in the short term.
Here are a couple of sites I’ve been experimenting with.
1. The Music Entrepreneur
The Music Entrepreneur has been around since 2009. In 2013, I got its own domain name (the site used to be in a subdirectory on my music site), and in 2014 I rebranded it (it used to be called David Andrew Wiebe Interviews and Business Podcast, and then DAWCast: Music Entrepreneurship).
Earlier in 2014, it was only getting about five to 10 visits a day. By the end of the year, through steady and consistent effort, I had doubled and tripled those numbers. If I had help promoting the content or if I featured a guest on the site on any particular day, I usually got closer to 50 to 100 visits.
In 2015 so far, I have not had a single day where I’ve gotten less than 32 visits, but I’ve seen as many as 356 visits in a day, of course due to traffic from StumbleUpon. I’ve never had more than that in a single day on my site that I’m aware of.
No big deal, right? We already talked about the fact that you can get lots of traffic from StumbleUpon.
But here’s the interesting part. I wasn’t seeing any kind of traction with my list growth in 2014. I saw a couple of subscribers here and there, but it wasn’t great.
Then in December, I suddenly got 59 subscribers. That trend has carried into January. As of January 8, I’ve already gotten 32 new subscribers. There haven’t been many unsubscribes either.
I realize this isn’t a big deal for anyone that has seen more consistent growth, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t significant to me.
Now don’t get me wrong; I have been putting a lot of time and effort into beautiful, long-form content, and I also have over 100 podcast episodes on the site.
And I’m also not saying that there’s a direct connection between visitors from StumbleUpon and my list growth, but I am saying that it probably helped.
2. AS Movies & Games
It’s a blog that covers various movies and video games, and it’s connected to a relatively popular YouTube channel. I also use a multi-pronged approach to content on the site with blog posts, illustrations, videos and podcast episodes.
Again, traffic to the site in 2014 wasn’t significant. The highest month was May with a total of 387 visits. For the most part, it hovered around 200+ visits per month.
Because the previously mentioned experiment technically isn’t complete yet, I was looking for ways to get more eyeballs on the site, and of course started submitting content to StumbleUpon.
To my surprise, I got 446 visits on January 5 after doing that, and that’s the highest number I’ve ever seen in a single day on the site.
Now, as you can probably see, there definitely is a bit of an up-and-down effect with StumbleUpon, and you never know exactly how many visits you’ll have on any give day or what kind of long-tail traffic it will produce. It could be argued that it’s the same for any other source of traffic though.
From what I’ve witnessed on The Music Entrepreneur and AS Movies & Games, the long-tail possibilities are certainly there.
As far as conversion goes, I can’t say that I’ve gotten a lot of people to do what I want them to do. At this point, I have an eBay listing that I’ve been trying to promote, and though it seems to have gotten a decent number of views, it hasn’t had any bids as of yet.
I’m not really collecting emails with AS Movies & Games, which is maybe something I should be doing. So my only conversion goal with the site right now is to get more eyes on the eBay auction.
Having more signup forms would obviously give me a better idea of whether or not subscribers are coming from StumbleUpon.
Despite the fact that I always put a lot of effort into the content I produce, I can’t say that search has ever done me any favors. Again, this is in spite of putting a lot of time and thought into long-form content.
I usually see two or three visits from search traffic on my sites on any given day, and that’s great and all, but given everything I’ve done (including some basic SEO) I would have expected to be further along with that than I am right now.
Maybe, like StumbleUpon, I just need to hit the right vein to see more traction with search.
For now, StumbleUpon just makes more sense as a traffic strategy. I will keep producing content, of course, but I’m not going to wait for search to recognize my greatness.
Does StumbleUpon convert? Why don’t you try it for yourself and find out. If you have the right kind of content and make it easy for your visitors to take the relationship to the next level with you, I think you can convert StumbleUpon traffic.