Out of all the social media websites, StumbleUpon is my favorite. Not only do I enjoy using StumbleUpon, but in terms of sending traffic, I don’t think any of the other social media websites can compare. While Digg can send a huge flood of traffic over the course of a couple of days (which can bring down your website’s server if you’re not prepared), StumbleUpon can continue sending a steady stream of traffic for even weeks or months. For example, my 50 Simple Tips for Improving Your Website post was submitted over a month ago, but it’s been reviewed twice in the last day.
One thing that many people don’t know about StumbleUpon is that they allow advertising. Although I’ve heard people complain that StumbleUpon advertising is too expensive (the cost is $0.05 per visitor that sees your page), they are obviously missing the point of how to maximize a StumbleUpon advertising campaign.
Creating an advertising campaign on StumbleUpon is quite simple. You begin by entering the URL you want to promote, and then select the user interest group you want to target. The nine main categories are Arts, Commerce, Computers, Health, Living, Media, Recreation, Sci/Tech and Society. Under each general category is thirty to fifty user interest groups. You will notice a gray number in parenthesis next to each user interest group, such as (70). This means that there are 70,000 users subscribed to that particular user group. However, don’t worry about selecting the user group with the largest amount of subscribers. Instead, choose the user interest group that best matches the page that you are going to promote.
The last step is selecting how many visitors you want to see your campaign each day. You can choose as little as 100 ($5 per day), or as many as 3000 ($150 per day). StumbleUpon also gives you the opportunity to choose your campaign targeting. In addition to targeting by country, state or city, you can also target by age and gender.
At the beginning of this post, I said that people who think StumbleUpon advertising is too expensive “are obviously missing the point of how to maximize a StumbleUpon advertising campaign.” The reason I said this is because they aren’t taking into consideration the compounding effect that StumbleUpon advertising can have. The way StumbleUpon advertising works is by inserting the URL you choose into the normal stumbling flow of the users you target. So, as users are stumbling along, they may be shown the page you are promoting. This means that they can give it a Thumbs Up or Down, along with leaving a review. This is where it gets interesting. Because your advertisement is treated just like a regular StumbleUpon page, if people are giving your page a Thumbs Up and leaving good reviews, it could get added into the regular StumbleUpon system. So, even though you may only pay $5 for 100 visitors, if you have a great piece of content, it may get seen by 1000s of StumbleUpon users.
So, when you are thinking about what page you should advertise with StumbleUpon, you need to create something that’s going to appeal to their audience. For example, if you have a search engine marketing blog, since you can’t target specifically by people who are into SEO or SEM (but you can target by people who are into Marketing), you would want to create a more general page to promote, such as *The 25 Best Ads of 2008.
At the end of the day, the success (or failure) of your StumbleUpon advertising is going to depend on whether or not you take the time to not only understand your target audience, but to also create something that’s going to appeal to them.
*Feel free to use that idea for yourself