Founded by four Canadian post-graduate students in 2001, StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that allows users to consume content according to their field of interest. Apart from the fact that StumbleUpon is one of the best places to find user specific content, the word on the web is that it is the best way to attract traffic to your site as well. This is exactly what makes hordes of people flock to the website. StumbleUpon had amassed 20 million users by the October of 2011 and has been in a tussle with Facebook to grab the laurels in the social media circuit.
StumbleUpon is a by no means a minnow in the US. "StumbleUpon has an edge over other bookmarking websites. Any company looking for visibility in the US has to give a serious thought to StumbleUpon", says Hemal Majithia, Business Head-Digital at Think WhyNot.
StumbleUpon has more than 20 million users, and even more staggering is the fact that close to 25% of its traffic comes from India, not far behind the US which accounts for 34%. A quick check, assuming a close to ideal state, corroborates this fact: India has 120 million internet users and 3.75% of them visit StumbleUpon, which yields 4.5 million users. Although this figure is a bit beyond the horizon of reality as it assumes that all internet users are social media enthusiasts.
A report puts monthly active Facebook users in India at 43.5 million. Taking this figure as a pointer, it would be safe to assume that there are nearly 45 million active social media users in India. About 3.75% of this would produce a realistic figure of close to 1.7 million StumbleUpon users in India.
StumbleUpon does not compare to Facebook or Twitter based on sheer volume, but it does bring the kind of crowd that a social media website would like to see. Joystics, a game review website that is mentored by FirstBase, has been using StumbleUpon quite regularly. "We have around 20,000 hits a week on Joystics and around 20% of those visits are from StumbleUpon,” says Sumit Charles, the founder at FirstBase. The added advantage of the 1,000 hits from StumbleUpon is that they are nearly all from people who are interested in gaming.
Talvinder Singh, the founder at Tushky, has been using StumbleUpon a lot for his company’s marketing efforts. "StumbleUpon has been an underdog in social marketing channels, yet the quality of the majority of StumbleUpon content is superlative,” says Talvinder. He further mentions that, “This is great news for players like us, who have good content to share. In our “scoping-out” experiments, I have observed that content spreads the best on StumbleUpon, followed by Facebook and then Twitter. On Twitter, users have to cross a certain threshold to have "real" spread, since the latency of a piece of content is pretty low, while on Facebook it is usually the recycled content that floats. We have allotted 25% of our social marketing budget purely for StumbleUpon, simply due to the results we have seen from it.”
A mock test with a dummy blog that consisted of irrelevant content yielded encouraging results. The dummy blog received almost no traffic while promotion was dormant, received a small spike in traffic when it was promoted through Facebook, and received a large spike when it was promoted through StumbleUpon!
As always, there are a few caveats though, StumbleUpon reduces the average time spent on a website, which may or may not be directly linked to the quality of content and there is also the possibility of getting permanently banned. There have been several raging debates about the usefulness of StumbleUpon, and even more so after the revamp that came in earlier this month.
What is your position in the debate? How much do you stumble?