StumbleUpon just released an update to its site that is filled with exciting new features with major marketing benefits. Overall, it is sure to breathe new life into the bookmarking platform, which will increase user participation and encourage new membership.
What is StumbleUpon?
At its most basic level, StumbleUpon is an online tool to help people find the most interesting and entertaining stuff on the web. Of course, everyone has a different idea about what’s interesting, so StumbleUpon tailors the experience to each user’s individual preferences by allowing them to pick categories they find most appealing. Then, the program will present content that fits into the person’s chosen categories. Users have the option to bookmark favorite pages and can connect with other folks on the network who have similar interests.
In addition to helping people “stumble” upon interesting stuff (articles, blog posts, videos, photos, etc.), the service also lets users vote (using a thumbs up or thumbs down) on the content presented to them. Content with the highest numbers of positive votes is more frequently offered to other StumbleUpon users — and that simple fact is what makes StumbleUpon such a valuable marketing resource. Essentially, if readers like your content, it will keep getting passed on to more and more StumbleUpon readers, which can potentially grow your audience to whole new proportions.
How to Use it as a Marketing Tool
At first glance StumbleUpon may seem like an effortless way to promote your own content… simply link to your pages, give them a thumbs up, and hope others like them too. Unfortunately, things aren’t quite so easy. You actually have to put some work in.
StumbleUpon users are notorious for not liking people (and their associated content) when they only vote for themselves and nothing else. Such shameless self-promotion totally goes against the community spirit of the network. So, if you aren’t willing to devote some real time to participating, you might want to skip this site altogether as it will only give your brand a bad image and bury your content in the pits of the StumbleUpon universe.
However, if you truly embrace the network and put effort into reading and voting, it can provide powerful benefits for your brand, such as:
- Gives you a way to share – If you’re taking the time to create great content, you naturally want as many people as possible to see it. StumbleUpon is another venue where you can promote your stuff.
- Reach new, large audience –With over 25 million registered users, the network makes it possible for you to connect with different consumers in a viral-conducive environment.
- It’s free – Free promotion is always good.
- Businesses are welcome – Like Facebook and Twitter, users accept the fact that businesses/marketers have a presence on StumbleUpon — and they’re ok with it (assuming you’re genuinely offering value).
- SEO advantage – Of course, creating more interest in your content has the added benefit of increased traffic and backlinks.
On top of StumbleUpon’s longstanding worth, the site was recently updated with some improvements that make things better for businesses and consumers. Some of the most notable upgrades are:
With the “activity” button, users can stumble the page’s their friends “liked” and see pages recommended by site experts (those who “consistently discover and rate the best content in specific interests”).
This new way to discover increases the likelihood people will see your brand, as friends of your friends have easier access to your content (as well as friends of their friends, etc., etc.).
Also, consider the surge in traffic you could receive if you are able to catch the attention of one of the StumbleUpon experts (e.g. the influencers).
Like many other social bookmarking sites, StumbleUpon now has a trending page which has a running list of the most popular and talked about content.
Getting your content on the trending list will give you the same boost as being liked by an influencer — quick and massive traffic.
StumbleUpon Lists allows users to sort their “liked” content into better organized, personalized categories. Truthfully, it is very similar to Pinterest’s organization system — and we all know how successful that is.
Like Pinterest, users can peruse other people’s saved content to discover things they may not have found on their own. From a marketing standpoint, this provides yet another way for consumers to find your content (via stranger to stranger).
As a user likes different things, StumbleUpon constantly analyzes the categories of the person’s chosen content to establish his StumbleUpon DNA. So, for example, by examining your “liked” pages, the site may determine you are 40% into travel, 30% into health, 20% into television, and 10% into mythology.
Not only is this a fun way for people to learn more about themselves, but if you (a content provider) categorizes your content accurately (this is important), you can better reach your target audience as users are more apt to stumble the pages of individuals who share their interests.
New iPhone/iPad app
Of course, the network’s new enhancements aren’t just for desktop users, but for mobile users as well. The StumbleUpon app has always worked seamlessly with iPhones and iPads (truly implementing the devices’ functionalities), but the new update provides an even more dynamic experience.
The top of the homepage now displays notifications along with users’ color-coded “DNA.” The center of the screen uses a tile format (similar to many other online magazines) where each tile is regularly updated with a new image and text — the primary tiles to choose from are “content for you,” “trending,” “stumble an interest,” and “stumble activity.” These options make it easier for users to see what’s popular with their friends, and they can even preview a page before loading it.
Having your content on such a quality app makes it that much easier for your brand to reach the rapidly-growing mobile audience.
Overall, the new StumbleUpon just seems a little cooler. It has brighter colors, an intuitive layout, and a more human approach. StumbleUpon has always been people-driven, but with the new ways “liked” content is showcased as well as the push for greater personalization and sharing, it’s evident the network aims to give users even greater authority. This is good for everyone as it will likely encourage increased interest in the site.
All that said, the update is still in Beta, so currently users have the choice to opt into the new features, and there’s always a chance something could change. But, from where we’re sitting, the update provides improved opportunities for online marketing and, by opting in now, you can start reaping the benefits immediately.