Brent Csutoras recently wrote about the StumbleUpon Effect, comparing the sharp increase in traffic from StumbleUpon (SU) to that of Digg, Reddit, and other social sharing sites.
In working with my clients, I have noticed a similar effect, but in my clients’ instances, it has been manufactured (i.e. paid for) and controlled. For the most part buying traffic from social sharing sites is generally frowned upon.
StumbleUpon is different. SU’s revenue model partly involves sending paid traffic directly to websites. Cheap, unqualified traffic is nothing to write home about, but the residual effect of running a StumbleUpon campaign is noteworthy.
In this example, we set up a few test Campaigns, sending traffic to my client’s blogs, videos, YouTube channel, and Facebook page.
Logistically, it is incredibly hard to measure the Campaigns to the Facebook fan page and YouTube channel, but traffic is readily measured to my client’s site.
We saw a substantial increase in traffic – even after we turned off the Campaigns:
- Before the StumbleUpon Campaign, my client saw approximately 1800 visits from StumbleUpon from March to June 2008 to their site
- Purchased 8000 visits (a cost of $400) from June to July 2008
- Saw an influx of traffic from SU from July 2008 to February 2009 – over 18,600 visitors – after turning off the SU Campaigns
We noticed a snowball effect. As visitors approved of the site, StumbleUpon increasingly supplied traffic, peaking well after our Campaigns had expired. Furthermore, we noticed a residual effect from the Campaigns that lasted until late February, a full 6+ months after ending our SU Campaigns.
Before the SU Campaigns, we saw approximately 50 visitors per month referred by StumbleUpon. 5-6 months after the Campaign, we saw nearly 1600 visitors per month from StumbleUpon, over a 3000% increase.
Although the snowball effect eventually dissipated, the end result of over 26,000 visitors at a cost of $400 (1.5 cents per visitor) is tough to beat regardless of how unqualified the traffic.
But, amazingly, we also saw conversions – over 260 visitors from StumbleUpon filled out a Get More Information (GMI) form ($1.53 per goal conversion). In comparison, with paid search, we typically pay roughly $75 per visitor that fills out a GMI form.
The Campaigns also allowed us to control where we sent traffic and which visitors we sent. We noticed users were much more likely to give our site a thumbs up if we sent them to a video than to the blog and users gave even more thumbs up if that video immediately started playing. Traffic from the US liked us better than traffic from abroad.
StumbleUpon is an excellent testing ground to see if advertising campaigns are sticky.
Unfortunately, StumbleUpon Campaigns are only going to work for select clients. You would likely find minimal success sending traffic to a document mangement company or Cisco Systems, but for those clients with quality content, SU is an inexpensive route to drive a ton of traffic.
You also avoid the Digg minions.