Using StumbleUpon Paid Discovery for Content Promotion


Getting the content that you create out to the masses is  a challenge without  a significant budget that bigger brands have in pocket. However, this does not mean it can’t be done and for a small price.

StumbleUpon is a great discovery platform to find new and different content. Users can personalize the content they see, it is also a great way for brands and businesses to be discovered by people that would be interested in the products and services they offer. As a user, you choose your topics of interests content related to your choices are served up each time you hit that little orange button.

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As an advertiser, it is your job to make sure that if you are paying for your content to appear to these people you are targeting them properly, or you are throwing money out the window. Now, how can you do that? Here’s a step-by-step guide to help get you started with Paid Stumbles successfully.

Start that New Campaign

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Since you will have a piece of content ready for promotion, here are your fist steps:

  • Enter the URL of your content right in the first text box conveniently labeled “Enter the URL”.
  • (Pro tip add tracking elements to the URL through the Google URL builder, Add the name of your project to the next text box. The name will just help you to distinguish which project is which, so if you are testing a few different target markets than just note that in the Campaign name.

Target that New Campaign

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Here is the fun part of doing this, besides watching your earned Stumbles go through the roof. Speak to the client or your project manager and devise an extensive customer profile, this way filling out the targeting section will be a breeze.

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Pro-tip: To earn stumbles – target your audience as specifically as possible, while monitoring the total amount of viewers.

Targeting Options:

  • Audience
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Device

All of these should be a no-brainer. However, when it comes to choosing device targeting, it’s important to consider whether or not your content is responsive. If it is – great, target all devices. If it isn’t – well, then maybe don’t check off mobile/tablet. (Note: Mobile friendly content is important, that’s how we survived Mobilegeddon.)

There are two ways to target Interests, by interest bundles and by specific interest. I prefer to target by specific interest because bundles work well for a more general promotion.

  • Specific Interests: You can sift through bundles to find unique categories that fit your audience, or enter them yourself. (Pro-tip: You can find similar interests within the bundles to add more targeting options to your campaign)
  • Bundled Interests: This is a great option if you have a mass-market appeal and all audiences will be interested in your content.

As you add targeted interests, you will see the them added to the Campaign Review and also see the needle moving on your reach-o-meter (that is what I have started calling it). You will see that I have targeted Females in New York ages 21-35, that are interested in Real Estate and Interior Design  for any device. That would put the reach at just 1% of the total StumbleUpon audience. That is being very specific so be sure your content will resonate well with that demographic. (Note – StumbleUpon suggests you “build a bigger audience, and have a more successful campaign” but I have found that by targeting the audience with a well-established customer profile will garner the best results, however large or small the reach percentage.)

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If you feel like you need to expand your audience, and then check out StumbleUpon recommended interests. (See image above). These interests are related to the interests you have already selected, but be cautious that you’re choosing interests related to your customer profile.

Money and Time

We’re in the home stretch of your campaign set up. We are going to focus on budget and campaign length.

Budget: Spend is the pace at which the budget will be spent; Evenly or ASAP (As Soon As Possible). I seldom choose to spend the daily budget ASAP unless I feel the budget is large enough to last the day and my audience is under 5% or it is a very time sensitive campaign and I want to stay on top of a current trend that is happening. Mostly I will spend evenly  so that Stumblers are seeing content that appears native to their interests.

You’ll have the option to choose engaged visitors only when it comes to setting your price per stumble. An engaged visitors is a StumbleUpon user that sees your page and doesn’t leave your content until after spending four seconds with your content. I like to pay the extra to make sure people that are seeing my content are at least giving it the four second chance it deserves before paying for it. Well worth the extra pennies if you ask me.

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Campaign Flight

Schedule a start and an end date and your campaign is complete. StumbleUpon now will take the driver seat and show your content.

Earned Is Better

Earning a visit happens when users that visit your content thumbs up or share your content on or from StumbleUpon. The more people that do, the more you earn. I have seen it happen both on the second day of the campaign and over 1,500 earned visits appear weeks after the campaign has ended.

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You can track paid and unpaid visits after you launch your campaign:

  • Paid visits: are views of your content that you pay StumbleUpon to show to people.
  • Unpaid visits: these only show on that dashboard when you have selected to pay only for “engaged visits.” Unpaid visits mean users did not engage with your content or stay on the page for more than four seconds.
  • (Pro Tip: When there are a high percentage of unpaid visits, I like to review my content and make sure I am either targeting the content to the right interests or that the content is visually connecting to those I am targeting. Four seconds is not very long and there may be an opportunity to change the image above the fold to better engage the StumbleUpon audience).

After a campaign has run for about a week, I will run a URL report to see how each interest category is rating the content, who is visiting, and how long they are staying on the page. If the campaign is set to run for a few weeks, I optimize the campaign by interest group, age, gender or location at least one time.

Now the campaign is running, has been optimized and is (hopefully) earning visits to lower your average cost per visit. Setup a campaign (there is no minimum budget) and let me know how it goes.