My Experience With StumbleUpon Paid Ads

StumbleUpon logoStumbleUpon is known by most website owners and bloggers as one of the best sources of free traffic available. However, SU also offers paid traffic and it’s advertising program is a lot different than other alternatives.

With StumbleUpon you can pay $0.05 per visitor and you can choose to target visitors that have selected certain topics, such as web development or blogging, as some of their interests. You can also target visitors by their age, sex and location if you wish.

The interesting part of the program is that your paid traffic can lead to even more free traffic. If some of those visitors that you have paid for give your page a thumbs up, it could spread just like any other page submitted to StumbleUpon and lead to hundreds or even thousands of free visitors.

This potential for extra free traffic encouraged me to give StumbleUpon’s advertising a chance (it’s the only type of paid advertising that I’ve done for this site so far). StumbleUpon has consistently been one of the top sources of traffic for my blog so I thought I would see if I could increase traffic to a few specific blog posts that haven’t gotten much from SU.

For each of the blog posts listed below I spent $10 for 200 visitors. Here’s a summary of my results:

#1 – Blog post promoted: 89 Community Sites for Webmasters
The StumbleUpon ad campaign ran on September 5th.

– Received 3 thumbs up
– Received 0 thumbs down
– Total StumbleUpon traffic to date – 591 visitors.
– StumbleUpon traffic prior to campaign – 94 visitors.
– StumbleUpon traffic during/after campaign – 497 visitors.

#2 – Blog post promoted: 10 Tips to Make Your Blog Posts More Del.icio.us
The StumbleUpon ad campaign ran on September 10th.

– Received 0 thumbs up
– Received 1 thumbs down
– Total StumbleUpon traffic to date – 249
– StumbleUpon traffic prior to campaign – 74
– StumbleUpon during/traffic after campaign – 175 (Google Analytics shows less than the 200 visitors I ordered)

#3 – Blog post promoted: Give Your Linkbait a Boost
The StumbleUpon ad campaign ran on October 15th.

– Received 2 thumbs up
– Received 3 thumbs down (ouch)
– Total StumbleUpon traffic to date – 458 visitors.
– StumbleUpon traffic prior to campaign – 184 visitors.
– StumbleUpon during/traffic after campaign – 274 visitors.

In total for the 3 campaigns I paid $30 for 600 visitors. During and after the campaigns I received a total of 946 visitors, 346 more than I paid for. The total of 946 visitors for $30 comes out to just over $0.03 per visitor.

My Conclusions:

The traffic that comes from StumbleUpon tends to be of lower quality than through other advertising methods like pay-per-click, although at $0.03 per visitor it’s also much cheaper. I have to admit that I’m not blown away by the results of the SU campaigns. I tend to get more SU traffic, and probably higher quality visitors, with natural and unpaid methods. Sure, not every blog post will draw significant traffic from StumbleUpon, but for many of my posts SU is the #1 source of traffic.

I think it’s very possible to do much better with StumbleUpon ads than I did with these 3 campaigns. The problem for me is that those posts that are going to be of interest to SU users are already generating traffic and thumbs up naturally, and those that aren’t generating that kind of traffic aren’t going to be of much interest even by paying for some traffic.

My opinion after running these 3 small campaigns is that SU ads are probably a good choice if your website or blog is not currently getting traffic from StumbleUpon or if you do not have SU users who regularly visit your site. In this situation it may be a great method to start to get some attention from StumbleUpon users and you may receive far more traffic than you are paying for. However, if you are already getting a good bit of traffic from StumbleUpon, I would recommend focusing on ways to maximize the natural, and free, traffic. That being said, I’ll probably experiment with SU ads again in the future since it is such a low cost advertising option.

If you have any experience with StumbleUpon ads please share in the comments.

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