In the ever-expanding galaxy of places to devote your social media marketing time, there are the frontrunners, and those that often take a back seat. We talk a lot here about Facebook and Twitter, so today we’re going to take a look at the popular but sometimes overlooked site, StumbleUpon. Specifically, we’re going to talk about how to speed up traffic increases from StumbleUpon using their Paid Discovery service.

Wait, what is StumbleUpon exactly?

StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site and content discover tool. The community is made up of stumblers who stumble various webpages and internet content and connect with other community members. The community boasts over 25 million users, and generates over 1 billion page referrals per month. StumbleUpon offers both a web interface and a mobile app.

Dedicated marketers can be very successful at driving traffic to websites, social media pages, and online content using StumbleUpon for free, so it’s organic abilities are not to be discounted. To learn more about how to use StumbleUpon in general, check out Mashable’s truly outstanding beginners’ guide.

Why try StumbleUpon Paid Discovery?

While StumbleUpon can be a powerful tool when used well, many small business marketers are already overcommitted on social networks. Maintaining sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ can take up a lot of time (less if you use Pagemodo Posts, or course). So if you find that you don’t have the hours to devote to StumbleUpon daily, you can skip ahead a little by using Paid Discovery.

Like many social media platforms you might be using to promote your business, StumbleUpon offers an option for advertisers. Paid Discovery is “advertising” in the sense that you can pay to get your content in front of more eyeballs and generate more leads quickly. The difference between StumbleUpon’s system and something like Facebook, is that you will not actually be creating advertisements. You are paying to have your content served up more frequently when the site’s users hit that Stumble button. This means that people are taken directly to your page, without having to click anything. And that means that you don’t have to spend any time coming up with attention-grabbing graphics and copy that fit into a pre-determined ad size. Hallelujah.

As StumbleUpon is serving up pages for stumblers to view and thumbs up/thumbs down, they reserve 5% of that content for advertisers. This is how you leapfrog the organic stumbling process a little bit and insert your content directly into the rotation or pages that pop up when a user hits Stumble.

How does Paid Discovery work?

The first step is deciding how much of your budget you want to devote to this. At first, it’s probably wise to start small and then judge the response your content is receiving. There are two options available to you: Standard ($0.10 per visitor) and Premium ($0.25 per visitor). The difference between these two seems to be “priority serving” and “top priority serving” for what it’s worth. You can see the breakdown of offerings below:

Now you’re ready to create your first campaign. You’ll start by choosing the URL you want to have served up to stumblers. This can be your website or blog, but preferably a specific piece of content like a blog post or the page of a specific product. You can add tracking code here from your third party tracking app if you have one, or just go with the basic URL.

Next you select the daily visitors you want to receive, and how much you’re willing to pay for them. The fields will dynamically update so you can get a sense of how much you’ll need to spend to receive a certain number of viewers. A good rule of thumb here is that you want to spread out your campaign a bit so you’ll get a good sample. So don’t blow your whole budget over a day or two of high volume.

After that, it’s time for the really fun part; targeting your campaign. Take a minute to think about the kinds of people you are trying to attract. What are they like? What are their interests? If you’ve created a user profile of your ideal customer, refer to that. Then choose your targeting parameters. You have the option to select interest bundles like “artists and creatives” or “business professionals”, or you can use precise targeting and associate your content with things like “photography” and “entrepreneurship”. After that, you can choose to target specific demographics, or let StumbleUpon auto-generate them for you.

Next you’ll choose how you’d like to pay. You’ll need to load funds into your StumbleUpon account and draw down from that as you activate campaigns. You can choose to pay with a credit card, or through a PayPal account.

All that’s left is to submit your campaign for approval! Once you do this, the good folks at StumbleUpon will take a look and make sure everything is correct and appropriate, and you’ll receive an email saying whether or not you’ve been approved.

Once your campaign period has ended, you can return to StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery dashboard and check out your advanced analytics to see things like paid visits, unpaid visits, and effective cost per visitor. Unpaid visits are really the cherry on top. These are the people who came across your site because a paid visitor found it, liked it, and shared it.

So there you have it. If you choose to give StumbleUpon Paid Discovery a try, we’d love to hear how it goes for you! Come back and drop us a line about your experience in the comments below.


About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Pagemodo. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.

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