When you think of social media, you probably find your mind wander to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Quora, YouTube, and maybe even Pinterest. They are the "traditional" social networking platforms that connect us. They were some of the social platforms that turned online communication into a whole new deal. Not only were they revolutionary, but also you can attribute them to what made the concept popular, despite earlier social websites like Myspace or Friendster.
These days, social sharing via the web is a regular part of our lives. Whether it is through links, embedded videos, or just status updates. When was the last time you did not access any social account for three days at a stretch? Chances are, most of you don't even go 24 hours without checking your profiles.
Naturally, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to socialize search engines. Which is exactly what StumbleUpon has done. While the StumbleUpon audience might be smaller than some of the bigger players, it is big enough, and engaged enough, for the ecommerce player to take note.
How StumbleUpon Works
The idea is to introduce the user to new websites they have probably never seen before. Upon signup, you are asked to select five or more categories that you are interested in. Among others, the topics include art, fashion, fitness, cooking, family, and movies.
Based on your interest, StumbleUpon will show you different websites you might like every time you hit the Stumble button. If you like the website, you can say so. If not, you can say that as well. By telling the engine what you did and didn't enjoy, it is able to establish a pattern. Through this new information, it will start tailoring what it shows you.
Of course, the above description is how you would use the site as a consumer. There is another system in place for business owners. It is called Paid Discovery, and it puts your site into the pool to show users interested in your niche. For example, if you sell clothing, StumbleUpon would provide your site as a random result to people who like fashion.
This isn't a great marketing tool for those who have local businesses that have no real online focus. But for an ecommerce website, it is a fantastic means of expanding your reach, targeting a new pool of consumers, and possibly reaching a demographic.
Unlike other sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, your success is not dependent on the reach you already have. You don't have to go looking for anyone, and you don't have to push for better promotion if you want to increase traffic. Instead, it promotes your site randomly, based on the plan you purchase.
The pricing is per visitor. So you only pay for what you receive. You can choose between three options:
- Light targets by interest, location, and demographic information. Then, it provides a basic reporting system. It is the first stage, and aimed more at beginners who just want to increase traffic to their website.
- Standard has the same targeting system as "Light" but it is given priority status for search results. Compatible with both web and mobile, "Standard" comes with the full reporting service, including site performance, and website quality scoring. Aimed more at established brands who are trying to grow their online presence.
- Premium has all the "Standard" features, plus top priority results in the content stream. This one is better for product launches from established brands.
All plans are between $0.05 and $0.25 per visitor. While that seems a little high, several ecommerce players have reported that the quality of traffic from StumbleUpon, in terms of conversions, is very high.
StumbleUpon provides a unique mechanism of social sharing. With an innovative idea that offers something exciting for the consumer, and yet something helpful to the business owner, it is a treasure for ecommerce professionals.
Given its potential, you should throw your hat into the ring, and at the very least perform a serious test. Chances are that you will find StumbleUpon a great way to promote your business, drive traffic, and increase your online presence.