Three Ways to Maximize Traffic with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
Ryan Park

For those less familiar with the company, Stumbleupon is a social media platform that enables people to browse interesting content with just the click of a button. Founded in 2006, the company now boasts a user base of over 25 million people, has an advertising platform that is used by over 75,000 brands, and generates more referral traffic than Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and Digg combined.1

Six months ago, I was commissioned as one of the first bloggers in Stumbleupon’s Power Blogger Program. The program gives select influential bloggers a three-month stipend to experiment with on their advertising platform, Paid Discovery. Stumbleupon describes their Paid Discovery service as follows:

Users stumble the best of the web, finding sites that reflect their interests and friends by simply hitting a button in their browsers or on their mobile devices. With Paid Discovery, your URL becomes part of that stream. The user is eager to engage with new and exciting content, making your product’s discovery a welcome experience in the eyes of a Stumbler.²

During my time as a Power Blogger, many of my posts received over 40,000 views via Stumbleupon alone; one post even hit 120,000. In turn, the Power Blogger Program taught me a lot about how to leverage Stumbleupon as a tool to drive website traffic and engagement.

The following are three ways to get the most bang for your Paid Discovery buck:

1. Leverage The Value Of Paid Discovery Campaigns.
After evaluating 95 of my Paid Discovery campaigns, I calculated the average campaign had an Effective Cost Per Visitor (eCPV) of 1.6 cents. In contrast, Search Engine Watch reports that the average 2011 Cost-Per-Click (CPC) was between $1.00-$3.00, with even higher costs in more competitive industries. What does this mean? Stumbleupon’s eCPV is calculated by dividing the total cost of the campaign by the sum of both the paid and free stumbles (a free stumble is a free visit to your page as a result of viral content). When estimating the real value of eCPV, however, consider eCPV analogous to CPC. I argue here that the two can be considered analogous because I deem a click on a link virtually synonymous with a visitor. In a side-by-side comparison, the value of Paid Discovery blows Pay Per Click advertisement out of the water. We are literally talking dollars to cents.

2. Know Their Audience: Focus Content On Popular Topics.
In my time spent interfacing with Stumbleupon’s Marketing Communication Manager, Katie Gray, I discovered that “stumblers” most frequently visit sites featuring posts about love, photography, memes, and Top 10-esque lists. Before submitting your post to Paid Discovery, consider focusing your content on these topics. Paying attention to what readers want will give your posts a better chance of going viral.

3. Use The Stumble Button Yourself.
Placing the Stumble Button on your website is an absolute must (, but that’s not enough. Like many social media platforms, virality on Stumbleupon is momentum-based. Thus, after writing a blog, use the Stumble Button to submit your post to their stream. Next, and this is key, use Stumbleupon’s sharing function to post your content on other sites like Twitter and Facebook. When sharing a link through Stumbleupon, your link will be converted into a shortened link (beginning with This link is tracked by Stumbleupon to gauge the popularity of your post. Through extensive experimentation, I’ve learned that as more people share your shortened link on sites like Twitter and Facebook, the more your content spreads on Stumbleupon.

Although Stumbleupon Paid Discovery is not a magic wand and should be considered a piece—not all—of your online strategy, combining these three tactics can yield a positive return on investment. If your goal is online ubiquity, distributing content through Stumbleupon Paid Discovery is a must. Make no mistake, if you publish relevant content and leverage Paid Discovery correctly, Stumbleupon could be your traffic-flow godsend.

Paid Discovery can be found at:

¹ Statistics for the graph and statement are available through
² Information from


Ryan Park is a social media strategist, the founder of, and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Arrae Creative in Denver, Colorado.