It's been around for years but today Stumbleupon was able to announce that they had hit 20 million "stumblers". That's quite the number of users by any standards, especially when you consider that it's just a browser plugin that helps you discover new content. We often get huge spikes of traffic from the service here on the blog but I wanted to have a closer look to figure out what value it provides as a publisher.
Stumbleupon Spike As An Example
Below is a daily traffic chart from Google Analytics for this blog for Monday of this week. As you can see at two in the morning, there is a massive spike with close to 5,000 visitors within one hour, the vast majority of them coming from Stumbleupon. The rest of the day follows a normal course but for one hour, the traffic fire hose gets turned on from Stumbleupon. This happens on a regular basis and it is always huge, fast and over before you know it.
Where it gets really interesting though is if we drill down into the traffic that has been referred from Stumbleupon. On that day alone, you can see that it's really the worst sort of traffic. You can see that the vast majority of people only come for about two seconds before leaving. The bounce rate is huge and 98 per cent of the visitors are arriving on your site for the first time.
Who Are These People?
When we ran a recent focus group with teenagers, we were surprised to find that many of them listed Stumbleupon as their favorite site. They said it was a great way of wasting time and discovering new stuff online.
It's the quickest fix you can ever get in terms of finding new and interesting things online but if you don't like what you see, you just skip onto the next site. As a publisher you want to retain your readers and come back on a regular basis but that really isn't going to happen with this audience.
Still as the old saying goes, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. There is no doubt most of it is worthless but if you pick up even one new long-term reader every time you got a spike like that, it wouldn't be the end of the world.