In the past I have looked at many different ways to get my websites out there and to build the number of visitors. I have tried many things, from Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and a number of other Social Media avenues. However the one and only paid service I had tried up until now was Google Adsense.
It was a few days ago though that I come across the service offered by StumbleUpon named Paid Discovery. While the regular StumbleUpon is free to use and is generally driven by the users and their interest in specific websites. The Paid Discovery option takes the approach of putting a sponsored result in every so often. So I thought why not try the service and see how it performs.
The site that I decided to try for this trial was my Travel Blog www.joelbrown.com.au. This to me seemed like a good potential for the sort of people that may be using StumbleUpon.
Getting Started with StumbleUpon
Ultimately getting start with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery is relatively easy. However was a little more time consuming then I would have liked. However this is more due to the time that I started then anything. On sign up all you need is your Email, a Password and acceptance of the Terms and Conditions. Next you will receive a confirmation email which you need to click the link to confirm your account.
After the email confirmation you are taken straight to the campaign creation stage. At this point you select the web page which should be displayed for the campaign, and set a budget. The budget can be set in either unique visitors per day or $ per day. From what I can tell it needs to be a minimum of $1 per day, however I could be wrong, and you may be able to set lower limits later on.
The next step in creating your campaign is making a decision on audience, this is something that you do not have to make any decisions on if you do not want to. The Interests or categories for your campaign can be left to Auto-optimized which will result in the best options being selected for you. Again you can also choose to select Demographics for your campaign or there is also an Auto-optimized option here (which from my experience includes everyone). Finally your daily budget, which also includes an option to set serving priority which I will discuss shortly. Plus the ability to set a start and end date for your campaign.
The final step in getting started is adding funds. You can do this with a Credit Card directly on the StumbleUpon website, or through paypal. There is an option for a coupon code, however I do not really know if this is really that available or not.
This was the step that I ran into the problem. I went through getting my account all set up and it really only took about 10 minutes from initial sign up to having credit in my account.
The problem was that new campaigns are really only approved during business hours, week days. So my setting up the new account at would have been early morning Saturday in the US, meant that I had to wait a little over two days for the campaign to be approved. This was a slight annoyance, however in the scheme of things not a big issue. Unless you are working with timely information that you want to get out for people to see.
There is really no way to get around the approval, which is a good thing in my opinion. If paid submissions are being made to a social medium, then it is best to ensure they are actually going to be a valuable addition.
Once your campaign is approved though there are some changes that can be made without requiring further approval, however at this stage I am not sure what these are. I was able to change the Age Demographic and remove one interest without a new approval being needed, however exactly what may need approval for changes I am not sure.
As mentioned earlier, there is a serving priority option when you are setting your budget. Here you get three options on the priority that you campaign gets over other paid campaigns. The three levels are Highest, Normal and Lowest. These three options are what determines your cost per visitor, and are priced at 25cents/10cents/5cents. Accordingly, from highest to lowest.
Each options comes with some additional form of benefit for the additional cost, however from what I can see the best option so choose is normal. By using the Lowest option you lose the advanced reporting, which I will talk about in a moment, however is what I believe is the most important part of StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. While choosing the Highest option you do pay more, but you get the highest priority for display to potential users, that are the most engaged.
I am still not entirely sure on the definition of what an engaged user is. I have searched through the help but it still eludes me. So for the time being I am happy to stick with the normal option to get the reporting.
To me the this is almost the best part of the service. It was not something that I was expecting at the outset, however today after just one day of results it is proving to be a good tool.
The information you can see in the reports covers seven different categories including topic, gender, age range, device, state, country and date. The usefulness of different reports will depend on which ways you are targeting visitors. The more defined your demographics for a campaign are the less useful the general statistics will be for you. However they can be very useful if you are not sure where to start.
A little example might be if you create a website on skateboarding and it is included in the sports interest category for display. If you did not know exactly what demographics to use you could let the campaign run for a couple of days and look at the reports to see how to better focus your campaign.
You may look at the gender report first and see that males will spend an average of 3 minutes at your site but the female visitors are only visiting on average 10 seconds. However you had 50 females arrive through your campaign but only 20 males. You could use this information to better focus your campaign.
With the same example if you looked at the Age Range report, you may see that you are getting a lot of visitors from age ranges that are 36-45 and above however they are only staying for a few seconds. While the visitors from the age range 18-25 are staying a few minutes. You can again use this to refine your age group target.
While most of the reporting is fairly basic compared to some of the reporting tools you can find and use online. It is powerful enough to give you information that you can use to more focus on your target market.
My Future with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
Ultimately at this stage, it is to early to say just how well this is going to work for me, or if my choice of sites is going to work well. This is something that only time will tell. I am prepared to give it a reasonable trial to see just how it will work. So far that is going to be about ten days, however depending on this initial results I will see about extending this maybe out to a month.
I have been able to look at the reporting which shows the results or the first day, and at this point the quality of the visitor is not there really, the average time on site was just 10 seconds. However when you look closer at the reports, I have been able to make one or two changes to the campaign which will help me focus a little more and will fine tune this over the coming days and see where things are at then.
I would be interested to here your reports on success or failure with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. Please drop a comment below and share your experience.