Posted August 22, 2011 2:10 pm by with 4 comments

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StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp, was all a Twitter on Friday when he got the news that StumbleUpon now drives 50% of all social media referral traffic in the US. The added bonus, they crawled up over Facebook to do it.

Here’s a chart that proves it:

Hmmm. . . interesting. It may be true that numbers (and social media CEO’s) don’t lie, but they have been known to bend the truth. In this case, I think we’re comparing apples and tomatoes, so the numbers aren’t really what they seem.

People go to Facebook to do a lot of things. They catch up with friends, post photos, play games, join groups and share links.

At StumbleUpon, people only go to do one thing — share links. All of the favoriting and friending at SU is all designed to lead the user back to stumbling (ie, the process browsing through a random list of URLs). So even if SU has fewer members than Facebook, it doesn’t matter because they’re entire raison d’être is link sharing.

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I’m not trying to take anything away from StumbleUpon. I like them and I believe they’re on the rise again, but these figures are like saying more people watch video on YouTube than on Facebook. I don’t even think of SU as a social network. It’s a highly sophisticated bookmarking site whose competitors are Digg and Reddit, not Facebook.

Having said all of that, I still recommend the use of StumbleUpon for pure traffic generation to your websites and blogs. A large amount of referred visitors aren’t going to convert but if you get one new customer out of it, it was worth the few moments it took to post the link.

And congrats StumbleUpon, no matter how you quantify it, it’s clear that you’re on an upswing and that’s good news all around.

  • When you say “I still recommend the use of StumbleUpon” you mean placement of the networking button on your content?

  • “It’s a highly sophisticated bookmarking site whose competitors are Digg and Reddit, not Facebook.”

    I think you raise a good point. Social bookmarking sites are designed solely for the sharing of links. Facebook does that and then some. However, I think that investing in a social bookmarking strategy to promote your content can be incredibly useful and valuable.

  • I’m not really sure this really changes anything…. I asked 5 of my friends who I would consider an average computer user if they knew what StumbleUpon was, and none of them had heard about it.

  • Joe

    Something else we might be seeing is that friends that are influencers seem to be sharing stumbleupon links on twitter and facebook. i’ve noticed a heavy uptick in my own circles recently and i’m not entirely sure why. personally i barely use stumbleupon, but as a marketer when i create content i try to get it to go everywhere, stumbleupon is really good for aiding in that goal.