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Run a StumbleUpon Advertising Campaign For Your Blog

Today’s task in the 31 Day Project is aimed at driving new visitors to your blog by running a mini advertising campaign for your blog using StumbleUpon.

Note – This task will take a small budget (unless you get creative and find another website willing to give you some free advertising – which isn’t just a bad idea, perhaps you could do an ad swap with another blogger) but it need not be much. One of the methods below could drive at least 100 new visitors to your blog with just $5.

One of the things that I do from time to time is set myself a small budget for advertising my blog. I do it as a little bit of a challenge – to see what ad systems work best and more importantly to see what I can learn about branding and promotion. The bonus is that it also drives some new visitors to your blog.

Where can you advertise?

If you’re just starting out with advertising your blog I’d suggest experimenting with different types of advertising to see what works best for your blog – but today I want to suggest an easy and relatively cheap way to get started.

StumbleuponStumbleUpon – StumbleUpon is a growing social bookmarking service that is used by many people around the globe. It is a service that many bloggers target to drive organic traffic to their blog – but one that also offers a means to advertise a website upon it. StumbleUponAds allows you to submit a page on your blog to be shown to StumbleUpon users as they go Stumbling. The cost is 5 cents per impression so for as little as $5 you can have 100 SU users see your page.

The beauty of StumbleUpon is that it is relatively cheap, you don’t actually need to create an ad (just a page to send people to), that you can target your page to be shown to different categories as well as specific demographics (age, location and gender) and that you have the chance of your page being Stumbled up the rankings in SU naturally.

SU lets you set daily budgets and limits to how many impressions you want on any given campaign. The payment is via PayPal or Credit Card.

If you pick the right page to submit in this way and throw a few dollars at the campaign it is not uncommon for organic stumbling to happen and to end up with many more impressions than you paid for. The key is to pick a page that SU users will like and vote for (more on this below).

The StumbleUponAds interface gives you a report on how many people saw your site, how many voted your page up and how many voted it down. This enables you to test different pages that you want to advertise and to adapt those pages to see what different versions of it work best.


How to Make StumbleUpon Advertising Work Best

The key to making a StumbleUpon advertising campaign work for your blog is to do two main things:

1. Make Your Content Appealing to SU users to get Organic Stumbles – While 5 cents per impression isn’t that expensive (it’s a lot cheaper than some other forms of advertising) it’s more expensive than natural traffic from SU. Your goal should be to start the campaign off with paid visitors and then let the natural voting up of content take over. To do this you need to create content that is appealing to SU users. A couple of days ago I published a guest post here at ProBlogger that talked about some of the principles that draw StumbleUpon users into a site. This would be a useful starting point for designing the page that you want to advertise.

2. Make Your Page Sticky – The other way to get extra value from a StumbleUpon advertising campaign is to get the visitors who come to your blog to come back again and become loyal readers. This is one of the biggest challenges that you’ll face with advertising using any means – but particularly on a service like StumbleUpon where users have their cursor hovering over the Stumble Button ready to surf on to the next site. Of course the best way to hook someone onto your blog is to create compelling content that they can’t live without – but also consider other ways of making them loyal readers by prominently offering subscription methods, driving people deeper into a blog. Most of what I cover in my latest video post on Stickifiying Your Blog applies here.

3. Test and Tweak – The key with StumbleUpon is not to throw big money at a campaign straight away. Get your landing page/post ready and then set a small budget (a few dollars) to see what results you get. Once this is spent – do some analysis of how many people voted the post up and down. If there were more downs than ups you might want to change something about the post (title, add a picture/video, change your opening paragraph etc). Then run another small campaign to see what impact the changes have. Do this until you have a page that is consistently getting voted up and then turn up your budget a little. Keep in mind that you might only need to get a relatively small number of up votes before SU will start sending you organic traffic so be ready to pause your campaign once this starts to happen or you could waste your money.

What NOT to do

While you might think that the front page of your blog is the best page to send traffic from an Advertising campaign to – I would highly recommend that you don’t. Instead – use a single post as the landing page for your campaign. Pick a post that relates closely to the category and demographic of StumbleUpon users that you are targeting and pick a post that you could see becoming viral (whether as a result of it being entertaining, useful, controversial etc).

Give it a Go

So set yourself a budget and give StumbleUpon advertising a go. It’s actually quite fun and if you keep your budget to a reasonable level it’s not that expensive to do. You’ll drive a little traffic and hopefully learn something about the way people interact with your content through the process.

Other places to Advertise Your Blog

There are many places that will sell you advertising space for your blog. Other blogs and sites in your niche can be a good place to start but so can ad networks. Two that I’ve had some success with are BlogAds and Google AdWords. Both are worth experimenting with – but both take the same sort of ‘tweak and test’ approach as outlined above.

– (aff)

Have you tried advertising your blog? Let use know what you’ve learned about it in comments below.

Update – read my follow up to this post at More on Advertising on StumbleUpon.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I’ve recently rediscovered StumbleUpon.

    Out of the first 10 or so sites I randomly went to, I probably bookmarked at least 5.

    Because of this, I would definitely think twice about quickly exiting any web site it showed me, perhaps taking a bit more time to check it out.

    Pretty decent price for targetted traffic if you can nail the proper category down!

  2. First of all, thanks a lot to let us know such an awesome way of advertisement.
    But, one question clicked in my mind, that—can I run the campaign for one day or I have to run it for 30’days?

  3. You’ve inspired me to try it. I’ve used StumbleUpon in the past for fun, but never as an advertiser. I just set up a $5 campaign.

    Thanks for the tip on not sending them to the front page as that’s exactly what I would have done.

  4. Thanks for the tip….it’s worth a try!

  5. @sarbarth
    StumbleUpon campaigns sorta last forever because the way stumbleupon works is it sends out a lot of traffic throughout a greater period of time – small amounts throughout the year so it’s progressive traffic. The campaign is to give you immediate results, so you’re site will be stumbled and users will be taken to the site regardless of whether people stumble (vote up) your page or not. After your campaign, your site is still in the stumbleupon directory meaning that you will still get visitors regardless of whether your campaign is running or not – however the amount depends on whether users like your site and stumbled it or not, but even still you’ll receive some traffic.

  6. The best way is to ask 5 of your friends to give it the thumbs up, it will send loads of traffic if the page is a good one.

  7. Darren,

    I gotta say that’s not the best form of advertising out there – stumble upon users are trigger happy, eager to leave at the slightest whim, and won’t click on other ads on the way out.

    If you can get some traffic through adwords for 0.05 a click (hard, I know), at the very least they will likely give a good glance at your page and might click on other ads on the way out.

  8. Can’t afford any advertising budget for Stumbles? Do a little work, and get FREE stumbles with Stumble Exchange sites such as:


  9. Thanks for the tip Darren.Yesterday I had more than 200 uniques from Stumble in my blog. I will try advertising campaign.

  10. I didn’t even know StumbleUpon offered that service. If those 100 users started to organically vote up posts then it’d certainly be a clever way to advertise, but I do think you can gain a similar affect by encouraging readers to stumble at the end of your posts, either in a written sentence or by removing clutter from the area around the button.

  11. Thank you Darren. I’ve considered spending some money on a campaign with StumbleUpon, but the way SU users usually judge your site and are gone in a couple seconds, it seems like those 100 visitors might turn into 30-40 “actual” readers. That is unless of course you follow all your suggestions here and optimize it FOR stumbleupon users

  12. Wow. Did they start doing that since eBay bought them?

    This is like a white-hat way to game the viral-media system. Good stuff. Thanks!

  13. I can contest that this is a great way to get your blog initial traffic.

    On my blog, I wrote a list post titled 101 Ways To Know Your Software Project Is Doomed on the highest traffic day of the week – Monday.

    Then I took out $25 of SU ads, which brought me 500 hits. That traffic let to it getting getting on Digg. Getting on Digg, lead it to going viral. 100,000 unique visitors later I was able to capture about 500 subscribed users.

    SU is a great ad tool, but be sure that you have great content to back it as Darren implies.

  14. “But, one question clicked in my mind, that—can I run the campaign for one day or I have to run it for 30′days?”

    You can set a strict one-time limit of say $10.

  15. i’m trying this right now.. great tip.. We’l see how it goes. I’m pretty new to StumbleUpon so it might be very good for my site and i’ll see the difference right away. or not.. ;)


  16. Will this be OK with having Adsense on your blog?

  17. 5$ for 100 visits?
    Its definitely expensive.
    I rather suggest using namepros.com . They have their site currency facility and you can use that to buy stumbleupons. That can give you more traffics for 5$.

  18. Hey, I have one question darren. I hope you’ll reply it.
    Does this kind of visitors help to increase alexa ranking?

  19. I started StumbleUpon advertising on my blog a week ago, and boy is it preferable to PPC. Wish I had found it sooner.

    Pay-per-click can’t go viral, it’s vastly more expensive than 5 cents a click and it doesn’t have stumbler feedback “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. However, it’s the pay-in-advance type of page view ad. AdWords is still the only service that does PPC on credit.

  20. Huh, i wasn’t aware that StumbleUpon had a program like this! I’ll have to look into this a bit more. Thanks for the great tip!

  21. Interesting tip – like the others, I had no idea that StumbleUpon offered this. I always like to read SU tips, because I feel in the dark about that service. Thanks again!

  22. amazing post! i might just have to link back to this, loving the new theme!

  23. Next time I get a few bucks in my PayPal account I’m going to give this a try.

  24. I was thinking of stumble upon ads, I think I’ll try it now. Thanks for the tips.

  25. Darren, is this safe for Adsense? I know that part of Adsense’s terms say you can’t artificially produce traffic.

  26. The advice you give about targeting specific blog posts is very good. I used to only advertise my homepage, but have now discovered leveraging cheap adwords campaigns targeting specific blog posts.

  27. Good question, Brennan. I was warned by Google that I was having people come by artificially when I was using Blog Explosion. However, I don’t know how placing ads compares to stumbling?

  28. I have to say that I was really hung up on the term “impression” when reading this because 5 cents per impression is $50 CPM and if you all find that a good deal, I’ve got lots inventory to sell you :-) . I think “paid stumble” or “targetted stumble” or “targetted visit” or even just visitor (e.g., 5 cents per visitor) would be more clear than using establishing advertising language that has another meaning. But otherwise, that’s a good intro to a service I didn’t know about.

  29. For it to be equitable for the money some amount of organic stumbling will have to happen. I’ve signed up for a 5 dollar campaign today. It’s not a lot to pay for an interesting experiment.

    I targeted my visitors at weblogs. Anyone think there’d be a more appropriate category for a blog on creating web content? I couldn’t find one more targeted, unfortunately.

  30. OK, the campaign just finished. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to generate more organic stumbles but I’ll wait to check my subscriber count this evening to assess whether it was worthwhile. I’m going to say that each new subscriber is worth a dollar — AU ;-) — paid. If I get 6 new subscribers it will have been worth it, though it’s not something I can afford to do often.

  31. Right now my best advertising is the search engines. I’ve been getting quite a bit of traffic from them lately. I haven’t even been doing any fancy SEO tricks or anything, just writing quality posts like I always do.

    But that StumbleUpon ad campaign sounds interesting. When I get some more money in my coffers I might just try it out.

    Thanks for the advice!

  32. thanks for the information. it seems to be relatively inexpensive to implement.

  33. Hey I have a question to ask you. Is it best to put an article that is quick with lots of pictures and lists or one that has a lot to read? I would tend to think the first would be better.

  34. For $5 bucks it’s a worthwhile experiment. It’s not likely to double your traffic or anything crazy – but a few new readers and some new exposure to people who otherwise might never see your site might be worth it.

  35. SU Campaign was a waste of effort for me. They rejected 4 campaigns in the past 2 days for me. They said they didn’t have enough users based on my demographics.

    I selected Video Equipment, which they indicate has 17,000 users in that category. Then I picked M&F, Anywhere in the world, ages 18 – 50, and they still told me they didn’t have enough people. What happened to the 17,000 users?

    The rejection letters are vague and useless. I emailed back each time asking for feedback. I even wrote back asking if I could contact someone directly before I decide to write SU campaigns off completely. I have yet to hear anything back.

    I’m disappointed in SU campaigns.

  36. Great tip. I did’nt know StumbleUpon offered advertising campaigns. Now I just need some linkbait.

  37. Got the same results as Matt above. SU rejected four campaigns. Just said there were not enough users in the category. The last campaign I tried to initiate had three categories with what I understood to be about 400000 people. Internet, cyberculture, and web design. I didn’t see hardly any other categories with more than these on the whole site.
    Contacted, or tried to contact them but am yet to get some kind of explaination. Not gonna hold my breath til it comes.

  38. Great suggestions. Has anyone else tried the stumble exchange sites? I’m curious if you’ve had any luck with them.

  39. Nice suggestion. Didn’t think of to use Stumble for that purpose.

  40. I will try this first thing in the morning and see how it comes along. Thank you for a very well written article Darren!

  41. Yea ppc is a great way of generating subscribers and organic search did you say you used ppc to get more subscribers?

  42. I think that Stumbleupon can send a lot fo traffic using free ways so dont see a sense to buy it.

  43. I joined SUExchange, will see how that goes first…since its free!

  44. You do get some nice traffic from Stumbleupon, as long as you’ve built out your profile…

  45. SU is a great service, but its traffic never converts. The best you can hope is that some will bookmark you.

  46. yep stumbleupon is great :)

  47. I’ve give a try on stumble ads. Monitoring the results. Hopefully it bring me more traffics and new readers! :)

    –blog for dream–

  48. A much cheaper way is to use StumbleUdon.com. (yes, stumbleUDON, that’s not a typo)

    It is a free automated stumble exchanges.

    More info on the website :)

  49. Nice…I always thing someone have to stumble my site for it to be on stumbleupon…again, very good info.

  50. I thought I can buy ads compain on Stumble Upon only min for $25
    Where is the possibility to pay $5?

    Thanks for your help

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