Selling Art Online – Pt 13 – StumbleUpon

StumbleUponOut of all the social-communities to which I belong, StumbleUpon, or SU as it is known, generates by far the largest amount of traffic to my central storefront. With a user base of over 25 million at the time of this writing, one has to wonder what will happen as the site continues to grow in membership. The service is quite unique in its functionality compared to the other social-networks with which I have experimented but the results have been fairly impressive.

StumbleUpon is more technically being described as a discovery or recommendation engine that finds and delivers content to its users based upon their uniquely specified tastes and interests using peer-sourcing and social-networking principles. StumbleUpon uses a process known as collaborative filtering to combine user choices with service-learned user browsing preferences. What is interesting about this is that your choice of people to follow within the community influences the genres of web sites that are shown when you browse via StumbleUpon. Because of this, one can recommend their own pages to the community as well. Every time I finish posting a new painting, I add it to StumbleUpon and appropriately tag it so the image will be presented to StumbleUpon members who are interested in artistic content.

As with any social-network, the timing of posts, shares, or recommendations is very important. According to StumbleUpon research from April 2011:

  • Stumbling increases very quickly in the morning commute hours, and mobile plays a big part in that during this time, mobile stumbling is 70% higher than the daily mobile stumbling average.
  • There is an inverse relationship between what gets stumbled during work hours and what gets stumbled in the evening. Some of the most popular topics during work hours are Cars, Technology, and Health. Some of the most popular topics stumbled at night are Relationships and Philosophy.
  • Users stumble at work only 20% less than off the clock. But users still stumble once every 3 minutes on average while at work.

Based upon the premise that “people don’t purchase items which they don’t know exist,” increasing traffic to your website is of the highest importance and that is exactly what StumbleUpon can accomplish. Adding your site or pages to the StumbleUpon system and encouraging members of the community to give them a “Thumbs-Up” will increase their presence in the StumbleUpon randomization engine. The better the pages are ranked, the more frequently they will appear.

Obviously, just adding your page to the StumbleUpon community isn’t going to make it an instantaneous success but it is the first step one needs to take in order to reach that goal. StumbleUpon expects you to maintain an active presence in their community and there are a few things you can do to achieve that. You can be active by discovering web sites, reviewing them, and by giving each site a “Thumbs-Up” or “Thumbs-Down.” StumbleUpon’s randomization engine suggests your discoveries to its users based upon the activity of your account so being an active member will definitely aid in increasing the presence of your own pages in the community.

After submitting a page to StumbleUpon, the service tests the popularity of your submission by driving a few users to your content. If your submitted page receives favorable response from these users, it will be suggested to many more. Requesting a “Thumbs-Up” from your friends in the community within the first days of submission can really aid in increasing the content’s exposure.

Obviously, as with any social-networking site, it is necessary to develop a network of followers and friends. By following members of the StumbleUpon community and allowing information to be shared with them, you are taking a great step toward further promoting your products and pages. Creating a base of friends within the community with whom one can share their page submissions increases the probability that new content will receive viewer approval and therefore increased StumbleUpon exposure.

For example, I once posted a completed painting to Fine Art America on a Sunday morning and immediately added it to the StumbleUpon system. I then posted a link about it on Twitter and then Facebook. Within two days the image had been viewed 1985 times. Out of those 1985 times, Google Analytics showed that the page had been navigated to from StumbleUpon 987 times, from Twitter 376 times, and from Facebook 76 times. The remaining 546 visitors originated from within Fine Art America where the image was posted. As you can see, StumbleUpon generated an incredible amount of traffic compared to the other social-networking sites. Interestingly, the original sold within a day of posting and was purchased by a StumbleUpon user. Although this obviously doesn’t happen with every painting I post, StumbleUpon is still one of the highest traffic generators of all the networking sites which I utilize.

StumbleUpon, like many other social-networking sites, also allows you to include a badge or link on your web site, blog, or other Internet presence which can help notify viewers of your StumbleUpon profile and can encourage users to recommend your content.

Are you utilizing StumbleUpon as a marketing tool for your products or artwork? If so, provide any additional tips you have discovered in the comments section below so the rest of the creative community can benefit from your experiences.

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Comments (3)
  • Owen Watson May 5, 2014

    Thanks for the great insight!

  • Florian July 16, 2014

    StumbleUpon is a marketing tool that’s often glanced over in favor of the more obvious Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest options, but it might be worth it to give it a try.

    • Ken Powers July 17, 2014

      Yes Florian. I agree that StumbleUpon is often overlooked. I am also unsure of its long-term viability but it is certainly worth experimenting with. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

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