Social discovery engine StumbleUpon has been a major driver of traffic for many websites for a while now, particularly interest-specific sites (like those run by affiliates). But for some reason, its full potential as an online advertising tool has never really been exploited. StumbleUpon, of course, wasn’t content with this, which is why it has given its Paid Discovery ad program a bit of an upgrade to help it better compete with other social media companies like Facebook and Twitter.
Paid Discovery is a product of StumbleUpon Labs – where the company develops its new features – that promises to deliver the “right traffic” straight to a user’s website or content without making users click ads or links to get there. It guarantees 100 percent engagement 100 percent of the time – a lofty claim, indeed.
Affiliates simply have to submit their desired URL to Paid Discovery and target the users they want by selecting specific demographics and interests. Then, they’ll be able to reach a new and larger audience (StumbleUpon users currently stumble over 1 billion pages a month as a collective) that is actively seeking content in their specific field or fields. StumbleUpon will even highlight the most engaging content directly and frequently.
StumbleUpon Paid Discovery comes in three different pricing plans. The Standard plan for those looking to engage their target audience costs 10 cents per engaged visitor and offers priority serving in content streams, targeting (by interest, location, demographics and device), advanced reporting features and integration with Google Analytics. After that is the Premium plan, which costs 25 cents per engaged user and offers most of the same features (except for device-specific targeting), as well as guaranteed top serving priority in content streams. And for marketers looking to make more of an impact, the program also offers an option for a customizable plan.
The benefit for affiliate marketers should be clear. By submitting their affiliate sites to StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery program, they will be able to drive some of the most relevant traffic on the Web in a way that feels organic to the visitors. These users are going to be more likely to engage with a site and click on ads, because they were specifically targeted to stumble upon that site’s content.
Since Paid Discovery intentionally works like a typical organic stumble for the end user, especially considering that paid pages are inserted in a user’s stumble trail in-between other actually organic results, it helps affiliates attract relevant visitors based on their interests. The downside is that although the clicks are relatively inexpensive (when compared to, say, Google AdWords), the visitors are also less focused on conversions when they arrive, meaning affiliates will have to make sure they create engaging content that will hold their interest and keep them on the site.
Though new changes to the ad system are primarily cosmetic, marketers are given an improved way to view and manage their account activity. This includes a new dashboard, a consolidated graph for campaign information and options for both active and archived campaigns.
If you haven’t looked at StumbleUpon yet as a way to improve the relevancy of the traffic to your affiliate site, now may be the time to do it as the company makes some changes to the program. After all, it’s easier to engage interested users that are sent directly to your websites or content than it is to try to get them to click on your website first from an organic SERP, so the investment could very well be worth it in the long run.