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StumbleUpon Launches New Social Media Brand Advertising

Posted on 3.13.2011

Content discovery engine StumbleUpon announced today the availability of a social media brand advertising platform dubbed Paid Discovery - and you are either going to love it, or hate it.

"Today's display ads fundamentally miss what is critical for brands: integrating relevant sponsored content with the intended user experience," said Garrett Camp, StumbleUpon CEO and co-founder. "With Paid Discovery, marketers and agencies can connect directly with customers interested in discovering their products and gain valuable insights into how their customers are engaging with them."

Paid Discovery recommends sponsored content to users who have expressed preference for a particular interest. What StumbeUpon has effectively done is start charging advertisers for that preference and ad priority creating a social-driven promotional paltform.

Brands of course don’t “connect directly with customers” for free. If you're a brand advertiser looking to increase awareness (and site visits) then the modest cost (discussed below) is going to be attractive. The end result however for millions of publishers distributing their content through StumbleUpon (or letting consumers spread content naturally) is that their own messages might simply be drowned out among the advertising noise. 

StumbleUpon has had a pay-per-visitor program for about as long as I can remember, but what makes the Paid Discovery offering just announced so appealing for brand advertisers, is that in addition to being able to target users by standard criteria (interest, location and demographics) which costs $0.05/per visit without much control, sponsored content from these brands can now receive priority serving ($0.10/per visit) or guaranteed top serving priority ($0.25/per visit) in content streams. And as you might imagine, you have to pay more for the privilege.

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