StumbleUpon: Interesting Results Examined

Last week I published a post that did pretty well with a few social media sites, but I saw some interesting results from StumbleUpon that I thought were worth sharing. I normally don’t send pages to my StumbleUpon friends through the SU toolbar to ask for a thumbs up, but I did for this post and it seems like that may have restricted the amount of traffic the post received from SU.

To look at the situation I’m going to compare the stats from that post to stats from another post that had similar success with social media last month. Both posts received very similar traffic from DZone, del.icio.us, popurls, and CSS Globe.

21 Factors that Influence the First Impression of Your Website’s Visitors was published late on 11/27/07. Here are the stats for this post from November 28th & 29th:

13,638 page views

6,272 visitors from StumbleUpon

2,320 visitors from del.icio.us

839 visitors from popurls


591 visitors from DZone

187 visitors from CSS Globe

It’s impossible to tell how many thumbs up the post received at StumbleUpon because anything that receives more than 50 thumbs up just shows 50. This post does show 50, and there are 13 reviews with thumbs up.

Now, here are some stats from 22 Resources to Easily Create CSS Layouts, which was published late on 12/17/07. These stats are from December 18th & 19th:

7,356 page views

1,746 visitors from del.icio.us

1,525 visitors from StumbleUpon

678 visitors from popurls

549 visitors from DZone

266 visitors from CSS Globe

This post also shows 50 thumbs up, and 12 reviews with thumbs up.

Obviously the 2nd post received a few less reviews (and no way to tell how many less thumbs up) than the first post, but the numbers are not that far off. However, it only received about 25% of the traffic that the 1st post received in the same amount of time. Of course there are other factors involved that are being accounted for here, such as when the thumbs up and reviews came.

I can’t say for sure, but I believe the StumbleUpon algorithm saw that I shared this post with several friends, which influenced how many thumbs up it got, and as a result SU sent less traffic. I have read from a few different bloggers who have said that sending a page to your friends will result in less traffic than if the thumbs up come naturally, but I hadn’t seen results quite like this for myself.

Personally, I’m pretty happy with the traffic from StumbleUpon even if it was less than it could have been. If I hadn’t shared the post with friends who knows how many thumbs up it would have received? I don’t think this will prevent me from sharing other posts with friends in the future, but I do think it will discourage me from doing so when I am hoping for big results from SU.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Or a different experience?

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21 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Karen Zara, December 27, 2007

    Steven, I get more and more disappointed at you. First you removed do-follow from your blog; then you shared a link with some SU friends of yours and didn’t include me in the list. Tsk, tsk, tsk… Bad, bad guy! :-P

    I have never used the “Send to” feature for self-promotion, so I can’t give you any input on this. But this got me thinking… I had already read about possible issues regarding links sent to friends, but I never took this too seriously until I found your post. Still the truth is that we just don’t have a way to know for sure what happened. It could have been just a coincidence.

    If you want to get around this, send links to your SU friends via email. More time-consuming but apparently less risky. Anyway, if I were you I wouldn’t feel discouraged just yet. As I said above (and you admitted on your article), we can’t say for sure whether the link sharing had something to do with your results or not. And I think it’s very important to emphasise this. Otherwise, we’ll probably see some bloggers getting alarmed by your post and promptly claiming on their blogs that they will never ever share links with SU friends again, because they don’t want to risk being “penalised” by SU algorithms.

    When I have the chance I’ll try to run a SU experiment based on your conclusions and see what happens. :)

  • Vandelay Design, December 27, 2007

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for your feedback. You’re absolutely right, I have no way of knowing what the exact reasons are, but I did find it interesting that so many factors were the same and the traffic from SU was so much less. I have never tried to figure out how the algorithm works, and I have no desire to. I give a thumbs up to pages that I like and I hope that others do the same for my articles when they find something useful. That’s about it. Let me know what types of results you get if you share some of your pages with others. Yes, I agree about the email suggestion. I have done that before from time to time, and I’m sure I will in the future.

  • Dustin Coates, December 27, 2007

    While I don’t have any specific experience with the Send To feature, I have seen several places (and noticed myself) that SU may have a tendency to dampen the effect of the thumbs-up and if you’ve thumbed up the site multiple times before. This may be what happened with you–surely your friends have given your content a thumbs-up before, whereas perhaps the people who gave your post a thumbs-up early on with the other post haven’t done so before on one of your posts?

    I don’t know how much of an effect that might have had, if any, but perhaps that could be a reason as well?

  • david, December 27, 2007

    Now I see why the SU effect was so low for one of my stumbled page!

  • Vandelay Design, December 27, 2007

    Dustin,
    I think that’s a really good point that wasn’t mentioned. I do believe that it helps to have thumbs up and reviews from people who haven’t given your site a thumbs up, and I think this may have been a factor.

    David,
    So it’s not only me.

  • pablopabla, December 27, 2007

    You can always count on me to give a thumbs up when you write one of those power packed and resource filled posts. You don’t even have to ask me for it :D

  • Andrew, December 27, 2007

    That really does proove that Stumbleupon are good short term traffic but then drops off rapidly. Thats some good results for delicious. Nice comparisons.

  • Tay - Super Blogging, December 28, 2007

    I don’t really use the option of sending my pages to my contacts, but this information might come in handy. StumbleUpon has a bit more of a complicated algorithm than some others do, so this is nice to know. However, I do agree with you – this shouldn’t stop anyone from sending their pages to their friends, because otherwise those people might not see it at all! :)

  • Diana13, December 28, 2007

    I have a little explanation for you. As you can see, the first article was discovered by AdTracker. The second was discovered by Someone. Every time when your article will be discovered by “someone” you will receive less traffic, because there was no Buzz generated (Buzz is a feature that displays new & popular pages in your chosen topics.). And “Someone” means that that member has stumbled too many pages from your blog. For this not to happened, that “Someone” must to stumble other pages between yours.

  • luukmuu, December 28, 2007

    the number of visitor is amazing!one day I will have the number like that.Good blog

  • Diana13, December 28, 2007

    Well, if I think well, I don’t know if it’s necessarily about Buzz, but the rest of explanation are true.

  • Ruchir, December 28, 2007

    What you can do is send the page to your SU friends AFTER the traffic to that post from SU has kind of died down…

    And it might not be because of the fact that you shared the post with your SU friends, it might also be because the stumblers who gave a thumbs up to 2nd post might not have as much “power” as the stumblers who gave a thumbs up to the 1st post…

    Friend reviews and thumbs up don’t really equate to a nice amount of traffic though. I have 100+ friends on SU and once I went gung-ho and shared the post with all of them…In the end it got a decent amount of reviews and thumbs up but not as much traffic…

  • Vandelay Design, December 28, 2007

    Diana,
    That’s a good point. Thanks for mentioning.

    Ruchir,
    I actually am planning on doing an experiment with an older post to see how much traffic that method will generate. Stay tuned. You’re right about friend reviews and thumbs up seeming to bring less traffic. I think that is abig factor.

  • Brown Baron, December 28, 2007

    Anytime you need a thumbs up, just send it to me buddy.

  • Vandelay Design, December 29, 2007

    Brown Baron,
    Thanks for the offer. Let me know if I can help you.

  • does anybody know whether thumbs-up from SU ad campaign are discounted?