What You Can Learn From Getting Stumbled on StumbleUpon
Have you ever been stumbled?
What Is Stumbled?
“Stumbled” is a term associated with the social news & bookmarking site StumbleUpon. It means that your site/link has been shared and then rated. It can mean that one person submitted and rated your site, however its often used to mean a major traffic spike that is caused by someone with a lot of followers on StumbleUpon sharing it.
StumbleUpon is one of the big players in social media and I’ve been doing a lot more with them since I picked up a pair of ebooks that I will soon have available (one is free, one is not). Anyways, because of paying it more attention, I saw something today I had to share.
Where I First Saw It
I log into my Google Analytics (& Webmaster Tools) pretty regularly to track changes, make notes, watch for abnormalities etc. Google Analytics should have been one of the first things you set up when you set up your blog as it is pretty well the reigning king of analytics & stats. (I also use wordpress.com stats plugin however that’s a raw data count and definitely not as comprehensive. I know some of you are using StatPress and due to the big mess that makes of the blog database I really have grown to dislike encountering that plugin.)
Disregard the 4 days of flat-line in Analytics… I accidentally left my analytics plugin (All-In-One Webmaster) deactivated after an upgrade, oops!
See the peak two days ago? Holy WTF batman! So I set out to inquire what happened because unlike prior peaks, I couldn’t think of anything I’d done to trigger that.
Drilling Down For Answers
Time to investigate! I set the time-line to only focus on that day (June 11th 2010 – June 11th 2010) so that I could see what happened.
Normally my traffic is almost equal split between direct, referred and search engine. This huge slice of blue was my first clue to check the sources!
StumbleUp Traffic Dominated My Daily Traffic!
Under Top Traffic Sources you see that StumbleUpon accounted for 64% of my traffic that day. Hmmm… Time to dig deeper!
Here we see the meat and bones of what happened!
The traffic coming from StumbleUpon all came from three related links and are essentially the same source. The middle link tells me exactly which post was involved, the bottom one tells me that one visitor was running StumbleUpon’s toolbar, and that all of the rest were “Stumbling” and sharing the link internally.
Yeah, But What Does It Do For Me?
Alright, so now we know where the traffic came from and where it went… but we still haven’t talked about business. I promised we were going to learn something and I want to show you a bit of reality that wasn’t a particularly fun lesson.
Scroll back (back three images) to the last big Analytics picture and look at “Average Time On Site“…. 0:16….. OUCH! (For reference, depending on the month, I average about 2:00 minutes time on site and sometimes higher than that.)
What do we know from this (and the lack of new comments & opt-ins generated by that traffic that analytics doesn’t show)?
We know that I have a STRONG headline (because it got clicks)… but, the internal copy FAILS when viewed in light of the StumbleUpon viewers.
While the copy was suitable for my typical tribe & blogging community, as soon as search engine/social traffic hit the page we went from WIN to FAIL.
I’m going to tell you why: The copy was too long, too wordy, too poorly spaced/highlighted/bolded, too rambling… and lacked any sort of pop-up to get in their face before they skimmed and left. Popups are tricky business and can run off your regular readers but they are vital in the game of capturing opt-ins from this type of traffic (same with twitter direct traffic).
Is the article itself a FAIL? No.
The article was wrote for my “local” community and served its purpose. It gave the whole story and provided all the resources needed. However, because it was not designed with the “greater” community in mind, the minute it got traffic from there… a lot of its pluses became negatives. Would I change this post? No, the post did its job well for the target audience. However, if my target audience with this post had been social mass syndication… well… the splash of cold water in the face would be driving me to make some major changes!
You must, must, must, must (!!!) always know who your target audience is – PRECISELY – and design your blog, your marketing, and your writing with that exact audience in mind!
Now you should have a better understanding of why targeting your writing to your audience is business-critical and how to evaluate sudden traffic spikes from social media using Google Analytics. I appreciate you sharing it with others (and stumbling it!) and I look forward to your thoughts, questions and ideas below!