I do love the word viral. It is like we are going to infect a massive audience with an infectious idea. Getting your content in front of thousands if not millions of people.
It is something we would all love to happen. Getting our content viral so it can be read by thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Not only is it great for your ego but it’s great for your site or business too.
For those that aren’t familiar with StumbleUpon yet check out the StumbleUpon about us page for how it works.
So how did I get my content to go viral?
Step 1 – Choosing Your Content
StumbleUpon readers are after a specific type of content. There are 2 types:
- It needs to offer a lot of value and even better if it’s actionable content they can do right now to get a result they are after.
- It needs to be entertaining.
It’s better if it’s both and you may notice that some categories like entertaining content more than informational and vice versa.
Some more specific examples of what I have seen that works well on StumbleUpon are:
- List posts (Top 10 lists are great)
- Informative How To (And it has to be a great one)
- Interesting Facts (Something I never knew before, make sure it is believable)
- Funny Stories (Everyone loves a good laugh)
- Wisdom (Something that makes you think differently)
- Reference Resources (A list of resources regarding a particular subject, it can be of your own articles and of others. These resources need to be fairly comprehensive, something that you would like to keep on file to look back at in the future)
Stumblers see a lot of content and they are wise enough to know what is great and what is average.
So how do you know what is going to be accepted and what isn’t.
- Take a look at the current category you want to submit to, stumble yourself and see what people are liking.
- Write an article / post and see how it goes with your list. What is getting the most shares, retweets or comments.
- You just need to give it a go and see how it goes on StumbleUpon.
It’s an art mashed with science.
Step 2 – Ensure It Is Easily Sharable
This is just a quick note to ensure that you have a Facebook Like, Twitter and of course the StumbleUpon button. Make it easy for people to share. You may find your article goes viral without any need for the next steps.
Tip – Don’t Self Submit
Besides not getting you anywhere submitted too much of your own content will get you suspended or banned from StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon does not trust many submissions on StumbleUpon unless it comes from numerous high quality users.
So how do we even test if it’s going to work? Lets move on to the next step.
Step 3 – Advertising And All The Stuff They Don’t Tell You About It
StumbleUpon offers cheap advertising for 5 cents (USD) per visitor. You can decide what category and demographic to target your campaign to.
So decide on your content and put in $10 on advertising. With $10 you will get 200 visitors. I will explain why 200 visitors is a good number in moment. So here are my results:
Please note that StumbleUpon have changed their advertising interface since this was done but the results and how this works still remains valid today.
There are 3 values to look at
Visitors – How many people have viewed your site
% liked – How many people gave it the thumbs up
% disliked – How many people gave it the thumbs down
As you can see from the above graph people who did rate the content gave it a thumbs up. Everyone else just stumbled on.
Test And Measure
To get the 100% of people who do rate thumbs up takes some testing. I advertised with 4 different pages before. These normally got 60-70% thumbs up and 40-30% thumbs down.
From what I have discovered if a page gets thumbs down in those percentages it doesn’t have a chance to go viral.
So rethink and article and test again until you get something that everyone likes.
What Do You Need To Get To Go Viral?
Well the above graph shows that
2nd November – 40 visitors – 7.5% liked
3rd November – 40 visitors – 2.5% liked
4th November – 221 visitors – 5.4% liked.
What this shows is that you need a larger number to get an average of people who will like it. So if you average all of them out you get a 5.3% average, which is quite close to the 221 visitors, so a visit count of 200 should give you enough knowledge to know what you are getting.
I then left this for almost 1 month and nothing happened. This page didn’t move at all in organic stumble upon traffic.
So then I decided to put more into this page because everyone liked it. I advertised for another 500 visits (or $25 USD)
As you can see the results jump to 11% showing that when you find a page that is going well, testing it out on a larger number can show increased percentages.
Then after this campaign finished I noticed “natural” Stumble Upon traffic.
I noticed this traffic when the % increased above 10%.
What Organic(Free) Traffic Has This Brought?
So far the natural traffic is coming in at 10-20 visits per day. This is traffic I am not paying for. I expect this to be constant if the overall percentages stay the same.
Stumble Upon also works on the more people that like it the more it is shown. If your percentages are higher than 11, then you can expect more than 10-20 visits per day.
You must get10% or higher in the % of people that liked your post for it to start showing naturally in StumbleUpon. The higher it goes the more yours will be shown. This % might change slightly for each category as some might not have many popular pieces of content.
Also I can assure you this % will get higher as StumbleUpon gets older and has more premium pieces of content in it’s system.
Why Were The Percentages So Different From The 2 Tests (5.3% in one and 11% in another)?
Well I can never give a guarantee on this information but I can tell you what I expect. Stumble Upon works by learning what people like and dislike, when you choose to “like” or “dislike” and article. But the other thing that happens is it shows you pages that people you are friends with liked, because you most likely have very similar interests.
So when someone who has many subscribers “likes” your page, it will be shown to their friends when they are stumbling. Because they are friends they are more likely to click “like” on your page as well due to the similar interests.
So as Stumble Upon learns who your page is liked by, the percentage of likes will increase.
Total Spent: $35 USD (on the article that went viral)
Total Spent: $75 USD (if you include the $10 spent on other articles that didn’t go viral)
Continuous Natural Traffic Per Day: 10-20 visitors
Was It Worth It?
Immediately no it wasn’t worth it but that traffic keeps on coming every day. It boosts my Facebook following and Twitter following and keeps advertising dollars coming in on my other site. You will need to decide whether it would be worth your time, effort and money.
But my pursuit for the massively viral article (1,000′s per day) is still going.
If you thought this article was worth the read, giving me a thumbs up would be greatly appreciated!