It has been a couple months since StumbleUpon rolled out its Channel pages for all members so I thought I’d check in and see how media brands are doing.
StumbleUpon Channels are a good opportunity for publishers (and any business involved in content marketing) because they create a direct pipeline to users that are specifically interested in your content.
To-date the media brands with the largest following have attracted 5,000 to 7,000 followers with quite a few channels still under 1,000. These figures will continue to rise as user awareness grows and companies do more to promote their Channels.
I was going to compile a leaderboard similar to what I did in News Organizations on Google+: Which Pages Get the Most Engagement? but in this case comparing total followers and shared pages isn’t all that instructive.
So instead I’ll highlight some media brands that are doing well so far. Check out their Channels to get an idea of the types and frequency of their shared pages.
Evergreen content tends to perform better on StumbleUpon than hard news, which is why Channels are a particularly good opportunity for breaking news sites. It gives them a chance to gain greater exposure through direct connections.
Interestingly The New York Times doesn’t appear to have a Channel yet. They usually rank among the leaders whenever I look at the social presence of news organizations.
Not surprisingly a lot of lifestyle sites have created Channels as their content tends to be a good fit for stumbling. Be it beauty and fashion, food, health or home, there are a wide range of titles that have already established a presence.
There are a lot more content types that could be pointed out, too many to cover here. Suffice it to say there are also a number of media brands doing well in TV, technology, sports, celebrity, art and more.
Some more observations:
- The ability to connect RSS, Twitter and Facebook feeds makes it easy to maintain a Channel without committing significant time or resources. Consider creating a dedicated feed for content that makes the most sense for StumbleUpon.
- The volume of shared pages varies greatly among the Channels I looked at. As with any social outlet do some testing to find the right ratio for your user base.
- Video stills don’t always come through properly on the Channel pages. I saw black screenshots for video items on a number of different Channels. Monitor this if you share a lot of video content.
- There is not much customization that can be done on the Channel pages at this time. But that seems ok since the main opportunity is having content fed into followers’ streams as they stumble.
- Since the Channel Directory listings are in alphabetical order this offers an advantage to names that appear earlier in the alphabet, at least among browsing users.
- For this reason the Recommended Channels page is also prime real estate.
- The distinction between “brands” and “sites” can be a little fuzzy in some cases. If you run a news or content site you should create a Site Channel; programs on a particular network are typically listed under Brand Channels.
A couple of suggestions for StumbleUpon:
- The Channel Directory needs a search box for users that are looking for a specific person/brand/site.
- When a user clicks on an item the shared page loads in the same browser tab instead of launching a new one. I’d consider launching a new tab to increase the likelihood that users will engage further with the Channel page (particularly if they haven’t already followed it).
Final (and Yes, Fairly Obvious) Takeaway
While the ability to view and follow channels is available to all users the program is still in limited beta in terms of the ability to create Channels.
If you have a relationship with StumbleUpon (through the Paid Discovery program or otherwise) and you haven’t set up Channels yet, reach out to them. They are worth experimenting with.
For more information on the product and how to apply see the Channels help page.