What: StumbleUpon is an online bookmarking site where users indicate their interests and the site introduces them to new and different Web sites. While "stumbling," users can save sites to their account, share with friends, or recommend a site, helping specific pages gain popularity virally.
"It's helped us grow traffic tremendously," notes Erin Ryder, PR director for LoftLife magazine. "It's been a great way to expand our audience, an audience interested in what we are writing about."
How: There are two ways companies can use StumbleUpon: organically and through advertising. Companies can encourage organic growth by including a "share this" link on a blog or Web page, which is what LoftLife does.
The site also offers advertising that incorporates sponsored Web sites and content into its recommended sites, and those can then start to spread virally as well.
Why: In addition to getting page views, users from StumbleUpon also have a specific interest in the content recommended to them and tend to spend more time on a particular site.
"When somebody is using StumbleUpon, they've got enough time on their hands at that moment; they are open to finding something fun and being engaged," says Ben Tider, assistant director of audience development for the lifestyle group of Time Inc., which uses the site and its ad model.
Who: Media companies can be successful when it comes to using StumbleUpon, particularly in the lifestyle category, says Matthew Milner, VP of social media for Hearst Digital Media. He has found that content from publications like Marie Claire and Redbook do better than more niche or news-focused content, which works well in other bookmarking sites, like Digg.
"One of the beauties of Stumble is that you don't have to focus on it too much as a strategy," adds Milner. "For media companies, if we're actually creating great content, it takes care of itself" and spreads virally. Sites with photographs, games, and humor also do well with the site.