StumbleUpon Paid Discovery Advertising Tool Review & Usage Instructions


StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking website where you can find cool new websites on the web based on votes from other users. According to, is the 150th website in the world in terms of traffic. StumbleUpon – SU for short has an advertising program which many marketers do not know about. I gave a try to their advertising program – the StumbleUpon Paid Discovery and here’s my feedback.

StumbleUpon is based on users voting up for good content on the web and such websites are rewarded with more traffic from StumbleUpon because more users will be able to find the “cool” content and hence a good user experience for the users of SU.


SU has various categories in which you can submit the links to your website and if your web content is really good, there is a good chance that you will receive a flood of new traffic from SU. But from my experience SU users are not very serious or tech savvy kind of crowd. The users of StumbleUpon are more interested in entertainment and humour kind of content so such websites usually do well in StumbleUpon.

I once bookmarked a humor page in my blog and without any paid promotion I received 13,000 unique visitors from SU on the same day – but the revenue from display advertising was too low. SU users mostly do not click on ads, they don’t buy or subscribe to anything. They just consume the server resources.


When you advertise a link via the StumbleUpon paid discovery tool, SU displays your page when users are browsing through new websites in a particular category and from there if the content is good, you get more votes and hence more traffic. This is called earned visits. So with the paid discovery tool you are basically kick starting an already organic process within StumbleUpon. This is great for both the advertisers and the users because when advertisers have really good content they get more traffic than they pay for and when users find some boring content, advertisers won’t get much traffic even if they are ready to pay for it.

So this program is something similar to the YouTube TrueView ads program where you pay to kick start an organic process that is happening already in the website. With YouTube TrueView ads, you do not upload a separate creative but a standard YouTube video acts as the ad creative which can also get views, likes, comments and shares without advertising it.

To get started advertising on StumbleUpon, sign up with the Paid Discovery program. Click on create new campaign and give the URL you want to promote in the form. Give a campaign name. Then select the audience – demographics and location you want to target. Then you can select the devices, categories and finalize it. A StumbleUpon executive will approve the URL and you will start getting visitors from the paid discovery tool.

During this process, if visitors like your page they will upvote the page and you will get more natural visitors without any cost. Your average cost per visitor CPV will be displayed on your dashboard. As you can see from the graph above, green indicate paid visits and blue indicates earned visits. You can see that I have, for some campaigns promoted a little and then it received traffic automatically for nearly two weeks without any ad spend.


StumbleUpon is a great website if you want to drive up your traffic numbers. The ad program in this is more of an interruption type of ad and hence getting targeted and interested visitors can be a challenge even if you choose the right category. Visitors from SU are looking for entertainment and hence a lot of niches will not find the traffic from SU suitable or useful. Also the entire advertising dashboard can be improved – as of now the details and usage flow is vague and confusing.

The best way to find out if StumbleUpon is for you is to spend a small amount, say $100 as an experiment. Run 10 different campaigns with $10 budget each and measure the quality and quantity of traffic. If it works for you, keep rolling!

Let me know if you have any questions. If you have tried the SU paid discovery tool, what do you think about it?