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StumbleUpon's referral traffic down 53% since July

Could the site's recent redesign be to blame?

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 6, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2b7a

Every month, Shareholic releases its monthly traffic sources report, where it looks at the trends of how its 200,000 publishers, who reach 300 million people each month, are arriving at websites sites each month.  The October report was released Tuesday, and the news was not good for discovery engine StumbleUpon.

StumbleUpon’s share of traffic sent to publisher websitses has declined by 53% since July, the report said, and it is now trailing Twitter by 0.22%.

StumbleUpon has been going through some changes this year, including a redesign in September that some said was a rip-off of Pinterest.

The new StumbleUpon offered new features, such as Activity, which allowed users to see pages recommended by StumbleUpon experts, and StumbleUpon Lists, a feature which allowed users to put their Likes into personalized collections that they can then share with friends.

This was StumbleUpon’s second rebranding effort in less than a year; it previously launched channels in December, which eventually fell flat and led to the stepping down of its long-time CEO Garrett Camp in May. Camp became chairman of the board at StumbleUpon after resigning.

While it would seem as though it was StumbleUpon’s latest effort to remaking itself that led to the decline in traffic, a move that we have seen before, Shopaholic says that that might not be the whole story.

“Any time you’re considering traffic from StumbleUpon, though, you should remember that everything is wrapped in an iFrame, so people may be clicking through to read your articles, but they may not be clicking through directly to your site,” it says in the report.

“Therefore those pageviews aren’t recorded as referral traffic. As with all content creation, remember that the best-in-class, most compelling content truly wins. If you peak someone’s interest at first stumble, they’ll likely find a way to explore your site some more. For example, they may copy/paste your URL into the address bar so they can see more of your content, in which case they would be counted as direct traffic – not referral traffic from StumbleUpon.”

Pinterest still going strong

Meanwhile, the real Pinterest is still growing every month.

In May, Pinterest topped Twitter and Bing in referrals, then, in June, Pinterest had more referral traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing and Google combined. Pinterest finally overtook Yahoo organic traffic in August, making it the fourth largest traffic source in the world.

Pinterest has now seen its referral traffic increase for seven straight months, and has caused a trend of other websites attempting to copy its design.

In October, Facebook added a new feature called Collections, where, if users have Liked a certain company, let’s say Pottery Barn, images of products will show up on their news feed. If they click on the product and they want it, they can add it theur wishlist by "liking", "collecting" or "wanting" it. 

Once the item has been collected there will be a button on the picture taking them an external website, in this case PotteryBarn.com, to purchase the item.

Last month, eBay redesigned its website to look like Pinterest as well, allowing its  users to curate items and put them into a personalized homepage feed.

This tactic has not seemed to work well for StumbleUpon, and it remains to be seen how it works out for other websites who try it.

(Image source: http://www.stumbleupon.com/)


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