The Secret to Getting Highly Targeted Traffic from StumbleUpon

Since late 2010, StumbleUpon has been one of the top sources of social media traffic in the US, even surpassing Faceboook as a referrer.

In fact, using StumbleUpon to drive traffic to your site can produce some amazing results. According to Shell Harris, StumbleUpon basically built her website TopTenz. Here are some of her stumble numbers that she shared:


That’s huge traffic, and it can create some pretty lucrative income stream. The only problem is that traffic isn’t very targeted, and your conversion rates may suck.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a modest stream of traffic but high conversion rates rather than high traffic stream and low conversion rates.

Download this 6 steps cheat sheet to getting highly targeted traffic from StumbleUpon.

Let’s look at how you can get a high-quality traffic stream from StumbleUpon.

Step #1: Become a stumbler

You won’t be able to use StumbleUpon correctly unless you become a stumbler. If this is new to you, to “stumble” simply means to discover web pages by clicking the StumbleUpon button on your browser bar.

This is what it looks like on Chrome:

stumbleupon button

StumbleUpon will deliver articles, images, videos and much more based upon your profile and interests. You’ll then get to vote on whether you like those suggestions or not. The more you stumble, share and vote, the better the algo gets at predicting what you like.

Now, since you’ll be using StumbleUpon to promote your own blog in hopes of getting targeted traffic, you need to stumble and vote on pages that are similar to your content.

What this does is it identifies other stumblers who have similar to yours ratings and usage patterns. This will get content you stumble, eventually including your own, in front of these users as they stumble. If one of these users sees your content and likes it, that person submits it for others to see. That gives your content a chance to become part of a chain reaction, where high-quality stumblers share it with other high-quality stumblers.

Step #2: Follow like-minded stumblers

StumbleUpon is unique in that users are clustered into very specific categories depending upon your stumbles, preferences and even connections.

stumbleupon follow

For example, you may be an entrepreneur and not have that much in common with everyone who is in that category.

But after dozens of very specific stumbles and votes, you’ll eventually be getting stumbles based on a very narrow brand of entrepreneurship that interests you.

In other words, you’ll start to get matched with highly targeted stumblers who think like you and who will probably even be interested in engaging with you and your content.

If you and other users start to thumb up similar content, then StumbleUpon may eventually show your content to those users.

Step #3: Submit interesting web pages – and not just yours.

You can certainly promote your own content on StumbleUpon, but if that is all you do, then it’s not likely that you will create a strong following since, like all social platforms, StumbleUpon works well when you are social. That means that you contribute other people’s valuable content to the discussion.

Besides, StumbleUpon does monitor user activity and may prohibit activity if all you do is promote your own stuff.

The point of StumbleUpon is to build up content in its collection that adds value to the community. This will keep you in good standing according to their Terms of Service and add credibility to your name in the community.

Keep in mind that you can view which of your discoveries have been viewed the most. It will give you an indication of what people like and don’t like to see.

This will be helpful when it comes to sharing your own content…you want to be able to submit content that will resonate with the audience.

Step #4: Create clear web pages

When it comes to optimizing your site for the StumbleUpon community, there is one really important rule you must remember: the content on your page must be crystal clear to anyone who sees your page.

Stumblers like to explore pages that are designed to make sense and appear to reward exploration. Give the Stumbler visuals and good writing, along with links to other content on your site to encourage deeper exploring.

TED is a good example of this.


When you land on one of its pages, it’s clear from the start what the user must do.

That includes additional options that the Stumbler can explore like a bio to read or other videos to watch.

This is why you never want to submit a Home or About page. You want to submit something specific like The Real Secret to 1,000 Subscribers in 60 Days or Less and 6 Branding Approaches They Forgot to Teach You in Business School. Specific articles are more likely to be shared, discussed or saved by fellow stumblers.

Step #5: Try StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

Sometimes you may not get the traction you would like from your organic efforts on StumbleUpon. Or maybe you simply don’t have the time to wait for natural discovery.

You can speed up the process with Paid Discovery.

The nice thing about Paid Discovery is that it sends traffic directly to your site, whereas with Facebook ads, for instance, you buy a small ad and hope that people will see it.

If your site doesn’t violate any of the content rules of StumbleUpon, then you have three plans to choose from.

The cost is based upon how much you want to spend per visitor.

A campaign is broken down into 6 steps:

  1. Enter the URL – This is going to be the page that you want stumblers to visit. To track this via Google Analytics, you can enter a utm_parameter by adding this to the end of the URL
  2. Choose topics – StumbleUpon gives you the option to choose up to 10 topics, or you can let it guess the topics based upon the content. You also have the option to split campaigns into topics if you want.
  3. Choose your audience – Set the demographics you want this content to get in front of based upon age, gender, location or device. Alternatively, let StumbleUpon optimize this for you.
  4. Set your budget – A priority placement will bump you to the front of the que. Or you can upgrade and set your highest daily spend, which will calculate how many visitors it will send to your site based upon your plan and budget. A budget of $30 a day will send you 300 visitors a day.
  5. Schedule – Finally, if you set the campaign to start immediately once the ad is approved, then it will run until you run out of money. Or you can set campaign dates so that the submitted page shows up over a period of time.
  6. Add funds – From your dashboard, go to the Account area and add funds from your PayPal account or credit card.

Finally, here are some tips to help you optimize your Paid Discovery campaigns:

  • Try your content in multiple categories to test what works best. StumbleUpon’s new metric score is a great way to see which categories drive the most stumbles.
  • To find out which categories are the most popular, you can select “manual targeting” before you submit your content to Paid Discovery.

Step #6: Use StumbleUpon Badges

Another way to get targeted traffic is to have your visitors submit your page, vote or share your content via the StumbleUpon badge.

stumbleupon badge

Putting this badge on your site is easy since it requires no coding…just simple cut and paste.

Of course, if you prefer to customize it, you can use StumbleUpon’s badge API. You’ll get all the information you need to build a badge perfectly suited to your site.

This customization will also help you offer information on the badge like if that page has already been submitted, how many stumbles it’s gotten and the pages thumbnail and meta data on StumbleUpon.


While StumbleUpon is not often in the spotlight like other social platforms, e.g., Pinterest, Instagram or Tumblr, it’s still a great workhorse for delivering high-quality traffic…if you do it right.

And, if you spend a lot of time online like I do, stumbling stuff all day won’t take extra hours out of your day…it will become part of your routine.

Do you know of any other ways to drive high-quality traffic from StumbleUpon?

P.S. If you want help getting more traffic to your site click here.

If you want to break through to real profits online, you need some serious firepower. For a limited time I’m sharing some select tips and tricks Amazon, Microsoft, NBC & Hewlett Packard paid thousands of dollars per hour for, FREE.
  • The step by step guide to monster traffic generation
  • The how-to guide for increasing conversions on your website
  • 7 Cashflow killers your analytics tools are hiding from you
100% privacy, I will never spam you!


  1. David Mitchell :

    Hi Neil,

    I have seen some great results from stumbleupon but like you mentioned its not targeted so i have tended not to focus on this, having said that I still use it, low conversions but a conversion is a conversion and is better than none lol.


  2. Good food for thought here Neil. Stumbleupon does seem pretty attractive and like it would be a good way of creating high traffic. The problem, however, is that most stumblers are passive and are there to browse, not actually take action and go deep into anything…which makes it tough to get conversions.

    I have no doubt that there are success stories though, and for the right site it could be a very valuable source of traffic.

    • I agree, there are people who don’t make the effort to take action. You just have to keep at it and make sure you are taking action. Eventually you will find others who do the same.

  3. Kimon Skarlatos :

    I have been using Paid Stumble for a while and notice great traffic but not great conversions. Analyzing the time-spent on-site and they pages Stumblers visited revealed a 2 very different types of Stumblers.

    There were the Stumble-scan-Stumble people that spent smallest amount of time on-site, and then there were the Stumblers that explored the site (at least 3 pages), these were about 10% of the overall numbers of Stumbles and these are the people that I wanted to engage with.

    The problem though was that I couldn’t discern how to get the ‘good’ stumblers. Reading through your post, I think I just figured it out. Using these tips AND the Paid Stumble I will get much better results.


  4. I’ve been using Stumbleupon and it tops the referral traffic. I’m gonna try paid discovery. Nice writeup Neil. Did you notice the type “Stumber”?

  5. I’ve tried the StumbleUpon strategy and it brought great traffic but no conversions as stated above. I think that using your techniques+paid discovery+ retargeter is a winning combo; however, you truly need to make yourself standout with good branding and even better content.

  6. Hi Neil,

    Its weird that I was checking out Stumbleupon this morning and was wondering how to get the right kind of traffic. I was also wondering about using paid discovery and you have outline it.

    This is really cool. Thanks

  7. Stumblers always stumble through our blogs, I guess. Stumblers like me always scan pages and stop by a beautiful pic never caring for the write-ups.

  8. Hi Neil,

    I have only used digg so far in 3 months …but hardly works to get some decent traffic/votes on digg….now after reading your post i will definitely try to see if Stumbleupon works for me….

    Thanks for Sharing:)

  9. Hi Neil,
    You write ” To track this via Google Analytics…”, why if your KISSMetrics is GA’s competitor?
    I understand that everybody uses GA, but why would you mention them and not your own product?
    PS I’m new to your blog and I’m sincerely curious

    • I suggest Google Analytics because it is a free service, where mine is not. My readers tend to be beginners or still building. So I like to suggest tips or tools that are either free or at very little cost.

  10. Thanks Neil
    I am a beginner and have been focused on getting established on FB & TW. This post being your endorsement of SU means I will have to make my blog a part of that community.
    The direction given by this post will be of help getting me noticed there soonest.

    Thanks Neil

  11. Get good grades :

    That’s a surprise that some people say forget about StumbleUpon, I agree with you that it could still be good. Nice explanation there as to why stumbling an inner content page instead of the home page could result in more people seeing and sharing it.

  12. I have had a couple of posts go viral though stumble upon recently attracting upto 500 hits a day.

    In my experience the key is to create interesting content for the broader audience in you niche as very specific posts tend to attract less attention. For eg my blog is about niche marketing but I wrote a post about 10 things that make online marketers less productive which went on a mini viral frenzy on stumble upon.

    Thanks Neil.

  13. This article is the nutz…

    Wicked stuff. It’s only recently I started to ‘appreciate’ Stumbleupon and how it’s such a good source of traffic if you got something interesting to share.

    In fact it might not even be a bad question to ask before hitting the ‘submit’ button on your blog… is it Stumbleworthy?!

    Thanks for the tutorial.

  14. Yes the biggest problem with stumble upon is that the trafic is usually not targeted. Last week I got 7,000 views within first five hours of submitting a post about creative business card designs. But I got no real long term value from those visits as my bounce rate was over 80%.

  15. David Kraljic :

    Paid discovery worked really well for us. But here is a little secret. Add something to your site that encourages stumble visitors to thumb you up. You’ll get a bunch of extra traffic as you work your way higher into the rankings.

  16. I stumble every day but im not getting decent traffic yet. i will try out these recommendation. thanks

  17. Great points Neil. Mind if I please share some of my own from this post about Stumble Upon?

  18. Hello Neil, link with anchor “use StumbleUpon’s badge API” isn’t working properly.
    In any case, thanks for great piece of advice.

  19. Great tips Neil, thanks! I use StumbleUpon and often I received good traffic, but unfortunately they spend only few seconds on the site. I think over 90% spend less than 5 seconds. I didn’t tried yet the paid advertising, but to be honest I’d be somewhat afraid from the some reason ( if visitors stay on site only few seconds?)
    Does someone tried the paid advertising? Thanks!

  20. When I sign up in Stumble, should I use my personal email or email Should my username have any form of the name of my blog (for example, “MyBlog” or “”) in it or should it be neutral?

  21. Thanks for the informative post. I did try the stumbleupon paid discovery but to be honest it was not for me as I found that although I got a lot more visits the bouce rate was still high and time spent on the site was not great. I think it is just not targettted enough.

    I do agree with also stumbling as when I started I just promoted my own sites it was not until I stumbled and liekd sites my self that I noticed a difference

  22. I never really understood the whole StumbleUpon craze. Sure you can get lots of one-time visitors, but they aren’t really the visitors you are after…unless you are just hoping for some ad clicks.

  23. Great post Neil.
    I agree. StumbleUpon is a great way to provide high traffic to a website is done correctly as you stepped through, and again isn’t quite a great conversion medium.

    We actually get quite a bit of referrals from SU, but never a conversion. Just onlookers learning about SEO

  24. Nice writeup Neil.. Thanks for sharing these tips for gaining the traffic. Iam using Stumbleupon since from 3-4 years and it brought me lesser traffic as compare to facebook and twitter. I will definitly use the paid one …

  25. I’ve been slowly ramping my online efforts back up over the last few weeks after taking some time off. One thing I’ve wondered was how to best use StumbleUpon because I always saw it as something that was a bit “untargeted”. Thanks for showing me how to better target Stumbles to my content!

  26. Hi Neil,
    I have tried Stumble upon earlier and felt it as little confusing and difficult.
    Your post was really an eye opener for me about capabilities of this site in improving traffic.


  27. Thanks for the direction, I’m new to StumbleUpon so the content should be helpful in my endeavors.


  28. Tech Support Forum :

    Quite nice. I have not personally tried to use much of SU but I think it sounds good to give it a try. I am sure, it will help. Thanks.

  29. I always wanted to ask a question: how do people use SU to getting traffic for their site? Someone said it was a great traffic source for them, however, it’s not working for me, thanks for the post, I know where I went wrong. :)

  30. Hi Neil,

    This article was amazing. I’ve never used SU before and I tried it and now I was getting more traffic from SU than from searches.
    However, could you explain why the traffic dies down after a few days? For example, I submit a new page and I’ll get about 200 stumbles for about 2 days. Then, after that, nobody is stumbling onto my site all of a sudden. I can’t get around to why this happens. I wish the traffic was more consistent or long term.

    Thank you a bunch.

  31. Craig @ :

    I seem to get a lot of traffic from stumbleupon. Some days its as high as 600 visits. Its driving me nuts because the bouce rate is so high as the visitors are not targeted

  32. Hey Neil
    I love this post, It jst gave me deeper insights on how to use stumbleupon
    Thanks and Im grateful

  33. Hi,

    do you think that the traffic we are getting from stumbleupon is relevant??

  34. Yes, Neil, I do agree that any traffic is relevant and essential. Stumble Upon gives good traffic to website. Thanks for the valuable advice.

  35. i just wanna thank you a lot, ive been using stumbleUpon and i really was trying to figure it out how does it work, now i have a more clear idea of the system of how my submitted post are gonna work,,

  36. Hi Neil,
    Wonderful post. I have a question: I run a blog/podcast where I compose and play a new piece of pianomusic everyday and I have been trying all sorts of ways to get more trafficamong which SU. It has been growing but because my main focus lies on the music instead of words I find it difficult to get targeted traffic. Not only that, but most of the traffic I get listens through iTunes and never even gets to see the actual website. Do you have any tips on how to find more traffic and how to monetize a free three minute podcast without having to place ads in the podcast itself?

  37. hey Neil,

    before this post I have no idea about stumbleupon, after reading i have created profle integrated stumbleupon on my website and there is great improve in the traffic of the website.

    Your post are really helpful for building traffic and thank you for that.

  38. Neil.

    Would like to know is there any limit of how many stumblers you can do on a daily basis.

  39. So far I have been struggling to drive traffic to my blog from StumbleUpon. But after reading this tutorial, I have some action points that I can implement right away and let see how they goes.

  40. Stumbleupon really works well. I witnessed immediate traffic boost after stumbling few pages of my websites.
    BTW where is the Stumble option on your blog ? :)

  41. this is certainly an easy one for me, I’ve been using stumbleupon for years

  42. I recently got a Stumble spike on one of Articles and was highly confused, but once I discovered what it was I was happy about it

  43. From social bookmarking sites you can get links, nofollow of course, but lot of people do not count traffic they can get.

  44. I am working on stumbl upon however not getting so much traffic. Can any one tell me the reason? I want more traffic from stumble upon.

  45. stumble traffic never seems to convert

  46. I never used Stumble Upon as a traffic resource, but your tutorial gives me enough idea to test it!

  47. Nice post. I recently started using Stumbler and I noticed something interesting in my traffic stats. I noticed that whenever I stumble any of my article, within two minutes, I get 20-30 pageviews (as shown by my blog traffic stats). And then no traffic comes after even 5 minutes to whole week. Are these 20-30 pageviews from real visitors or some kind of bots? Can you please answer me?

  48. I didn’t know this tool before. I will give it a try and see how much traffic extra i will get from it! thanks!

  49. Thanks for the great article. I think that I can now get some great traffic from


  50. It’s definitely good for the ego, and you never know. Maybe you only get one person to re-tweet your content, but that one person could have a powerful following themselves which makes it all worth it.

  51. Thanks for sharing. I am learning about how to get traffic from stumbleupon.

  52. Hey,

    Excellent post. SU is one of the best platform to get traffic. If you are using on the right way then you can get a lot of traffic from it.
    Thank you

  53. Has anyone see an on-site time of over 10 seconds from SU…I haven’t =/

  54. Neil,

    Not sure if you will be able to answer this question since it has been a while this article has been posted. We recently started using Stumble Upon paid version. The bounce rate is huge around 80%. Is it normal? Any thoughts on bringing it down?
    Thanks in advance

  55. nice post ! I use to get traffic from stumble but suddenly it stopped , now no traffic on my website , but other website that I submit do gets decent views . Is there any way to recover if my website is penalized there ?

  56. hey neil,
    awesome article. thank you for sharing this secret in this post. if one will use SU in the right way, he can get lots of traffic from it.



  57. Android Devices :

    Previously I submitted several posts to SU but got only a little traffic. Now I am learning about how to get targeted traffic from stumbleupon. this post helped me a lot in that process.

  58. Previously I submitted several posts tostumbleupon but got only a little traffic. Now I am learning about how to get targeted traffic from stumbleupon. this post helped me a lot in that process.

  59. Wow! This is some incredible information. I share alot of these same strategies with my clients to help them achieve a page 1 rank as well. Thanks for the great content!

  60. Hello!,,Thanks for the great article. I think that I can now get some great traffic from for awesome information,

  61. Hey Neil,

    Would you also recommend paid discovery for smaller businesses and freelancers?


    Paul :-)

  62. Neil,

    Regarding selecting a Stumble Upon user name…

    Do you recommend creating a random user name or using the “exact” domain name of your website?


  63. I have made a number of e-books, check them out! Thanks for the offer though :)

  64. Awesome article, haven’t really tried SU to generate more traffic to my site, but I was wondering if you could possibly tell us a little more about the Paid Discovery.

    Is this targeted towards a specific audience?

  65. The article was informative. I didn’t know there was a paid stumble account.

  66. Truly instructive indeed! And I thought I could do without SU… I’m glad I took the time to read your article and changed my mind!! :)

  67. I was confuse to use stumbleupon but your blogs so much helps to understand stumbleupon’s traffic :D

  68. me too I gained a lot of traffic with SU, when my one article made it on their suggested articles

  69. Is there any daily limit to post our content?

  70. I read somewhere that you could get banned if you just submit your own content. Reddit does that if you over-promote your blog.

  71. It works. Thanks a lot.

  72. Something i found very interesting in this article and it’s very helpful to me. i will stump this article. thanks :D

  73. To say frankly, After using stumbleupon for a few weeks, I came with empty hands. I think we must has a powerful strategy and consistency. Isn’t it my dear friends at quicksprout.

  74. Have been trying my luck on StumbleUpon for quite some time.. But lady luck didn’t shower her blessings..

  75. I am also active on Stumble Upon but i cant see any major bump in traffic, what to do neil

  76. I am not targeting StumbleUpon much now. I know that people are driving good traffic from StumbleUpon but whenever i tried to use StumbleUpon as a traffic source,i failed. It just wastes my time nothing more.

  77. To say frankly, After using stumbleupon for a few weeks, I came with empty hands. I think we must has a powerful strategy and consistency. Isn’t it my dear friends at quicksprout. Siraj, it isn’t always the best source to generate traffic, however, if you get it right it can give you tremendous results!

  78. Thanks for sharing a nice article with lot of information about getting traffic from stumbleupon. keep sharing.

  79. Many Thanks Neil. I was exactly looking for this tutorial.

  80. Well, i am using reddit from a while and joined stumbleupon, so this article is very important for me at this time, will follow all the instructions very carefully.

  81. Great stuff many thanks

  82. Very nice I have just install a plugin for autopost in stumble

  83. StumbleUpon is a great tool to drive blog traffic, but there are rules to follow to actually get positive results.

  84. Very well and descriptive article. I was searching for some informative article about stumbleupon and finally I found it here. It’s true that stumble upon can really produce a big traffic for your site but the contents must be rich. Good article. Keep it up.

  85. impressive post as always Neil..

    i have been researching on this topic lately and yours been a great help including another one

    but i have a question about following other people on stumbleupon ..whom should i really follow i mean the ones with lots of followers or ones with the less…hope you will clear this to me

    thanks anyway..

  86. Great Article. I am regular stumbleupon user but i was not getting traffic finally this article solved my problem.

    Thanks, Neil Patel. God Bless You.

  87. I have never used StumbleUpon before. Will give it a try :)
    Thanks for useful information.

  88. Mr.Neil Patel your amazingly rocks

  89. Hey Guy,,

    I have been providing stumbleupon promotion services since last FOUR years and have done work with some of worlds top sites like collegehumor, cracked and uproxx. And my vast experience says that its really true that if you have a unique and quality content Stumbleupon will for sure drive you huge traffic :)))

    skype: tabijavid

  90. No doubt, StumbleUpon is really amazing in generating traffic. I’m gettin 10K-15K hits daily by stumbleupon. Anyways Thanks a lot for sharing such valuable contents with us.

  91. I’m pretty pleased to discover this great site.

    I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!!
    I definitely liked every part of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to
    look at new stuff on your site.

  92. It’s a nice article …..lot more to know…

  93. Nice post!I just had some traffic spikes with stumbleupon but it’s difficult to convert.Any ideas beside adsense?

  94. Great article! I will be implementing a lot of these strategies in our paid campaign for our YouTube network.

  95. Driving targeted, converting visitors is a Skill you will only acquire over time, it’s not a contest. Acquire the Skill. Determination, persistence and dedication will result in achievement. Success favors preparation.

  96. Neil,

    Another great article which is very informative. There are some awesome tips in this article StumbleUpon gives you provide you with a ton of traffic.

    I also like to use Digg, Reddit and Delicious. Those websites also bring you loads of traffic if used properly.

    Anyway thanks for the article I learned a lot.

  97. I have just dipped into my StumbleUpon account after many years of inactivity. Is this still working in 2014? Also, Neil, you didn’t actually post a link to your profile :p

  98. Most importantly, content should be of value.

    World of Smartphones is all about the latest smartphones with reviews, features, design, technology and get updated inside news buzz about smartphones.

  99. You could definitely see your skills in thhe article you write.
    The world hoes for even more passionate writers liike
    you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. At alll times follow your heart.

  100. I was really struggling a lot in using StumbleUpon. After reading this article, I got some idea on it. This helps a lot new bloggers like me. Thanks for sharing it.

  101. What’s different between Stumble traffic with paid traffic? Is Stumble traffic really can increase my traffic naturally?

  102. Paying to get discovered is okay but 30 dollars a day for 300 visitors is on the high side.

  103. Thanks, Neil!
    I’m just registered to StumbleUpon, and I had no idea, how to use it for marketing.

  104. This is something I need Thanks for this informative blog I shall return

  105. Nice one…
    actually i was doing stumbleupon blindly by creating links using that tags like ?s1 and ?s2 and so on.
    Now, i came to know the real use of stumbleupon.
    And now i think i can use stumbleupon much better than earlier.
    Thank you so much for the share.

  106. Hi Neil,
    Great Article once again. I still using stumble upon to improvise my conversion rate. Well, right now you have given such information that i was hardly knowing about it. It will surely going to help me to improvise my conversion rate .

    Thank You

  107. Thanks alot dear Friend to share very rich and informative post about how to get huge traffic from great social site StumbleUpon.

  108. Thanks for sharing this article, I found it informative and some of the points you discuss here are quite interesting. I’ll make sure to take into account that part when you say that social networks are more useful when you socialize with others. It sounds obvious at first, but when you’re managing a website and focusing on dozens of different things, it’s easy to ignore that part.

  109. I just signed up for the paid discovery and started a campaign. It seems you can get views for as little as 10 cents per view of your website. Not too bad.

Speak Your Mind