Joining Twitter, Facebook/Gowalla, Foursquare and others in a flurry of social media announcements this December, StumbleUpon revealed new features and a sleek redesign of its website and logo. But the biggest news on the marketing front was StumbleUpon’s announcement of “channels.”
Similar to how users can follow brands and celebrities on Facebook and Twitter, StumbleUpon channels will help stumblers discover content from the brands they know and love, or want to learn more about. I have already seen this dubbed: “more controlled stumbling” – an interesting concept.
In other words, it’s a way for brands to get desired content in front of their followers. And investigating the features (built upon an already impressive platform), StumbleUpon channels appear to offer a significant new content syndication tool.
Having played around with some of the beta channels, here are a few noteworthy features:
- Sleek Design: Featured content is displayed with images carrying the corresponding StumbleUpon interest category.
- Followers: The follower count is displayed for social proof, as well as the number of featured content pieces.
- Stumble Channel: If I don’t feel like selecting a particular piece of content, I can opt to stumble the channel and land where the algorithm takes me.
- Custom URLs: Such as su.pr/TheAtlantic (for The Atlantic) or su.pr/ESPNCFB (for ESPN College Football)
To help make sense of the new offering and its potential, a colleague at StumbleUpon had a few takeaways for brands to keep in mind when considering a StumbleUpon channel:
- White Label: Channels are currently white labeled with a few brands/individuals. As such, they’re not widely available for other brands to create at the moment.
- It’s Not A Destination: The initial purpose of a brand channel will be to integrate new content into StumbleUpon for users to discover, not necessarily to create a destination site, like brand pages on Facebook or Google.*
- It’s Free (for now): As it stands, brand channels on StumbleUpon will be free to set up.
- Potential Integration with Paid Discovery: Brand channels may provide a way to further enhance StumbleUpon Paid Discovery campaigns by combining promotional efforts for greater pageviews.
- No Guarantee on Pageviews: While StumbleUpon Paid Discovery can deliver the pageviews a brand requests, the followers of a StumbleUpon channel will determine its success.
With more than 20 million registered users, and growing at more than 1 million each month, StumbleUpon represents a massive opportunity for brands to syndicate content, and to discover and engage new customers. It’s certainly a channel we will be paying close attention to.
* In order for users to find content (any content) through StumbleUpon, another user will have had to “discover” it and tag it appropriately. This action indexes the web page, video, slideshow, etc. in StumbleUpon. Channels will be a new way for brands to enter their content into StumbleUpon, and syndicate it for discovery by other users.