StumbleUpon’s Take on Native Advertising

>As Content is the order of the day on our pitches and developments…we still have to contend with Discovery! “Post and Pray” and “Faith-Based Marketing (as Wetherall affectionately coins it) is folly. Prior experiments from us have been crude attempts to “game the system” on Digg or Reddit or StumbleUpon. Spoiler Alert: “Gaming the System” never worked. So as clients are conceding that content is king, they’re also demanding we have a plan for content discovery well beyond banners, of course. I, personally have lost track with StumbleUpon in recent years, but perhaps a reappraisel is in order for us all.<

DigiDay brings to light: “Paid Discovery is the main revenue source for the company.”
Other highlights:

Content-discovery engine StumbleUpon now boasts 25 million users. Since March 2011, that stumbling has included brand pages. ComScore puts the site at 4.1 million uniques per month.

Brand pages, which are labeled “sponsored,” show up every 15th or 20th stumble. On average, 75 percent of the posts are given the thumbs up, how StumbleUpon users rate pages. For comparison, according to StumbleUpon, roughly 80 to 90 percent of organic pages get a thumbs up.

The most common pricing for advertisers on StumbleUpon is a flat fee of 10 cents per engagement of anything five seconds or more (anything less than five seconds, the advertiser doesn’t have to pay). For specific product or movie launches, there’s a premium of 25 cents per Stumble (the act of going from page to page via StumbleUpon), which gives advertisers increased priority to skip ahead in line.

The biggest advantage to the StumbleUpon approach is its “native ad unit” is a brand’s webpage. That takes care of the scale problem that ends up bedeviling many companies’ efforts to operate outside the world of standard banners.

You don’t have to think about making this for Facebook or that for Twitter; you’re just taking what you invest a lot of in and putting in front of a targeted audience.”

The company boasts it has worked with more than 75,000 brands — like Heineken, Sony and Chipotle — to serve as a distribution mechanism for their content. StumbleUpon also works with premium publishers like BuzzFeed, AOL and NBC Universal properties to further drive distribution.

“In the long run, what we’re trying to do is, as a company, organic or paid content, we think content is the connective social fabric of the Internet,” Krawczyk said. “People come to us to find things to initiate conversation with friends, and so when you have great high-value creative, that’s the stuff people respond to. Providing a distribution method for content has been good for branded publishers.”

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