StumbleUpon recently posted an infographic comparing itself to other social media properties such as Facebook and Twitter. It claimed that between August 2011 and September 2011:
- Market Share – SumbleUpon had the highest market share by traffic referrals with 50.34%. With Facebook at: 37.4%. Reddit: 4.26%. Twitter: 3.23%.
- After 24 hours – After 24 hours a popular website was shared with StumbleUpon it will get 80% more stumbles. Facebook will get 5% more likes. Twitter will get 0% more retweets.
- Link Half-Life – The half-life of a typical link at StumbleUpon is 400 hours. On Facebook: 3.2 hours. On Twitter 2.8 hours.
- Average Time on Page – The average time on page for a typical link on StumbleUpon is 69 seconds. Facebook and Twitter are at 23 seconds.
Put bluntly, not much at all. The beauty of statistics is that they can be shaped and twisted to convey any message that you want. While all of this data might make it seem like StumbleUpon is the best choice for Social Media Marketing, it might not be. Here are a few reasons why:
- The data fails to compare the percentage of popular links to not-so-popular links. StumbleUpon might be comprised of only a small percentage of websites that get all of the referral traffic.
- The data does not look at the type of content shared. All content is not treated fairly in StumbleUpon. Users seem to like highly graphical content rather than some company website.
- The data fails to consider the type of users that are viewing the content. If StumbleUpon sends a bunch of referral traffic to a website and they are not at all interested in purchasing any products, how useful is that referral traffic when it fails to convert?
- Market share of referral traffic does not consider the spread of the pageviews among pages shared in StumbleUpon. A lot of the referral traffic is likely to be from a small user base leading to a small amount of unique visitors.
- The data ignores any other interaction with the content besides clicking on the link. Links that are shared on Twitter and Facebook usually come with much more than just referral traffic. Users have the ability to comment on the content or send tweets about it.
- The half-life does not consider the extent of the engagement. While Facebook and Twitter have a much shorter period of engagement they could have overall more shares by a broader audience (because there are so many upfront).