StumbleUpon Shark Surfaces

Written on November 15, 2007 – 5:44 pm | by bigoak |

Living in Richmond, Virginia you don’t often see sharks swimming by, but this week I saw more than a few. These sharks were in the stats and analytics of our client’s sites. Let me explain. We do social bookmarking for our clients when it feels right and not just for the sake of doing it or because it is the new hot button in the Internet marketing community. For this reason, we haven’t pursued social bookmarking heavily. It does have its uses and can be done effectively if the time and effort are applied and the service or product can utilize that type of marketing. But I digress…

Unexpected Site Spikes
When it makes sense, we do submit our client’s strategic pages and pages that may be of interest to the social communities, but more often other people do the submissions for us because the site or page naturally draws the interest of the anonymous Internet user.

I can tell someone has submitted a site to Digg or StumbleUpon because I’ll see spike in the traffic that had nothing to do with our efforts and then drops back the next day or so to the previous natural traffic progression. As I was looking at the line graph for a client’s stats I realized for the first time that the StumbleUpon traffic caused a spike that looks exactly like a shark fin, more so in the first example but the resemblance is carried through on all three examples. I have included them from Google Analytic screen shots for your amusement.

“The StumbleUpon Shark rises to the surface,” I thought to myself. I looked at a few other clients’ stats and found other appearances of the StumbleUpon Shark, sometimes more than once in the same month.

Conclusions from Data?
Since I try to give something of value in every post I will mention that I noticed the traffic increases were somewhat proportional to the site’s overall traffic. You can see this in the screen shots which have traffice ranges from 20 – 2,700 visitors. One site was averaging 20 visitors per day but spiked with StumbleUpon traffic up to 60 visitors. Another site averaged 900 visitors a day spiked to 2,700 visitors, both increase around a 200% increase. So the StumbleUpon traffic may have something to do with the existing popularity of your site.

Examples of Shark Attacks?
If anyone else has data or experiences to share, please let us know. Be careful though, the StumbleUpon Shark could be invading your stats without warning. But unlike “Jaws”, that would be a good thing.

duh DUH…duh DUH…duh DUH

  1. 12 Responses to “StumbleUpon Shark Surfaces”

  2. By Matt Sawyer on Nov 16, 2007 | Reply

    I’m pretty sure the traffic doesn’t increase proportionately with each Stumble. Some recent linkbait that we put together resulted in an increase from c.50 vistors each day to almost 14,000

  3. By Shell Harris on Nov 16, 2007 | Reply

    Matt, I wouldn’t think so either, but this runs the same for other sites as well. I guess it must be coincidence. Thanks for the link to your post.

  4. By ryan on Nov 17, 2007 | Reply

    Shell, unrelated to stumble… I like the new digs at big oak. Why’d you depart from a design that was more consistent with Big Oak home site? Always wonder if blogs and parent sites should look and feel the same.

    And… to make this comment relevant… I never get any love from StumbleUpon when I use it on my other blogs. Maybe I’m just doing something wrong.

  5. By Shell Harris on Nov 18, 2007 | Reply


    The change in blog design was necessitated by the upgrade of WordPress from 2.2 to 2.3. When we upgraded everything blew up and the blog was flawed worse than ever. We patched up as well as we could and have been limping or “stumbling” along for a month or so. Finally I got fed up and ditched the old template which I really liked but it was meant for WordPress 2.2 and this template is a WordPress 2.3 template so I changed to get some necessities working again.

    Plus, I just like it better. ;-)

    As for the design not matching, well I agree with you, the blog should match the site. We are trying to redesign our site next year so I’m not that interested in making this design look like the home page, which I designed 3 year ago.

    We are looking for a desinger to give us a Web 2.0 feel to our site and when that design is done, we will modify this blog or else to a blog redesign to match the new site design. In the meantime, this design will have to do. If anyone would like to do a design for us we are looking. Contact me directly.

    Finally, don’t feel too bad I Stumble pages often and get little to no love as well. You can never predict what will hit, much like Digg. I do know that when others Stumble your pages it is usually more effective. Self stumbles are usually self-serving and easily smelled out. Oddly enough I went to Stumble this post and someone already had. Neat. I don’t know if the “StumbleUpon Shark” will visit but I am hopeful it will.

  6. By Ashley on Nov 20, 2007 | Reply

    It is rather interesting how much a difference Digg, and StumbleUpon can make a huge difference in traffic. It really is important to visit those websites, in order to drive traffic.

  7. By Jimbo on Nov 23, 2007 | Reply

    The best thing about Digg is that if you have a site that’s truly amazing, hitting the front page can permanently put you on the map and dictate the future of your site. But those cases are extremely rare. The real challenge is figuring out to make an article that makes people want to re-visit your site. But when you get high on Digg, you can see sprinkles of traffic for a year.

    If Stumbleupon didn’t have no-follow tags, that would be nice.

  8. By Terry Reeves - Mr Unkie to you on Dec 8, 2007 | Reply

    Jimbo, I have had the same effect with Stumble. I have a photo blog that I manage for a friend and every time I stumble a post, that same post gets visitor spikes several times over the following weeks. Photos are popular on Stumble and the traffic is nice but they definitely are not shoppers.

  9. By Shell Harris on Dec 11, 2007 | Reply

    We don’t use StumbleUpon as a strategic SEO tactic, but we do Stumble when it makes sense, for both our clients and us. I do Stumble things I find interesting as well and so should everyone, finding and linking is the backbone of the Internet.

  10. By John on Jul 21, 2008 | Reply

    Is there any way you can check how many social networking sites link to your site in the same way you can check the number of inbound links from search engines?

  11. By Shell Harris on Jul 27, 2008 | Reply

    John – This tool will categorize many backlinks for you including those from Social sites: It appears to be limited though.

    I don’t know of any social backlink checkers. Anyone else know?

  12. By Delicious Monsters on Jan 5, 2009 | Reply

    I have on occasion see this same effect.

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  2. Apr 30, 2008: Digg-ing Links

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