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Summary:

Web discovery engine StumbleUpon is now the biggest traffic driver among social media websites in the US, according to global web analytics service StatCounter. The company unseated Facebook at the top during June 2011 .The ten-year-old StumbleUpon has been working diligently at its comeback since 2009.

StatCounter social media July 2011


Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share

For months, Facebook has been the biggest social media site that drives web traffic in the United States. Those days are over– for the moment, at least.

Web discovery engine StumbleUpon is now the biggest traffic driver among social media websites in the US, according to global web analytics service StatCounter. The company unseated Facebook at the top during June 2011, according to the latest StatCounter social media data. StatCounter tracks hits to over 3 million websites, and its social media data is gathered by analyzing every hit referred by a social media site.

This is certainly not StumbleUpon’s first brush with Internet fame. The company, which finds and recommends relevant web content, was originally founded in 2001 and sold to eBay for $75 million in 2007. But like so many big M&A deals, the acquisition did not go as smoothly as hoped. In 2009, StumbleUpon co-founders Garrett Camp and Geoff Smith bought the company back along with a group of investors.

In the two years since then, the company has been working quietly and diligently at its comeback. StumbleUpon closed on a $17 million funding round in March to expand its product offerings to the mobile and television spaces. The company has also been working on its revenue strategy, with the development of a “paid discovery” offering for advertisers. StumbleUpon briefly surpassed Facebook in StatCounter hits for two weeks back in February, but Facebook quickly regained the top spot.

This time, StumbleUpon’s turnaround is gaining traction at exactly the same time that Facebook’s new user numbers are reportedly slowing down, and Twitter seems to be dealing with stickiness problems. Clearly, something about StumbleUpon’s strategy is working very well. It remains to be seen how long StumbleUpon can retain the top spot — its competitors in the social media space aren’t known for going down without a fight.

  1. I highly doubt this is true. There is one thing not being considered in the study, and that is facebook now uses HTTPS, which doesn’t pass referral information to the target site.

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    1. Spot on!

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    2. Still I doubt how many shall be using https by default.

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    3. Very true, but the HTTPS only came in recently, did it not, or was it tested in the US before reaching here in Europe? My point is, the decline started for FB near the end of March… just a thought.

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    4. Colleen Taylor Thursday, July 7, 2011

      Thanks for the comment Mohannnad.

      That’s a good point about HTTPS. But from what I can tell, Facebook re-directs its HTTPS traffic through a non-HTTPS referrer, facebook.com/l.php. It passes along anonymized refer information, but does preserve the fact that the visitor came from Facebook.

      Google+ has HTTPS and does a similar thing to track referrals, which Louis Gray details here: http://blog.louisgray.com/2011/07/google-referral-traffic-possible-to.html

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  2. Hi Colleen,

    Good news for the StumbleUpon team…they’re doing something right. And, it’s a great comeback story.

    Clearly something’s happened to Facebook since April 2011, but I’m not counting them out just yet…especially considering Facebook having more than 500 Million active users, half logging in every day, and them spending 700 Billion minutes per month using Facebook. I would be surprised if Facebook’s trend line keeps going down.

    Don Roberts

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  3. I really like StumbleUpon. It’s a great way to surf the web and find sites you probably otherwise never would’ve found. It definitely opened the door of the world wide web. It looks like more people are seeing the powers of it. I think the paid discovery will be a great thing for webmasters too.

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  4. the only thing that is constant is change. FB being on top has nowhere to go but down.. while others who used to be on top will claw their way back or attempt to. social networking will continue to evolve, either as the next innovation or the next hype.

    one thing to note is, i recently started receiving mails from stumbleupon. many others probably had too, and that probably hit its mark given the demographics above.

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  5. Hi,
    weirdly it is the same period of the Google Panda Update (April)… which has given a big lift to “trusty-good-content” website when many other website have fallen in the serps. We all know that Facebook is note Google’s best friend…. :)

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  6. Not to rain on this parade, but practically every SEO consultant on the planet includes a massive StumbleUpon component in their proposals to prospective clients. It’s a cheap and dirty way to try to drive up PageRank.

    Not suggesting this accounts for all of the StumbleUpon traffic, but it may explain why StumbleUpon is outperforming its userbase.

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  7. This is good news for stumbleupon. thunmbs up for stumbleupon.

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  8. StumbleUpon is great dont be that fast all of us lets see whats will be with google +1 first we talk later on Θάσος Εξοχικές κατοικίες πώληση ακίνητα

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  9. Colleen:

    Interesting. Would be more interesting to know why that is the case. Any thoughts?

    Best,

    Natascha

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  10. Hard to believe

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