I used to really enjoy using StumbleUpon as a means for social book-marking, learning about new sites and helping to drive traffic to my blog. Around April 17th, StumbleUpon removed the audience feature. Pronet Advertising has a nice write up about all this. The reason cited for the move was that Audience apparently had an adverse effect on SEO. Lame.
Shortly after April 17th I realized that the only reason I had previously chosen StumbleUpon over del.icio.us was because StumbleUpon gave me incentive for using it. One a given day 15-25% of my blog’s traffic came from StumbleUpon and the amount of traffic was usually proportionate to my audience count. Thus I had the incentive to add new sites and interact with people to keep my audience up and thus traffic coming my way.
A few days later, I dropped StumbleUpon and moved exclusively to del.icio.us. Within two weeks I noticed that hardly any traffic came to my blog from Stumble and for the past few weeks I have not had any Stumblers whatsoever. Perhaps not coincidentally, the removal of the audience feature was right around the time that StumbleUpon was acquired by eBay.
Today, I decided to look at Compete and test my theory that other users, like me, might be leaving the service or using it significantly less often. On Compete I first examined Site Visitors. Unsurprisingly, those are still high as the deal with eBay undoubtedly produced some good PR.
However, when I looked at Engagement (not how many people visited the site, but how much people actually used it) my theory started getting legs. Here is the Average Stay Per Visitor ’â€œ obviously the more people use the system, the higher this should be:
Next is Average Pages Per Visit. Again, the more use the system gets should correlate to the numbers of pages each visitor looks at.
Overall, these trends seem to confirm that StumbleUpon (or should I say eBay) shot itself in the foot when they eliminated the Audience count. Live and learn.