Like many online marketers, we view StumbleUpon as a valuable tool to promote fresh content. With the help of Google Analytics, I've noticed an interesting pattern that has occurred enough times now that I don't believe it can be viewed as a coincidence. This pattern offers some insight into how the StumbleUpon service delivers content, which is mostly a mystery to its dedicated base of users.
If you don't know, StumbleUpon is a popular platform for sharing content on the Web. The basis of the system is a toolbar that features "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" icons. This toolbar also features a random "Stumble" button, which takes the user to a random page that has received thumbs up votes from members of the community with similar interests. If a piece of content gets voted up and builds up steam, it can be delivered to thousands of Stumblers in a day. Today, StumbleUpon has something in the nature of 8-10 million users.
We often submit new posts from the CommonPlaces blog to the StumbleUpon service, and sometimes, they take off. The effect of this is more or less instantaneous, and if successful, the blog post will receive hundreds of Stumbleupon visits on that day that it is submitted. However, what I began to notice was that these successful stories would often have a second spike of traffic from StumbleUpon. Exactly one month later. Here are some examples:
In all of these cases, the second spike was exactly one month later, and though smaller than the first, came after 30 days of very little activity.
What does this mean? It seems clear that, unless this is repeated coincidence, there is something in StumbleUpon's algorithm that cycles content after one month, and puts it back into stumbling circulation. Have you noticed this phenomenon with your own content? If you are willing to give this post a "thumbs up" vote, we can test the theory with this very post!