Modern Social Bookmarking – Not Your Older Brother’s Social Bookmark of Years Past

In 2011, there was a cleansing of sort in the social bookmarking/sharing world. Some of the larger social news sites over the past four years (e.g., Mixx and Yahoo Buzz) were retired and another (Digg) was on a serious decline. Let’s dive deeper into the changes, trends, successes, and audiences for the 2012 social bookmark landscape.


The ‘Social Bookmark Site Swing’

As you can see from the above graph from late 2010 thru June 2011, Digg was the clear social news/bookmark champion. Digg controlled the lion share of the social front.

Mixx and Yahoo Buzz were still contributing content members (no pun intended) as well. This trend continued through about mid 2011 when Digg began to lose share, while Mixx and Yahoo Buzz closed up shop. By the end of 2011, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and Pinterest (a 2011 new entry) began to emerge as dominant players in the social news/bookmark space.

Notice a trend here? All the sites that outgrew the old channels were more community based with stronger visual ties (with the exception of Reddit). Pinterest and Stumbleupon are both strong visual social news sharing portals, whereas Reddit prides itself on a strong organic community base.

Who & How to Social Share in These Channels in 2012

“Know thy audience.” Now more than ever, it’s of the utmost importance to cater the social sharing of content with the audience that will listen and engage with it.

Reddit Audience

The Reddit audience is predominantly male (70 percent), 61 percent of viewers are between 18 and 34, and 62 percent of the audience makes roughly $60,000 a year or more, according to comScore. The type of content you would share with the Reddit audience should be vastly different from the content you would share with a Pinterest viewer.

Ideas for Success

Ideas should include funny and/or original pictures or honest cutting-edge content perspectives on current events to spark conversation with others. Strong comments and following up on posts in this medium are critical to engaging the audience.

Another approach to try is asking for honest product feedback from Redditors who have interest in your marketplace. Microsoft is a perfect example of a company that succeeds with this tactic. Reddit is made up of real people who watch the site closely and want to keep Reddit as an organic, social sharing community.

Campaign Success Example

Microsoft, a company that has had brand issues in the past, reached out on Reddit and asked for feedback about its IE9 browser back in 2010 and was greeted with a lot of engagement from Reddit.

Pinterest Audience

A Pinterest audience is predominantly female (68 percent), 57 percent of viewers are between 18 and 34, and 57 percent of the user base makes at least $60,000 annually, according to comScore.

Ideas for Success

Pinterest is based on online scrapbooks and pictures that you share with people. You build your following similar to Twitter and Facebook by following and friending people.

Some ideas to spark interest could include a vacation scrapbook you could share if you were an online vacation booking engine, or a scrapbook of images to share about a day trip to Disneyland. If your business is a food site, you might try creating a recipe scrapbook to spark engagement with the Pinterest user base.

Campaign Success Example

Whole Foods is an organic food company with brick-and-mortar retail stores. It has had great success on Pinterest. Whole Foods built scrapbooks for followers around recipes, creative holiday projects, kitchen designs, and eco-friendly practices. Here’s a link to the company’s Pinterest account where you can review its approach and success.

StumbleUpon Audience

A StumbleUpon audience is predominantly male (60 percent), 60 percent of its viewers are between 18 and 34, and 58 percent of the audience earns $60,000 a year or more, according to comScore. The type of content you would share with this audience should differ vastly from what you would share with a Pinterest viewer.

Ideas for Success

This audience is heavily based on visually stimulating content; in general visual content achieves the best results. Heavy content doesn’t do as well on this medium as say Reddit.

Interesting infographics, interactive pieces, and videos all do well on this medium. Think about an interesting piece like a timeline graph (perhaps something about Whitney Houston, which is topical right now).

Campaign Success Example

The University of Phoenix took advantage of education trends in an interesting interactive piece that was picked up by StumbleUpon.


With a change in the landscape from last year to this one, the keys to success for social bookmarking sites in 2012 revolves around:

  • Understanding your audience (demographic data).
  • Creating content that fits the medium you’re targeting.
  • Looking at the successes of other brands and emulating or building from it.
  • Seeking out and engaging with users in the mediums who could become brand advocates.
  • Researching emerging trends and behaviors that might trigger the next round change for new social sharing news sites going into 2013. (Good sources include Google Trends and comScore)

Taking these factors into consideration will lead to more success and hopefully more viral sharing on other media, along with additional traffic and link equity for your sites and web pages.

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