Tumblr is a significant property in terms of pageviews without much ad revenue yet to show for it.
In November, CEO David Karp told GigaOm that the blog platform was now serving 20 billion page views per month, up from 15 billion earlier in the year. (Facebook, for comparison, generates more than 1 trillion pageviews per month.)
Tumblr revenue still hasn’t pierced the $100 million-mark. In 2012, it booked only $13 million in revenue. It expects to ramp up to $100 million by year-end.
Tumblr currently has a few options to reach its highly engaged user base, which has a high proportion of users in their teens and early twenties, desirable demographics for many advertisers. (See chart, above.)
It offers Tumblr Radar and Tumblr Spotlight to help sponsors showcase their content and get more followers or reblogs, which is when a Tumblr user reposts your content to their own followers, similar to a retweet.
Radar And Spotlight
Radar is on the right rail of the the dashboard (See image, right). Like Twitter’s suggested accounts, it does not only feature sponsors, but generally seeks to guide users to relevant content and deepen their engagement with the site.
Spotlight does a similar thing, highlighting accounts users may like based on topic.
Sponsors get top billing on the topic of their choice with a big splash:
Tumblr also offers another form of advertising called pinned posts, which lets users pay $5 to have their post pinned at the top of their followers dashboards for 24 hours. However, users can unpin the posts and you’re only allowed to pin one of your posts a day, which doesn’t make this a particularly effective form of advertising. Furthermore, brands often want to reach an audience beyond their current followers.
In April 2013, Tumblr launched its biggest advertising initiative to-date: mobile in-stream ads. It is the first time that it will allow advertisers access to its vaunted stream, where users see friends’ posts and their own.
The advertisements will look like regular posts and Tumblr says their users will see no more than four ads a day. Essentially, they are like Facebook’s page post ads or Twitter’s promoted tweets, further signifying a consensus around in-stream ads.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Like Twitter and Facebook, Tumblr is moving steadily toward an ad ecosystem focused on in-stream native ads that transfer well to mobile devices.
- If Tumblr’s plans to super-charge its ad efforts pan out, it will be an ad platform worth considering. More than Facebook or Twitter, it is a visual medium, and may allow brands greater creative freedom than the more mature social ad platforms.
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