Tumblr’s favourite Data Analyst Busts 7 Mysteries About How It Actually Works

hayes davis
Union Metrics’ Hayes Davis

[credit provider=”Union Metrics”]

In October, Union Metrics partnered with Tumblr to provide full-blown analytics of the blog site for marketers. Tumblr’s user dashboard gives only minimal data on how successful a Tumblr account is with its audience. But as a member of Tumblr’s A-List of agencies, and as Tumblr’s sole analytics provider, Union Metrics now gets “full access to their firehose of data,” CEO Hayes Davis tells us.We spoke with Davis recently, and he described some of the misperceptions about life for advertisers on Tumblr.

1. Reach on Tumblr is sometimes greater than reach on Twitter. Union Metrics measures both platforms. Although Twitter is the bigger platform, certain brands and types of content can get much more engagement on Tumblr, Davis says. “We’ve seen similar volumes of conversations on Tumblr [to that of Twitter] and in some cases increased volumes of conversations in certain categories” such as fashion, Davis says.

2. No, you can’t find out how many followers you have. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where there’s an obsession with collecting fans and followers, it’s very difficult to figure out how many total fans you have on Tumblr. That’s deliberate, Davis says. “They don’t want to get into that follower account madness that maybe Twitter has,” Davis says. “Tumblr keeps followers private.”

3. ROI metrics aren’t there yet. Tumblr is for brands who want to publish interesting content frequently, and keep their fans engaged. It’s not for direct sales, Davis says. “It’s the wrong point in time to ask what is the ROI for a brand.”

4. It’s not a blog, it’s a social network. “They’re perceived as an alternative to WordPress or a blogging platform,” Davis says. But actually, “it’s an enormous social network. People read Tumblr like they read Twitter.” (There are 60-80 million new posts per day.)

5. There is less porn on Tumblr than you think. Tumblr is often accused of being filled with X-rated material that advertisers shy away from. But Davis says that Tumblr gets “kind of a bad rap” for that. Like Twitter,  “there’s a dark underbelly there too,” but “most people’s experience of Tumblr is based on who they follow. Any user’s experience will be tailored by that user.” Among advertisers, he says, “That question has never come up. I don’t think there’s a lot of concern about it.”

7. Tumblr is for large enterprise organisations as well as individual bloggers. Most people think that Tumblr users are lone creative types, or companies that take a boutique approach to content publishing. But Union Metrics’ primary customers are corporations with enterprise needs, Davis says.