Tumblr Introduces Sponsored Posts

Dior Sponsored Post

Tumblr started the 2014 by introducing a major upgrade to their advertising features: sponsored posts are now powered by Yahoo Advertising.

Tumblr introduced in-stream sponsored posts for their mobile application in April 2013, and brought them to their website in May 2013. These ads look like any other posts in a user’s dashboard, but have a dollar icon in the top-right corner to indicate that they are paid advertisements.

Same Ads, Better Tech

Tumblr founder David Karp mentioned the upgrade to sponsored posts during Yahoo’s keynote presentation at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). He clarified that the actual ads and the tools used to create them won’t change, but their infrastructure will change and give advertisers access to “a bevy of new technologies.” A blog post by Tumblr’s Sales and Brand Strategy team highlighted some of the key features the new service provides:

  • Advertisers can now use gender and location to deliver more accurate and relevant content
  • Only Reblogs, Likes, follows, or clicks made directly from the Sponsored Post itself will be charged.
  • Advertisers can “try out different creative approaches”, Tumblr will determine which one performs best
  • New analytics tools now report demographic data

The Benefits of Sponsored Tumblr Posts

Tumblr advertising shows great promise for brands. Aside from Karp’s claim that sponsored posts are reblogged about 10,000 times on average, Tumblr’s Sales and Brand Strategy team shared the following statistics:

  • 60% of users who’ve seen Sponsored Posts find the content fun, engaging, and high quality
  • 70% of consumers perceive a brand more favorably after seeing a Sponsored Post
  • 50% of users who saw Sponsored Posts researched the sponsor afterward

User Reactions

Most social networks face a lot of angry users whenever they announce anything related to social media advertising, and Tumblr users reacted no differently. Several users complained that they don’t want to see ads at all in their dashboards, and that they preferred the way Tumblr was before Yahoo was in charge. “How about no… and where are they getting these numbers?” one user asked after reblogging Tumblr’s announcement. Other users support the decision, with one pointing out he or she likes “how [Tumblr is] rolling with this, ads in our Dash that we can easily just scroll by within seconds,” adding that it’s “Better this than banner ads everywhere.”

The beauty of Tumblr ads is they are high-quality and not as intrusive or irrelevant as some website’s banner or text ads are. Perhaps with a little more refining and a few more tweaks, users will come to appreciate (or at least accept) Tumblr’s monetization efforts.

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