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Tumblr Introduces Sponsored Posts Following Yahoo! Buy-Out

Now, users' feeds will be interspersed with posts from companies paying to promote their content. This is a significant development for a site that previously didn’t have much advertising to speak of, and it’s certainly food for thought for your department and its clients.

Lately, Yahoo! has been all over the news for making major moves to stay relevant in the ever-changing Internet landscape. First came the company’s July 2012 announcement of Marissa Meyer as the new CEO, and then her controversial elimination of employee telecommuting this past February. At the end of May, the company made headlines once again, this time for its staggering $1.1 billion purchase of the blogging platform, Tumblr. This was a strategic attempt at connecting Yahoo! with the younger audience that populates Tumblr, but it does not go without changes to the beloved site.

Only a couple weeks passed after the acquisition when Tumblr announced it would begin incorporating sponsored posts into users’ dashboard streams. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, upon entering the site, users are greeted by a feed of posts from bloggers they follow, which is called the “dashboard.” But now, those feeds will be interspersed with posts from companies paying to promote their content. This is a significant development for a site that previously didn’t have much advertising to speak of, and it’s certainly food for thought for your department and its clients.

Beforehand, Tumblr only included one sponsored post on users’ dashboards, called the "radar." It was found on the right-hand, lower corner of the page, separated from the stream of regular posts — a location easily overlooked by users. Now, according to Tumblr’s statement, sponsored content will “blend in with the posts from the blogs you follow.” However, the new format distinguishes sponsored posts with a small dollar sign icon. TechCrunch reported that the site intends to cap the number of sponsored posts in users’ dashboards at four per day, but this could grow in the future.

What do these new advertising opportunities mean exactly? They carry the same amount of importance they have for other social media and microblogging platforms. These sites already offer brands the chance to engage their existing clients and potentially convert new ones. The added bonus of advertising guarantees that participating brands will connect with a significant portion of the site’s users. In Tumblr’s case, it’s an invaluable opportunity to connect with the site’s 300 million unique visitors per month.

Major brands have already agreed to be Tumblr’s advertising guinea pigs. One successful account was MTV and its sponsored post promoting the premiere of its TV show, “Teen Wolf.” The post became wildly popular, receiving more than 40,000 likes and reblogs from users. It’s important to note that MTV’s post most likely succeeded due to its ability to blend in with content that is typically found on Tumblr. The “Teen Wolf” post simply included screen cap GIFs from the show. While Tumblr users are free to make text-only, photo and video posts as well as link to outside websites, GIFs are extremely popular amidst the site’s users. MTV recognized that and leveraged it. Simply put, they knew the demographic, played to their interests and reaped the benefits.

Between the Yahoo! acquisition and the new changes in advertising, the blogging site is well on its way to joining the likes of Twitter and Facebook at the top of the social media and blogging ranks. Therefore, it’s crucial that you and your advertisers get on board with Tumblr. While your clients may not have deep enough pockets to make big advertising buys on Tumblr, it’s something worth considering and understanding. Moreover, you and your advertisers should be creating Tumblr presences in order to reach that highly sought-after demographic between 18 and 34.

If we’ve convinced you of the importance of Tumblr, then go ahead and check out our article on how brands can effectively use the site for promotion!