Tumblr Introduces Sponsored Posts

Alex Baker
Alex Baker Editor, Yahoo Sports

Posted on May 31st 2013

Tumblr Introduces Sponsored Posts

Barely a week has passed since Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion dollars and already the micro-blogging network has introduced sponsored posts to its desktop news feed for the first time.

TumblrThe new sponsored posts on Tumblr essentially resemble any other piece of content found on the site, except that they’re labeled with a dollar sign in the upper right hand corner, indicating sponsorship. As with any piece of Tumblr content, users will be able to favorite or reblog sponsored posts if they want to.

Among the early sponsors to have already jumped onboard with the program are Denny’s, Ford, Viacom, Universal Pictures, Capital One, Purina, and AT&T.

This is not exactly Tumblr’s first foray into sponsored content. Last year the network began offering advertising on its Radar, a section of the Tumblr dashboard visible to all users on the network. And about a month ago the Tumblr introduced sponsored posts into its mobile interface.

But this latest move, coming a mere 10 days after the network was acquired by Yahoo, seems to be drawing more scrutiny from a user-base who are already on the verge of hiding under their desks and proclaiming that the sky is falling.

Tumblr users can perhaps be forgiven for being so skittish towards advertising. After all, speaking to the Los Angeles Times in April of 2010, Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp went on record as saying the network “was pretty opposed to advertising.”

However, as economic realities and the growing realization that it takes money to operate and grow a website set in, Karp and co. seem to have increasingly warmed to the prospect of cashing in on the millions of sets of eyes drawn to the platform every day.

According to Tumblr, the sponsored posts have already racked up about 10 million likes and reblogs on mobile.

“We have been overwhelmed by the incredibly positive response to our advertising approach – from both Tumblr users and our partners,” said Tumblr’s Global Head of Sales, Lee Brown.

But as you might expect, reactions from actual Tumblr users on social media to the sponsored posts has been much less positive, with many users proclaiming that the site is “ruined,” “turning into Facebook,” or things to that effect.

Many users have been quick to point the finger at Yahoo. However, it’s more likely that the sponsored ads were already road mapped as part of Tumblr’s plan to monetize.

Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Editor, Yahoo Sports

Alex Baker is a blogger, journalist, editor and copywriter who is equally comfortable working in the editorial world or as an in-house brand journalist. Although he is generally pretty up-to-date about the latest developments in social media marketing he needs to remember to update his Twitter more often. You can find Alex on Google+.

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Comments

mathewaporter
Posted on June 1st 2013 at 11:50AM

This is an ever increasing tactic for social networks to generate income and monitise their services, I dont find it very obtrusive on Twitter, but Facebook's integration mounts the anouying, mass amounts of dross on my timeline.

Alex Baker
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 4:34PM

You're so right Mathew. It's easy to see why Tumblr users are nervous, looking at what Facebook's mobile feed has become.