Tumblr unveils new ‘sponsored trending blogs’ ads for mobile

Image Credit: John Koetsier

Companies looking to connect with customers on one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world now have a new tool: sponsored trending blogs on Tumblr’s mobile apps.

The 153 million-blog juggernaut, now owned by Yahoo, adds over 100 million posts a day to its almost 70 billion total. Brands and companies such as Calvin Klein, Sony, and 20th Century Fox are among the first five advertisers to try out the new ad spot, which will position their Tumblr blogs among the most popular destinations on the microblogging site.

Tumblr adAnd they’re getting exclusive access for a day.

“We are running two spots a day, and it’s one placement,” a Tumblr representative told me. “You own the whole day.”

This is a soft launch, and the product will go live in January. It’s only for mobile right now, and it will be given “prominent placement” among the “most popular content” on the service. The ad unit includes the name of the advertiser — or the name of a movie, album, or product — a follow button so viewers can follow that blog and three images from recent blog posts.

A small, hard-to-see dollar icon ($) identifies the unit as an ad.

This is Tumblr’s fifth ad offering, joining Radar, Spotlight, Sponsored Mobile Posts, and Sponsored Web Posts. The blogging site-slash-budding-social network resisted monetization efforts for years, but has started experimenting with ads — slowly and carefully — since Yahoo bought it earlier this year. At the time, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw it up” with excessive monetization, a promise that, to date, she’s kept.

There’s no word on cost of the new ads — the Tumblr representative told me the company is not disclosing any numbers right now. But it is a single flat fee, not a cost-per-action or cost-per-impression charge.

And there’s currently no word on effectiveness, either.

When I asked what an advertisers could hope to expect from a Tumblr sponsored trending blog, and if the company had conducted any testing, she laughed.

“This is our test,” she said.

However, if Tumblr’s previous spots are any indication, ads in the trending blog section will do very well indeed — if a brand chooses the right kind of native, friendly, funny, and especially authentic approach. Tumblr believes in building an audience by engagement, the company said — likes and reblogs — and brands that know Tumblr and know what works on Tumblr are likely to do well.

“It’s popular area, so it’s a very great area to discover new blogs,” she said.


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