Tumblr Mobile Ads On The Way, Soon

Tumblr has finally started to monetize its mobile application, more or less the same way it does on its non-mobile site. The network, which now hosts over 100 million blogs, expects to turn its first profit ever in 2013, six years after its launch.

A few months ago, Tumblr began allowing advertisers to pay for better placement of their ads. Users can also pay to "pin" a post to the top of their followers' dashboards, keeping it from being buried under a pile of more recent entries. Over the last six months, the number of users on Tumblr's mobile app has nearly quadrupled, so in the next three months, Tumblr has been looking for companies who will debut the advertising model.

Tumblr still does not display ads as is traditional on other websites; rather, it allows companies to widen the reach of their official blogs, Vice President of Tumblr Derek Gottfrid told Bloomberg. The average amount spent on blog promotion is "just under six figures," said Lee Brown, head of sales, and companies who buy the option will be thrown for a loop. "Marketers have become accustomed to buying scale as opposed to earning it," he explained. "We're not really selling ads, we're promoting their content."

Rather than a regular ad campaign based on keywords and funneling advertisements at users, the companies are expected to come up with their own content to draw in followers. Coca Cola, for instance, used a series of photos based on its "open happiness" theme, featuring simple art such as pen drawings on shoes or gifs of a dancing polar bear in a red Coca Cola scarf. Other corporations such as Target, Adidas, Lions Gate Entertainment and Christian Dior have also paid for promotions. The reach of a post is measured by the number of times users have "liked" and "reblogged" it.

Users have options to "like" and "reblog" posts they find entertaining, or worth keeping. Liking a post adds it to a personal, easily accessible repository of liked posts, and reblogging it publishes the entry to a user's own blog, where that person's followers will also see it. Coca Cola has fully embraced Tumblr's culture of using gifs to emote, and has taken advantage of the Internet's propensity toward funny or cute animations to garner itself a solid base on Tumblr.

“We’re not bringing them a template or format to complete,” Brown said of this advertising strategy, which forces companies to be thoughtful and original about the content they choose to offer. “We’re giving them a canvas. That takes a lot of time and a lot of thought.”

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