Corporate Eye

Tumblr Launches New Mobile Advertising Opportunity for Brands

Tumblr adsSince Yahoo! purchased Tumblr, there has been a big focus on monetizing the popular blogging platform. Earlier this year, Tumblr launched its first mobile advertising unit, Sponsored Mobile Posts, and now, brands can also purchase space through the new Sponsored Trending Blogs unit.

The new Sponsored Trending Blogs ad unit will appear in a popular area for mobile Tumblr users. CNET explains that Sponsored Trending Blogs, “will push advertisers’ Tumblr blogs in front of people checking out the Explore tab in the Tumblr for iOS and Android application.”

The Trending Blogs section of Tumblr debuted in July of this year and is a quick place for users to find popular, curated content from Tumblr’s editors. The Sponsored Trending Blogs will look just like non-sponsored content in the Explore tab of the Tumblr mobile app except for a dollar sign icon that will be used to disclose content has been paid for by a brand advertiser. Tumblr already uses this symbol to distinguish paid content, so the new native advertising of Sponsored Trending Blogs will be flagged similarly.

While Sponsored Trending Blogs won’t fully debut until January 2014, Tumblr has rolled out a soft launch with beta advertisers including Calvin Klein, Turner Broadcasting, Delta, Twentieth Century Fox, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Currently, Sponsored Trending Blog ad units are being sold at a flat fee, and according to Mashable, they will be targeted geographically but not demographically or behaviorally.

Tumblr’s focus on monetizing its mobile traffic shouldn’t come as a surprise. In February, Tumblr CEO David Karp told Mashable that mobile traffic was expected to overtake desktop traffic before the end of 2013. The company has come a long way since 2010 when Karp told The L.A. Times that Tumblr was “opposed to advertising” because it “turns our stomachs.”

Taking a look at the story from Yahoo’s perspective, Tumblr was a huge acquisition that cost a lot of money. Tumblr needs to bring in big revenue. For Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, failure is not an option.

Only time will tell if Tumblr users are willing to accept the various advertising units being rolled out. So far, results seem to be positive with ad units released previously. With over 153 million Tumblr blogs and over 100 million posts published on Tumblr each day, according to Venture Beat, Tumblr is certainly a place brands need to be.

Image: Josh James

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.