Tumblr is home to approximately 55.5 million blogs, which average 16 billion page views a month. Last summer, the little-known micro-blogging platform quietly surpassed WordPress.com — host to blogs for CNN, the NFL and TED, among others — in terms of the number of blogs each site hosts; Possibly more impressive though is the platform’s growth rate: its user-base tripled in the span of one year, causing savvy social media brands such as the Ace Hotel and J.Crew to take notice. But it’s not only brands that are associated with trend-making and a certain youthfulness that have found success on Tumblr. So, too, have brands such as Huggies, IBM, the Economist and NBC Nightly News. Add to this the scores of celebrities (Lady Gaga and Katy Perry) and entertainment (Comedy Central, IFC and Sesame Street) and news brands (ABC World News, CNN Money Tech and NPR) jumping on the Tumblr wagon, and it’s understandable why marketers are falling for Tumblr. Despite this growth, Tumblr has remained opposed to advertising, until last month at Ad Age’s Digital Conference when Tumblr Founder/CEO David Karp mentioned an advertising platform. Perhaps it’s time for Tumblr to grow up even more?
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like a good time for brands to take a tumble. Tumblr mimics the pace of consumer culture in a new way, and it’s time to join the hustle.
By no means, however, should brands abandon their blogs, Facebook accounts or Twitter feeds. Smart brands use each platform for related, but ultimately different reasons. The brands finding the most success on Tumblr use it to share information in different ways, which are largely visual. Consider this fictitious example using a fictitious brand of laundry soap:
Think of Tumblr as one part blog host, one part social network. Users manage what’s commonly called a “Tumblog”, and similar to Facebook and Twitter, there’s a feed-like stream of one’s own posts as well as posts from the Tumblogs they follow. Truly, it’s the content that makes one’s Tumblog unique. Successful posts are photo-driven and succinct, and Tumblr makes them easy to repost or share. With Tumblr offering apps for iOS and Android, be sure, people are. Whether that will change should the platform take on adverting remains to be seen. When Facebook and Twitter faced similar challenges, brand building continued to tumble along.