What’s the Hottest Thing for Millennials in Social Media?
One word: Tumblr. There are 29.2 million unique monthly visitors reposting and liking 102 million Tumblr blogs that create 6.6 billion page views per month as of March, 2013, according to Comscore. The most compelling stat about Tumblr is that almost one-half of its audience is in the coveted 18-34 year old age group, who use the space to create a visual, quick take blog with an instant, viral audience of their peers.
Yet, only a small percentage of brands have a presence on Tumblr, and of those brands, much of the content is limited and inactive. Perhaps, unlike other social web machines, Tumblr has never made it easy to market to its audience, but with the recent purchase of Tumblr from Yahoo, that could soon change.
In 5 short years since the launch, founder, David Karp, who started the site at the ripe old age of 22 has burned through over $125 million in venture capital, finally agreeing to sell the company for $1.1 billion to Yahoo – a site in desperate need of relevance and in need of a social marketing platform. And now, Tumblr will be expected to monetize its huge audience, something Mr. Karp was reticent to do.
Some say that Tumblr is the space young Millennials migrated to after their parents infiltrated Facebook. Its tag line is, “Follow the world’s creators,” and that’s what the community of Tumblr strives to do – let users create, follow and be followed, either autonomously or publically. They have their own shorthand language and do not even want Tumblr mentioned in the public arena for fear it will be found out and commercialized. So their recent grumblings about the Yahoo purchase have been widely documented.
As a mid-point between Twitter and regular long-form blogs, Tumblr makes publishing GIFs, memes, photos, videos, quotes, deep thoughts and quirky humor not only easy, but beautifully art directed. In fact, the tool itself is a quick and easy form of art direction at a moment’s notice, but it also allows you to create your own custom theme. One blogger explained Tumblr this way: “If blogs are journals, Tumblr is a scrapbook.”
But how do brands interact with Millennials wishing to stay under the radar from commercialism? A brand with the moxy to join in with this community would be wise to engage the right talent and empower that team to interpret the brand authentically. The secret sauce is to tell a story or develop a “hook” to be noticed and accepted in an authentic way – faking it will be found out fast.
Brands must be prepared to carry an on-going conversation with some very savvy people, create a presence, use very compelling interactivity and deliver all this in a very clever way – whether the brand is known as “cool” brand or not.
The bottom line is that you can’t simply “do” Tumblr, you have to “get” Tumblr. Industries like entertainment, publishing, pop-culture Web sites, fashion and food seem to dominate the space, but even surprisingly “uncool” brands like Denny’s have been successful at being embraced by the Tumblr community. With its quirky humor and free bacon giveaways, Tumblr users have embraced the diner. One user remarked, “They play in the community and I think they really enjoy it.” Other brands that have won the Shorty Awards for best Tumblr blogs are BBC America, Sephora, Disney, NPR and Coca Cola.
Tumblr’s only advertising opportunity, beyond creating a blog presence (which is free) is their recent move to offer advertisers the ability to buy an ad unit on Tumblr Radar, a space that appears on the blogger’s dashboard and “highlights” top blogger posts and receives approximately 120 million impression a day. Entry level cost to commit to this is a whopping $25,000 and Tumblr is picky about the creative, of course.
A sales executive from the company expresses it best, “We are constantly delighted by the creative ways that brands use Tumblr, and are confident that the world’s greatest marketers and media companies will use these products to set a new bar for creative advertising on the web.” Of course, as a marketer, your ability to create a successful strategy for hanging with Tumblr Millennials will be judged by with this emerging audience and, as always with online ventures, you’ll the feedback you get will be immediate.