Native on Tumblr? What you need to know before you start

March 9, 2016Uncategorized
Kristel Tamkivi,  Native & Social Account Executive

Kristel Tamkivi, Native & Social Account Executive

I have been an undercover Tumblr user for years, and never really told anybody about it. It’s like a whole alternate life I’m having on there: I don’t think or talk about it, or expect my friends to engage with what I post. I don’t even have any ‘friends’ on Tumblr, just a bunch of overly talented strangers I follow who post dreamy-artsy things I like. Why? Because it’s like nursing your alter ego, underground, but online, along with the other 300 million unique visitors a month. Yes, it’s just that weird and contradictory.

Getting to know Tumblr

Anyway, so you want to put your stuff on Tumblr? Good. In this case, the more the better, and the more crazy, eclectic and out of this world, the awesome-r. I could go on and get all emo over this, but I won’t – this is a business blog after all.

Tumblr is a collection of sub-communities and the home of hardcore fans of pretty much anything. Basically, if you’re a hardcore fan of something, you have a Tumblr blog as a universal fact. Currently, there are around 200 million blogs with half run by people younger than 25.

Appealing to the lucrative unicorns

The Marketer’s Guide to Tumblr makes two very important points: 1) focus on the very tight niche market, and 2) this is not a dumping ground for marketers.

So, to make your ad dollars deliver the results you need, think like your wacky alter ego. The requirement here is to forget about corporate anything and go for the crazy and creative, as the something-for-everyone approach won’t work on this network. Read more about the culture and language of Tumblr.

Want to look authentic too? Exude passion and pride in what ‘you do’ – if it’s tech, you have to be the nerdy IT guy who’s probably into comic books bigtime as well. If it’s food and recipes, you have to be the food blogger and stylist that’s just broken the internet. If it’s fashion, keep branding to a minimum and sport the street style that’s so unique it’s almost impossible to replicate.


How to native

If ‘getting it’ may be a bit of a struggle, then setting up a presence on Tumblr is easy. There are now campaign pages for brands that don’t have a blog, with ad products and posts still appearing in users’ dashboards.

There’s text, chat, quote, audio, video and photo posts to choose from, and ‘going viral’ is a real possibility thanks to a generous sharing function.

If you’re looking for a more consistent presence, setting up a blog is relatively easy too, with no coding skills required. See more about how brands can native on Tumblr, here and an example of how IBM is doing it, here.

Trending blog placements are a coveted spot for brands, or otherwise go with the sponsored posts in the dashboard aka newsfeed, giving you access to properties as well as Tumblr users. Here’s a good digest of seven big brands doing native right with different types of ad products. If you have the budget, you can run your own sponsored day, where you (yes, you guessed it) own a day on the Tumblr dashboard.