Digital & Social Media

Tumblr Finds a New Identity, Thanks to Facebook


What Happened:Tumblr may be coming into its own, thanks ironically to Facebook. The frustrations brands are feeling over Facebook’s pressure to advertise if you want to reach your followers is allowing Tumblr to promote itself to brands looking for longer and more earned engagement. Marketers now judge the effectiveness of a Facebook post within the first 15 minutes, while a third of a Tumblr post’s engagement comes a month after it was first published, Lee Brown, Tumblr’s global head of brand partnerships, told Digiday. The new strategy has already attracted brands, such as Cadillac and JCPenney.

Though brands also regard Twitter as a good source of earned engagement, they recognize the ephemeral quality of the engagement. Tumblr is pushing up against these bigger competitors because of its “unique mix of video, text and image-sharing tools” and the bonds it fosters between TV shows and audiences, Brown argued.

Sadly for Tumblr, this new loyalty hasn’t translated into advertising, Digiday points out. Even brands like Cadillac working to create a presence on Tumblr haven’t abandoned Facebook advertising or looked to Tumblr to spend ad dollars.

What This Means for Brands: A 15-second ad may be enough to encourage the thought of a purchase, but Tumblr can continue conversations about an advertisement, television show, or product beyond the fast-paced banner ads that are prevalent today. A banner ad on Facebook may in fact represent nothing more than “display ads on steroids,” as the JCPenney director of mobile and social marketing remarked recently. For brands, this is yet another wakeup call to avoid complacency when it comes to social and recognize that going pure paid on social may not get you a sustained relationship with your audiences. Social is a nuanced conversation with many stakeholders simultaneously, not just a marketing platform.

Contributing to current TRENDING items are Bram Berkowitz, Natalie Hensley, Chelsea Lowe, Caroline Michelman, Tom Pompei and Daniel J. Sheehan.