Mark Milian’s LA Times piece from April 2010, ‘Tumblr: We’re pretty opposed to advertising’, quoted company founder David Karp as saying, “…it really turns our stomachs”, when talking about monetizing the now 6-year old company with advertising. But since then things have changed, and Tumblr announced via AdAge early Monday, they will start showing native ads on their mobile platforms for iOS and Android.
According to AdAge’s Cotton Delo, advertisers picked to kick-off Tumblr’s new foray into a growing mobile ad market include GE, Warner Bros. and ABC. Perhaps an anecdotal indication that Karp’s stomach doesn’t turn at the thought of using advertising to monetize anymore, is the lack of any Pepto ads to kick things off. But more likely, it’s this months recent eMarketer report showing that mobile ads will be a $7.29 billion opportunity in 2013, and will continue to grow to $16 billion in 2015. This, along with pressure from a board of directors, who i’m guessing is expecting that monetizing via the native advertising route on it’s mobile apps, instead of some of the previous monetization mishaps is a win for them. The one thing that did resonate was the theme marketplace, where designers can sell custom Tumblr themes with the company getting a cut. This actually proved to be unobtrusive and actually benefit the designer, and Tumblr community as well as generate revenue.
And some of the biggest money-makers with mobile ads, at least in terms of social/mobile publishers, are some that also held out on rolling out native ads for their mobile apps. Companies like Twitter and Facebook didn’t roll out native mobile ads until last year, and whose revenue share is now 7.3% and 21.1% respectively for 2012. eMarketer speculates that the rapid success of both Facebook and Twitter in the space is in large part due to their native ad formats, something Tumblr plans to do as well.
In a statement to AdAge, Tumblr head of sales Lee Brown said, “This mobile advertising opportunity is native to how our consumers experience content on our apps; as a continuous stream.”
The ad image for the new movie, The Great Gatsby (above gif) shows how you can tell which stories are ads, as they are denoted with the word ‘sponsored’ and the dollar sign on the top right. Users can reblog, like or interact with this sponsored content just as they would any other Tumblr post. According to an earlier article in CNET, “Tumblr powers more than 100 million blogs and sees more than 90 million posts created each day,” said Karp, who also bragged previously at a PaidContent event that, “…members spend, on average, 14 minutes per visit,” which as noted by CNET is higher than competitors Facebook and Twitter.
For more information about the new changes, you can read the Staff Blog post over at Tumblr here.
Article first published as Tumblr to Start Showing Ads in Android & iOS Mobile Apps on Technorati.