By Savannah McClelland
Ten days after Tumblr’s acquisition by Yahoo, it has begun rolling out sponsored posts to users’ desktop Tumblr feeds (AKA dashboards). The roll-out is taking place approximately one month after Tumblr’s introduction of native advertising for mobile users.
The ad units appear the same way that a regular Tumblr post would, except that they are distinguished by a dollar sign icon in the top right corner. Users can interact with the sponsored posts the same way they would regular content; by reblogging and favoriting the posts. Thus far, seven advertisers appear to be participating in the initial offering: Ford, Viacom, Universal Pictures, Capital One, Purina, Denny’s and AT&T.
Tumblr has been quick to reassure users that the ads will not be invasive; as with the mobile launch, users will see a maximum of four sponsored posts a day on their desktop feeds. While advertisers have long been interested in the social blogging platform, the lack of analytics and targeting capabilities, along with the inability to pay for self-service ads except with a credit card, have previously hobbled efforts at advertising.
Tumblr is expected to generate a modest $15 million in ad revenue this year as part of the company’s push to achieve profitability. David Karp, Tumblr CEO, has previously said that he wants to ensure that advertising on the channel is done intelligently, with content as the emphasis rather than gimmicks. He has stressed that if companies want to advertise on Tumblr, their sponsored posts should be engaging and interesting enough for users to interact with.
From the way that Tumblr is rolling these capabilities out, it would appear that—with its base of about 300 million monthly users, many of whom are young—the blogging site could be the next major requirement for companies looking to promote their products and services online.