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Ever Wanted to Advertise on Tumblr?

  |  March 21, 2014   |  Comments

A look at the advertising options on Tumblr, including working with a Tumblr sales rep or going through the Google Display Network.

I love Tumblr. Granted, I’m a new-ish frequenter of the platform, but I’ve got the app on my phone, re-blogging, favorite-ing, and scrolling my way through Skeletor affirmations, otters, and Ryan Gosling with puppy pictures with reckless abandon. I can blow through 15 minutes of scrolling before I even know what’s happened.

So when I was asked to do a presentation on ad platforms that weren’t Google for Searchfest in Portland, Oregon, I started digging into Tumblr ads. I’ve seen them, they’re fairly seamless right within the scrolling interface, the only real standout call that it’s an ad being the dollar sign in the upper right-hand corner.


Besides the fact that the ads did not have a single puppy or Masters of the Universe character - how does one get in front of the scroll-happy scroll happy crowd?

Well, a couple of ways right now: with a Tumblr sales rep or through the Google Display Network.

The first, with a Tumblr sales rep, has two options: CPM, which is a flat fee, run of network model, or CPE, which is based on active social engagements (likes, reblogs, follows, shares, and clicks), and newer, unveiled in January of this year, called "Tumblr Sponsored Posts Powered by Yahoo Advertising." This new option also includes some audience targeting capabilities, like gender and location.

With that you get to several choices of where to advertise on Tumblr and in what format - Mobile, Web, Radar, and Sponsored Spotlight are the areas, but for the purposes of this post, I recommend a look at Sponsored Web Post formats:

  • static image or photoset
  • animated GIF
  • audio
  • video
  • text 

If you do decide to pursue some advertising on Tumblr, here are some quick tips:

  • The ads have to drive back to a Tumblr account, not an external URL
  • A strong or well-maintained Tumblr account is needed organically
  • Recommend something like a GIF or compelling image to capture attention
  • Can do local/geo-targeted runs 

If you want to go with a more inexpensive method, utilize the AdWords Display Network:


Control is far less, as you’re at the mercy of AdWords getting the content on the Tumblr page right, which they did do a good job of here. 


But as always, check out the cost-per-click and impression volume estimates in your AdWords account, as the display planner is predicting a lot of volume available.

If you are craving that middle ground for using Tumblr as an advertising platform, remember that Yahoo purchased Tumblr last year for $1.1 billion - you figure they’re going to have to do something with that.

So keep your ear to the ground for further developments and options in the future and fire up those puppy GIFs and get ready to reblog a Tumblr ad near you.


Credit: Skeletorislove.tumblr.com


Elizabeth Marsten

Elizabeth Marsten is the director of PPC at CommerceHub in Seattle, Washington, where she oversees the PPC advertising practice with concentrations in Google AdWords & Shopping, Bing Ads, and Facebook. She is the is the co-author of All in One Web Marketing Reference for Dummies (Wiley Publishing), as well as PPC courses on Lynda.com.

See her SlideShare presentations from speaking at MozCon, SMX Advanced, East and West, PPC Hero Con, Searchfest, and State of Search or find her on Twitter.

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