Tumblr Expands Sponsored Capabilities With Mobile App Install Ads

Yahoo-owned Tumblr has introduced “Tumblr Sponsored Apps,” a new mobile ad unit, to attract more ad dollars.

The new ad unit will allow app publishers to target the Tumblr community with creative sponsored posts that are designed to encourage users to download mobile apps from the iTunes App Store and Google Play through an “install app” button.


Different from Facebook and Twitter’s mobile app install ads, “Tumblr Sponsored Apps” posts, overlaid with a “Install [the app]” call to action, initially show up on mobile users’ dashboards. But the content will also be displayed as regular posts on Desktop, without the “Install” message. In other words, desktop users can still organically see the sponsored posts associated with an ad, and they can further reblog or share the content.

“The core is that the native functionality allows marketers to talk to the community the same way any advertiser would be able to on Tumblr,” explains Max Sebela, creative strategy manager at Tumblr. “Users don’t just download the app, but they can also share the content that is treated like other posts on Tumblr.”

The platform debuted “Tumblr Sponsored Apps” with three business partners: Gree, Big Fish, and TwoDots, all of which are gaming companies. Sebela says that although this ad unit is not specially designed for the gaming space, Tumblr does have a large gaming audience.

“We’ve started [this ad program] in the gaming space, because the gaming community is so natural to Tumblr and has been on this platform for a long time,” he says.

In addition to the sponsored posts and mobile app ads, Tumblr will test a variety of ad formats in the “Tumblr Sponsored Apps” program to gauge its online community’s interest.

The platform says currently it has 400 million global monthly unique users, and 65 percent of its users access content through the mobile app. Its total mobile engagement has grown 84 percent year-over-year.

With such strong growth in the mobile space, will Tumblr go further and build e-commerce into its platform? Will the company inject more new ad products like Twitter’s new addition of a “Get Offer” button into sponsored posts? As of press time, Sebela declined to comment.

“We are really thinking about the content. We are really thinking about what marketers are creating for the dashboard,” he says. “Anything on top of that is to be determined.”

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

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