Tumblr Woos Brands With Analytics Showing How Content Spreads

Tumblr and Union Metrics today announced the launch of Tumblr’s first analytics platform designed to help brands and marketers understand how their content is being spread on the popular social media/microblogging site. The platform, called Union Metrics for Tumblr, will scan through the millions of blogs, posts, notes, and other output on Tumblr, which can add up to around 100 million events over the course of a month. Tumblr hosts more than 75 million blogs and 32 billion posts and each day users create more than 70 million new posts.

“This will enable users to understand how their content is spread on the site and exactly who is amplifying it,” said Rick Webb, revenue and marketing consultant at Tumblr. Webb announced the new product today at the AdMonsters OPS Conference in New York, one of the many events being held around the city as part of Advertising Week.

Union Metrics for Tumblr is currently available by invitation only, but will soon be made available to all users at a price that has not yet been announced. A spokesman at Union Metrics said pricing information would be available in a few weeks. Union Metrics, which also offers Twitter analytics, has licensed access to the Tumblr firehose of data via social media data provider Gnip.

Features of the platform will include filtering capabilities that allow tracking of any blog or topic; providing data on overall engagement levels and trends over time; identification of influential contributors and curators; analysis of posts and tags to show which content is most popular, and the ability to analyze the individual engagement level of a single post. The latter will include interactions over time, amplification trends and a reblog tree visualization that shows how posts are spread.

Tumblr can now show a blogger over a one-month period how many people liked his or her posts and notes, who reblogged the content and a detailed list of the blog’s top curators and posters. But the platform will also enable a user to analyze a single blog post in detail.

For example, a picture posted on President Barack Obama’s Tumblr page on September 6 depicting President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by the phrase “Run DNC” is shown by the tool to have had 8,576 Likes, 2,972 direct reblogs and 7,679 amplified reblogs. It gives specifics on the “reblog” network, showing how the photo was passed along indirectly up to nine times, and lists the top ten amplifiers. (comedycentral, theclearlydope and gentlemansuits were the top three).

tumblr-reeses-puffsWebb said the move to integrate these tools into Tumblr addresses what until now has been a hole for the advertising community. “Tumblr has been weak in this realm. Everyone was asking for ways to analyze what they post on the site.” The co-founder of interactive marketing agency The Barbarian Group, Webb recently joined Tumblr to help the social network better monetize its mix of mainly user-generated posts, photos, videos and animations. But with Tumblr already the darling of the creative set, known for its artistic flair and far-out vibe, Webb will have to be careful not to spoil that with in-your-face advertising models.

He claims he is there to ensure just that. “This is a chance to do everything differently from what I hate about buying from sites on the Internet,” Webb said. Until now, he said, the Internet has been more about pushy display advertising and this is a chance to correct that. Currently about 90 percent of the content on Tumblr still comes from its users, and brands who slip in subtly-placed, beautifully designed contributions can be well-rewarded, showing up on the site in areas curated by Tumblr’s editors, such as the coveted Spotlight or Radar spots.

Coca Cola had success, for example, with an eye-catching image of a spinning coke bottle that got mentioned in more than 56,000 notes, Webb said. Reeses Puff’s also has a whimsically-designed blog on the site under the moniker “Institute for Epic Combinations.”

Still not all users are happy about the arrival of the brands into their creative haven. User medoroa put it succinctly: “tumblr radar has been full of corporate accounts lately, but seeing Coca Cola there just killed all the joy in my heart.” Looks like Webb will have to tread carefully, indeed.

UPDATE: This story originally incorrectly reported that the pricing information would be available in several months, instead of a few weeks.

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