Tumblr + Yahooby Amanda
Sundays are typically for rest. While I was busy hiding from the rain, chowing down on BBQ, and nursing a beer, I learned that Yahoo had reached an agreement to purchase Tumblr. My first thought was, man, I should be hustling harder this weekend. My second thought was, I can't wait to see how everybody freaks out over this.
The same mayhem happened when Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. Everybody got scared (who isn't scared of a little change), freaked out and kept on, business as usual. My Instagram feed was never filled with ads, I kept taking pictures, and modified one setting on Facebook to restrict Instagram access. (I personally don't like to duplicate my content across networks, unless I think my Facebook friends would actually care about this. Most of my Facebook friends that care what I have to post on Instagram already follow me there.)
You can already see the feed of melodramatic posts from Tumblr fanatics. Until now Tumblr has mostly been the "Freaks and Geeks" of social media. It's typically attracted the creative and expressive types that shy away from lamestream social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Sure, each network serves a purpose, but they see Tumblr as a place where they can really express themselves and own their little piece of the Internet. (And, the animated gif porn was good too.)
At this time, Yahoo promises to "not screw it up," but many are skeptical. While it's inevitable that some may leave the platform, Yahoo should be able to bring scale and technology to the platform to make it better, not worse. Initial conversations suggest that Tumblr will remain independent, and will still aim "to empower creators to make their best work and get in front of an audience they deserve."
What Does This Mean For Advertisers?
Last year Tumblr made $13 million from ad revenue, and they only started advertising is May (this year's goal is $100 million). As a nascent advertising network, there are a wealth of opportunities for Yahoo to help find ways to make Tumblr profitable without completely compromising the clean, designed focused platform.
However, Yahoo does not have the best track record when it comes to acquiring consumer-facing properties, which is probably why so many of those that love Tumblr are so fearful.
None of this negates the fact that people are still using Tumblr to engage with content. They are devouring it, and that hasn't changed. Visitors on Tumblr spend approximately 15 minutes each session, most of which is spent entirely on viewing, sharing and liking content. Tumblr has only ever focused on content, so as advertisers come into the space those that are making an impact are making content. It's never been an ad network (like Facebook has become) and my guess is that this won't change.
It's much more likely that ad offerings will aim to promote a brand's content within users' content feeds. This would help to gain larger reach of content with the hope that others will propagate it organically. Therefore, creating content that is engaging, exciting and appealing to your followers will still remain the best Tumblr strategy. It's about creating great content first.
And while we don't at this time know what changes will exactly come for both users and advertisers, we know that content is still king, and will continue to be on Tumblr.
Let's just hope I don't have to login to Tumblr with my Yahoo email address. I can never remember it.