Talking tech since 2003

A month ago Tumblr introduced sponsored posts into its native mobile applications, and today, the company is today bringing those same brand advertisements to its web dashboard.  The launch partners for the new “Sponsored Web Posts,” include Viacom, Ford, Universal Pictures, Capital One, AT&T, Denny’s, and Purina.  That’s quite a lineup.

While brands like Viacom, Universal Pictures, AT&T, and even Denny’s (everyone has to eat) make the most sense to me as well-suited advertisers for the Tumblr audience (teenagers), I’m guessing brands like Ford and Capital One are hoping that they will be able to instill a certain cool factor in the Tumblr demographic, which would lead to sales down the road.

Just like regular Tumblr posts, users will be able to reblog, like, follow, and share these ads and the brands themselves directly from their web dashboard.  Additionally, similarly to Tumblr’s sidebar “Radar” ads, the new sponsored posts will be marked with an animated dollar sign icon to indicate that they are paid placements.  And just as is the case with mobile advertising, users will only see up to four sponsored posts per day.

According to a company blog post, sponsored posts have already received over 10 million likes and reblogs since their debut.


The Sponsored Web Posts will be rolling out during a beta period that runs through June 2013.  During the first week, premiere spots belong to Viacom, Ford, and Universal Pictures, and then they will be available to Capital One, AT&T, Denny’s, and Purina.

David Karp has been a proponent of brands taking advantage of Tumblr in creative ways to share their messages. He wants Tumblr to offer advertisers canvas and space for “creative brand advertising.” At Disrupt NY back in early May, he said while be interviewed on stage, “We want to give them the space to do anything, a four-second loop, an hour and a half video, a high-res panorama, whatever they need to help them build amazing, interactive ads.”

As you may remember, Tumblr was also recently acquired by Yahoo! for $1.1 billion.

We’ll see how this all plays out for Tumblr and Yahoo!  Either Tumblr’s (mostly) teenage user base will jump ship or will end embracing the company’s efforts to monetize.

How do you feel about Tumblr’s efforts to monetize?  Leave a comment!

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