Is Tumblr mature enough for advertising?

The simple and versatile platform that combines a coherent interface with simple functionality. With an endless variety of customisable templates the platform has been a vast canvas for the more visually driven blogger to be truly creative.  At face value Tumblr has the reputation of being mostly populated with junk gifs and recycled ‘memes’.

Scratch the surface and you may discover more trashy content in the way of porn, teenage diary rants and underwhelming inspirational quotes.

Selleck Waterfall Sandwich

Some of the web’s strangest blog collections (Selleck Waterfall Sandwich and Reasons My Son is Crying),  and some of the weirdest internet trends have seeded and grown on Tumblr: one of the web’s most organic blogging spaces.

Reasons My Son is Crying

Tumblr CEO David Karp reflects “That’s our mission: Every day find new ways to stretch that canvas and give people more room to make their best work. Just think about the role technology has played in enabling creative people and pushing art and media forward. Look at what technology’s done for film with something like Pixar , right?”

It’s because of these uniquely organic qualities that Karp has been more than reluctant to appeal to his investors and open the doors to advertising. “Karp, 26, who owns 25% of the privately-owned company he co-founded with Marco Arment in 2007.” The infographic below shows just how big Tumblr has become since then.

 Despite numbers in the region of 105 active million blogs which people spend 24 billion minutes a month enjoying, Karp claims any form of commercialisation could easily negate the Tumblr ecosystem.

Since May 2013 the platform has been under the ownership of Yahoo for the cost of $1.1 billion and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has since been pressuring the positives of advertising on the platform.  Karp has warmed to the proposals in exchange for long required moderation solutions in the way of automated flagging, machine learning and community-driven moderation. Problems that Yahoo are no stranger to.  Karp is now comfortable with a soft launch into advertising, especially into the Tumblr mobile platform, adding “The advertisements will fit into spots where we already promote content.”

Mayer adds “The average post on Tumblr gets re-blogged 14 times,” she says. “The average sponsored post on Tumblr gets re-blogged 10,000 times.” Now time will tell how native advertising will effect Tumblr’s future.

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