Despite being one of the most widely used social platforms — with some tremendous success stories attached to it — Tumblr has stayed well below the radar for some brands. But last year’s acquisition by Yahoo and launch of in-stream ads inspired brands and even small businesses working on social media to give the blogging and social media hybrid platform a second look.
Sponsored web and mobile posts were the first of Tumblr’s ad units to live in-stream, and it was recently announced that content from those posts will be promoted across Yahoo. That increases the potential viewing audience to 800 million average monthly visitors.
If you’re not already advertising on Tumblr, here’s more information about Sponsored Posts and how brands are using them.
Sponsored Web Posts
As the largest in-stream ad unit on the web, a Sponsored Web Post gives you an incredible amount of real estate to tell your story and capture the attention of consumers alongside the content that they love.
This ad unit must be an original post made by you; reblogs from another source can’t be sponsored. And while engaging creative is encouraged — particularly photos and animated GIFs — be careful what you put inside of your post. For example, asking viewers to reblog or like a post is against Tumblr’s community guidelines.
If you’re thinking of including an image in your Sponsored Web Post, the image dimensions and restrictions are the same as those for a normal image post. Check out our always up-to-date social media image sizes guide for details!
You can also include video and audio in your Sponsored Web Posts. The max file size for uploaded videos is 100 MB or 5 minutes in length and 10 MB for MP3s. Video posts will appear as an image still with a play button, and are automatically resized for the Dashboard or blog theme. You can also upload album art with your MP3, but that image will also be resized to 215 pixels wide.
Last but not least, text. If you choose to run a text-based Sponsored Web Post, know that it can’t exceed one screen length. If your post is too long, it’s recommended that you use the “Read more” link to direct people to your blog.
Sponsored Mobile Posts
Similar to the previous ad unit, Sponsored Mobile Posts are also designed to fill screens beautifully so viewers will see your entire post as they scroll through the Dashboard. What’s more, Tumblr has made it easy for smartphone and tablet users to like, reblog, and share your posts in a few simple taps.
Content-wise, the guidelines are the same regardless of whether you purchase a Sponsored Web or Mobile Post; however, there are some subtle differences. For example, with mobile posts, you can upload photo sets containing up to 10 images. Vertical orientation is also preferred here — for best results, maintain a 2:3 (width:height) ratio.
Animated GIF, video, and audio post guidelines are the same for mobile and web. If you intend to run a text-based Sponsored Mobile Post, it can’t exceed two screen lengths. If your post is too long, use the “Read more” link to direct people to your blog.
Most advertisers will approach Sponsored Posts on Tumblr similarly to content-based ad units on other social networks. But keep in mind that Tumblr is a highly interactive and visual platform. Your ads should reflect the tone of your brand, but do so while keeping how consumers interact with the platform.
For instance, Lexus has tapped into the arts with its Sponsored Posts, encouraging photographers to “Send them a Signal.” The campaign features high-quality, stylized, almost polarizing images and GIFs labeled with tags like #fashion, #style, and #couture. It’s hard to believe that the campaign was designed around the 2014 Lexus IS, which shares similar artistic features.
This particular campaign achieved engagement rates in line with Tumblr fashion benchmarks, garnering more than 4.2 million impressions from press, millions of paid impressions, significant earned media reach that resulted in 12 percent of total engagement with ad content. The brand’s Sponsored Posts can now be seen in a Yahoo digital magazine and content stream.
Other use cases can be seen from brands like American Apparel — its Sponsored Posts averaged five times more earned impressions than non-sponsored content — Lipton, and Lionsgate (as part of a promotion for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
As you can see, Sponsored Posts can give your brand an extraordinary amount of exposure on Tumblr and across Yahoo. Once you’ve decided on which type of post you’re going to run and where, you’ll be contacted by Ad Ops to help plan your campaign schedule. We recommend reading through Tumblr’s Acceptable Advertising Policy first in case you have any questions about your ad’s content.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.