With consumers turning their attention to mobile devices, advertisers have had to change strategies to reach them. Facebook and Twitter have integrated mobile ad units well, and now other social networks are following suit. Today, blogging platform Tumblr announced the rollout of mobile ads for its iOS and Android apps.
Tumblr’s existing ads limited advertisers to the “Radar” post that appears on members’ dashboards, which alternate between paid promotions and spotlight placements. But today marks the first time that the company is offering ads that look and feel like regular posts.
The native apps will appear in-stream where, until now, consumers have just seen content posted by people they follow. Each post will be marked by an animated dollar sign which viewers can like and reblog. Both Tumblr’s iOS and Android app will see up to four ads per day.
Brands like ABC Entertainment, General Electric, Pepsi, and Warner Bros., are among the first brands to try Tumblr’s mobile ads, and it seems like each one is playing to the strengths of the platform — visual content. For example, GE’s first ad features an animated GIF of a jet plane. Warner Bros. plans to debut trailers for the summer movies “The Great Gatsby” and “The Hangover Part III” this week.
“The content our brand partners have created is more than just advertising — it is thoughtful, beautiful, and diverse content that fits seamlessly alongside the best work on our network,” Karp stated. This is a big opportunity for brands to integrate advertisements in such a way that viewers might actually want to interact with it. For that reason, the ads you create for Tumblr will need to be much more visual than those for Twitter or Facebook.
The timing couldn’t be better for Tumblr as its mobile viewership has quadrupled in the last six months. Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp told Mashable that he expects mobile traffic will overtake desktop traffic by early 2014 at the latest. It’s not bad timing for the market either, which will be a $7.29 billion industry in 2013, according to this month’s eMarketer report.
For now, the in-stream ads are limited to Tumblr’s mobile apps. The company plans to bring them to desktop, but didn’t provide a timetable. Integrating ads into any platform is a delicate process, one that is sure to be full of feedback from Tumblr’s power users. It’ll be good to see how the initial partners fare, and whether or not they’ll find the new ad unit to be a valuable addition to their advertising arsenal.