Updated with comment from Yahoo Yahoo has been courting agencies for months, rumoredly circulating a blueprint to bring Tumblr sponsored posts off-site to Yahoo owned-and-operated properties, as AdExchanger reported in early May.
Yahoo has now emerged with those plans publicly, rolling out on Tuesday Tumblr Sponsored Posts through Yahoo's network, which the Internet company claims will reach some 800 million unique visitors monthly.
"Tumblr Sponsored Posts are now integrated and available through Yahoo Gemini, the industry's only marketplace where advertisers can buy mobile search and native advertising," Mike Kerns, SVP of homepage/verticals and Lee Brown, global head of brand partnerships for Tumblr, wrote in a blog post.
All Tumblr Sponsored formats including articles, videos and images, can be amplified off-Tumblr on Yahoo article pages, image galleries and in myriad other content streams on sites like Yahoo News and Yahoo Beauty.
It was high time Yahoo moved forward with monetization plans for its $1.1 billion baby Tumblr, industry insiders say. Although Tumblr undoubtedly felt the pressure to retain an ad-free user experience among its consumer base, market pressures demanded otherwise. With display revenue flatlining, company CEO Marissa Mayer heralded plans on Yahoo's Q1 earnings call to "monetize through native formats." Yahoo did not disclose Tumblr revenue, but did note a need to inject greater transparency into Tumblr metrics here on out.
"One thing we hear from advertisers is that they're looking for targeted scale -- the ability to reach a large, high quality and specific audience," Kerns said. He noted the 800 million unique figure associated with Yahoo O&O properties is not inclusive of Tumblr audiences. "When combined, advertisers have the ability to reach over 1 billion consumers across all screens."
Kerns said the goal was to infuse the creative credo of the Tumblr platform with Yahoo Gemini data to elevate native ad placements.
Tumblr's strength is its role as a distribution network, Mayer noted during Yahoo's mid-April earnings call. "We saw 122% growth in Tumblr's mobile engagement vs. Q1 of 2013. In Q1, we also announced that we would be bringing native ads to Tumblr powered by Yahoo's ad technology." Those in-stream units are measured on a cost-per-engagement (re-blog, etc.) actions both on desktop and mobile.
Yahoo's mobile growth story will be the key one to watch here, particularly as it pertains to Tumblr's future. Mayer pinned Yahoo's mobile user base at 430 million actives, up from 400 million in Q4. Comparatively speaking, Twitter during its latest earnings call revealed its mobile monthly active users totaled 198 million while Facebook crept past the whopping 1 billion mark last quarter in monthly active mobile users.
As more social platforms push to be mobile-first (and with Facebook dominating the pack) the competition for mobile ad dollars is steep. According to comScore's 2014 US Digital Future in Focus report, among the larger social networks, LinkedIn and Tumblr "maintain a majority share on desktop, while… Instagram, Snapchat and Vine are almost exclusively mobile."
Here's a visual:
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