ADOTAS – Tumblr finally launched an advertising program today, offering up sponsored posts to advertisers on its Spotlight page, which highlights Tumblogs selected by Tumblr editors as particularly appealing, and on Tumblr Radar, which places a suggested blog to follow in the right-hand column users see on their dashboard pages. Reportedly, those ads start at $25,000 a pop.
It’s not a surprise, really — on Apr. 18, at an AdAge conference, Tumblr CEO David Karp announced the social blogging platform would start selling ads on May 2. Now we’re seeing what those ads look like, and, consistent with Karp’s stated disinterest in having ads on Tumbr, they don’t necessarily look like ads. They’re sponsored posts incorporated directly into the existing dashboard design for Tumbr users, and they’re designated as sponsored with a little dollar sign in the corner of each. As it stands now, you can’t see the posts at all if you’re a non-Tumblr user visiting a Tumblr site — you only see them if you’re a user and you’re logged in. But according to Tumbr’s stats, there are 54 million Tumblr users out there, and the page announcing the availability of these two new ad options claims “Tumblr Spotlight drives tens of millions of follows each week,” while Tumblr Radar offers “the opportunity to gain thousands of new followers, likes, and reblogs.”
Tumblr has become a pretty popular tool for creative types — it’s an intuitive and quick way to share images, text, video, audio and links, with a streamlined page design and the option of following other users and re-blogging their stuff. Brands with a pronounced visual element have already taken it up as a forum for interacting with users without paying for sponsored posts (read a story from ADOTAS that details some of those efforts). It’s probably wise for a platform whose users are so attuned to aesthetics to avoid tweaking its own look too much when incorporating ad offerings.