Within five minutes of scrolling down my Tumblr dashboard I see this:
A Wendy’s post featuring a gif (graphic interchange format ie. it moves) of Alfonso Robeiro, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the original Karate Kid, Ralph Maccho. The post was about Wendy’s pulled pork sandwich but I never followed Wendy’s on Tumblr so how did they get on my dashboard?
In all actuality I know how the post ended up there, the people at Tumblr have been slowly increasing the number of ads on the site since 2012. At first the ads were off to the side in a section called the radar, which goes completely unnoticed when one is focused scrolling down their dashboard. The people behind Tumblr must have noticed that as well because they moved their ads from being off to the side to directly in your face now.
The first time I noticed a “sponsored post” I was not excited. The site isn’t the first to use interruption marketing when it comes to their ads, but for the most part Tumblr was an escape from what typical social networks do which is why so many people enjoy the site. This new shift felt like the beginning of the end of Tumblr being different from the rest.
I’m not a fan of interruption marketing via social networks, but I completely understand why the companies are going after Tumblr. There are millions of users on the site of different backgrounds and interests, which gives many companies so many viewers of their ads. Couple that with the fact they the users have the ability to like and reblog the advertisement it is a great source of increasing visibility for a brand. Companies are willing to pay a lot of money for that type of access and the people at Tumblr would be crazy not to take it on (unless they want the company to fail of course).
As consumers Tumblr users, including myself, have to realize that there really is no escaping advertisements, unless you pay for ad-free version of things but I would rather not get started on how I feel about that.