This is On the Inside, a Digiday series that takes readers on a tour through brands, agencies and publishers to find out what makes them different.
Tumblr has been having a good year. In May it was reported that, along with Pinterest, it was among the fastest-growing social networks: Pinterest enjoyed a growth rate of 97 percent over the previous year, Tumblr 94 percent, according to GlobalWebIndex. Facebook was the only social network to see a decline in people who call themselves active users.
“It’s easier for the smaller networks to record sizable percentage increases as they start from lower starting points,” GWI wrote at the time. “Even so, there’s no escaping the fact that Facebook recorded a decline, and one that is consistent in all parts of the world.”
That growth rate may be getting another boost. Tumblr to date has always been more of a broadcasting platform than a conversational one — a core feature that founder David Karp was insistent not be ruined by ads or other bells and whistles. Reblogging a post was about as conversational the service got. Under Yahoo’s ownership, however, things are changing: Tumblr finally joined the ranks of Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat by adding a new instant messaging feature — one that is likely to boost engagement (and please advertisers).
Launched November 11 to a limited pool of users who could then invite fellow bloggers, the messaging tool is gaining traction. Users sent more than 9 million messages in the first two days, Karp said at a Fast Company event last week. In the first 48 hours, according to Karp, the messaging function spread from 1,500 to 450,000 blogs. The rest of its users will get the feature within the month.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Two weeks ago, if you logged onto Tumblr, you would have found the first-ever livestreamed NFL football game at the top of your feed as part of a Yahoo experiment to drive engagement. Expect more.
Some estimates put the company’s user base at around 500 million, about half of whom are under 35. From the beginning, Karp was insistent that it was a medium for creators and curators. As a result, a lot of art and artists found their way onto the platform. The new messaging feature is born out of direct user feedback — it was the most requested feature from its users — and will theoretically become a way for creative types to connect over shared interests.
Indeed, the most popular forms of Tumblr posts have always been photos — GIFs especially — and, more so than Facebook, often focus on some fringe interest or obsession of a core group of followers. (Beyond art, it is also a bastion of pornography.)
Today, some of the most interesting art generated and circulated on Tumblr makes its way on the actual walls of Tumblr’s New York headquarters. Digiday took a tour of the Tumblr offices for a look at what makes the unique social network buzz — and how it translates its artsy ethos into a tangible office culture.
“As we built out our office space, we wanted it to be a living, breathing dashboard, whether it be the art on the walls, the colors you see,” said Megan Leet, head of office experience and events at Tumblr. “People who typically do GIF art made prints; there’s digital art.”
Watch the video above for a peak under Tumblr’s hood.
Video by Hannah Yi
Can Niche build the next decentralized social platform? Here’s why it matters
Niche is a decentralized online marketplace and social networking platform rolled into one. Unlike other social apps, it doesn't carry ads and it doesn't harvest user data.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research deep dive: YouTube investments pay off for publishers’ brands, revenues
In this final installment of Digiday+ Research's deep dive into how publishers are using social media platforms, we're covering how publishers are investing time and money on YouTube -- and how that's translating to their revenues and brands.
ANA’s programmatic buying guide aims to shine a light on murky inefficiencies for CMOs
The Association of National Advertisers released a guide on programmatic media buying that aims to save marketers billions of dollars a year.
SponsoredWhat gaming habits reveal about media consumption
Jordan Shlachter, head of research, Activision Blizzard Media Entertainment choices have never been more abundant, and gaming has emerged as one of the biggest winners in the battle for audiences’ attention. While gaming’s exponential growth has been well documented — there are currently nearly 3 billion gamers worldwide spanning a diverse set of demographics, interests […]
How The Washington Post’s Joy Robins is using lessons from 2020 to handle the current economic slowdown
Joy Robins' role as CRO looks different than it did a year ago, but in a volatile economy, a media company's revenue sources are subject to change as well.
How media companies like The New York Times, BuzzFeed and Gannett are managing costs in an economic downturn
The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Gannett and IAC are identifying areas to cut costs, from marketing budgets to hiring slowdowns and layoffs.