Hosting some 188 million blogs, not to mention a live Q and A with Barack Obama, Tumblr is certainly stamping its authority as flavour of the month in the world of social media.

The American president took to the microblogging platform to discuss issues such as national security, instantly dispelling previous perceptions that the site was little more than a hub for playground discussions between teenage girls.

But how does Tumblr fare from a marketing point of view?

More and more digital marketing strategies are incorporating this channel, so we’ve weighed up the pros and cons.

• Sheer popularity. Those 188 million blogs make Tumblr the biggest blog hosting system worldwide, surpassing WordPress’s 60 million. Popularity alone was responsible for countless companies joining Facebook, despite not entirely understanding at the time the relevance to their business.

They were keen not to miss out on such a large expanse of users and it paid off, opening them up to a massive audience online. Tumblr arguably presents the same opportunities. Put simply, if you don’t put yourself in front of these 188 million users your competitors probably will.

• SEO benefits. Tumblr provides the perfect blend of social media and content marketing, two essential driving forces for SEO in 2014. More than this though it gives you dofollow links, which are like gold dust in the current digital marketing realm. Although with this in mind, it is important to be careful with your anchor text.

Another point worth noting is that Tumblr also allows you to use Google Analytics to track key metrics, and if there is one thing as important as high quality links it’s measuring your progress.

• Great for reaching a younger audience. While we have established that Tumblr is more than a gossiping ground for the prepubescent, it is true that during Barack Obama’s Q and A he did mention that his thirteen year old daughter is a fan. That’s because it capitalises on their fickle attention spans.

If your business has a relatively young audience, Tumblr is one of the best ways to reach them, especially with increasingly intrusive advertising driving them away from Facebook. It’s also ideal for brands that rely heavily on visual appeal. Got an e-commerce site targeted towards teenagers and young adults? This site was made for you.

• It’s simple. A big part of Tumblr’s attraction, and perhaps an even bigger reason behind its rapid uptake, is how quick it is to set up and customise. If you’re looking for a channel that you can set up and start using whilst eating your lunch then this is it.

Inevitably however, a free marketing channel with an expansive audience and SEO benefits has to have some downsides. We’ve outlined four below:

• It’s simple. Whilst we love Tumblr’s ease and simplicity it also provides limited control. If you’re a small start-up company, this might not be a problem but for an established brand, limited control over formatting, as well as very few add-ons might prove more of an issue. There is also of course the disadvantage of not being able to self-host. It comes down to the fact that if Tumblr goes down, your site goes with it.

• Time consuming. To those used to scheduling one update a day on Facebook or Twitter, Tumblr may be somewhat overwhelming. Tumblr users have got used to, and so have come to expect, a steady stream of unique and interest content, be this in the form of text, photos, images or memes.

It isn’t unusual for those on Tumblr to make more than 10 posts in a day and if you can’t commit to regular updates then it may be that this channel isn’t for you.

• Reputation. Whilst Tumblr has worked hard to shed its original reputation, the youth focused feel of the site, as well as its popularity among adult entertainment companies, means it perhaps doesn’t hold the same level of authority as alternatives. It comes down to your own judgement.

Whilst the teen focused e-commerce business we mentioned earlier would probably thrive in this channel with its reputation intact, a family run funeral company based in the suburbs of a well-to-do town might be criticised for such a tasteless decision.

• It doesn’t suit every target audience. This brings us on nicely to the last point. It goes without saying but it really is important to consider your target audience against the demographic of Tumblr, and this goes for any channel, before investing the time necessary to make this a worthwhile venture.

It’s all about assessing Tumblr in relation to your own business. This covers everything from your target audience, to the time you have available, to your objectives- what is your end goal from using Tumblr?

If you stand to gain more than you stand to lose it might be worth a go.

Ben Austin

Ben Austin


Ben Austin is the CEO of Absolute Digital Media.