Tumblr most underused platform by marketers, microsites are dead

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Tumblr is one of the most underused platforms among marketers, while the commonly used microsite is failing to attract visitors, according to an industry expert.

The writer behind viral hit ‘Dumb Ways To Die’, executive creative director at McCann John Mescall, points to Tumblr as a platform with high levels of engagement and strong ‘shareability’ at a time when it’s experiencing rapid growth among Australian audiences.

Despite jumping from one million to 3.2 million unique Australian visitors per month over the course of 2012, few marketers are using the platform and even fewer are doing a good job, according to Mescall.

He credits the short-form blogging network as one of the key drivers of success for Melbourne Metro Trains’ ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ video, which became the fastest spreading Australian viral clip ever when it was released in November last year and has since racked up over 37 million views on YouTube.

“We went really hard on Tumblr, because that right now is a medium that’s really underutilised by marketers,” he says. “There’s not a lot of good marketing on Tumblr, and it’s a format that people love to share from.”

Mescall believes that web browsers, particularly younger audiences, no longer travel to microsites. “They won’t go to a campaignmicrosite.com/whatever. You go into the places they’re going and they will [interact with it] – because they want to take it, own it, put it on their Facebook page and share it with everyone they know, [and say] ‘Look at what I did. Look at what I found’.”

Read: Marketing’s interview with Mescall where he shares tips on being disruptive online, details on the inner workings of ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ and how to be human on social media.

Statistics from Google’s Ad Planner tool show Tumblr received 3.2 million unique Australian visitors in December, up dramatically from one million at the start of 2012. However, Nielsen figures released to Marketing show visitation to be more conservative, at 1.8 million for the month of December.

However, while the researcher’s hybrid Online Ratings system collects mobile web impressions it doesn’t collect impressions through apps, suggesting much of Tumblr’s use may be coming through its smartphone application.

Via web sources, Nielsen could reveal that engagement with the platform was high, with the average session lasting 5.6 minutes. The audience is split evenly between males and females, although females making a higher number of page views, accounting for 68% of views. Browsers aged between 12 and 24 years were responsible for over three-quarters of all pages viewed in the month of December.

Globally the service boasts 54 million members, an audience of 141 million and monthly page views of 17.5 billion. It reports itself to be the eleventh most trafficked site in the US.

Tumblr’s Radar ad units, which constitute sponsored placements of accounts/pages in a featured blog section, cost $25,000 per six million impressions in the US, according to DigiDay.

A range of brands have a presence on the site including media brands The New Yorker, The Economist and GQ , apparel brands Calvin Klein and Adidas, automaker Land Rover and Coca-Cola.

CK Tumblr

The platform is best suited to brands that create a lot of strong, visual content, writes David Moth from Econsultancy.

“Unlike more traditional blogging platforms, Tumblr’s social focus means that short-form content tends to gain the most interactions.

“For brands that create a lot of content it’s a great way of highlighting their most eye-catching or attractive images, but even if original content isn’t your forte Tumblr can still be used to share things that help to build your brand’s identity.”

The platform enables sharing via a ‘reblog’ button, which functions the same as a tweet button, enabling brands to turn owned content into earned quickly and easily.