My Tumblr experiment


After my #hashtag/Instagram experiment I decided to create a Tumblr account to see what the ecosystem was like and to see if tagging had the same impact. What I quickly got, was a lesson in content. In other words, the type of content that garnered the most traffic. I’m not talking subject matter. I’m talking medium.

. . . and this is what I’ve found so far.

Video – If you’re targeting a younger demographic, video is NOT the way to go. (It could be the subject matter I used but I doubt it. Check out the video below!) I got little or no traction on my video posts. The tumblrs that did like the video were an older demographic.


Images – Images are known to get better traction than video on social outposts, because people know what they’re “getting into”. Video is more of an unknown. (The introduction may be great but the end may be boring.) This’s why Pinterest owns it right now. Images that work on Tumblr are NOT user generated. Instagram is ignored.

Gif – (As in “animated gif for us older folks.) Think of these as micro-videos/animations. 1 – 5 seconds long and they repeat. These get a lot of traffic and sometimes have text or dialog over the top of the image/video.

Memes – Does rage face mean anything to you? No? Click here. The “Ryan Gosling, Hey Girl . . . ” is also a huge meme along with “F&$*YEAH blogs”. (Pick a topic and plug “F&$*YEAH” into the beginning of the search query.) Put simpy, this is a theme layered on different types of images, video, etc. (It’s pronounced meem.)

Text- Most text on Tumblr is an outline for a conversation or a screenshot of an SMS conversation. You do get the occasional direct query from the tumblr with a question or a quote. If there is any text at all, it’s VERY brief. Rhymes with “snitter”.

Given the scientific-ness of this experiment I wanted to point out a couple of things. 1) The tagging I used was consistent and thorough. 2) My results were obviously limited to the people that found me. I did not look for people to follow, instead following those that liked my content or followed me. From this experiment, I’ve learned several things

  1. The Twitter-fication of content continues. I’ve been telling clients for years that their online video needs to be a maximum of two minutes. If I was targeting the younger tumblr crowd, I would use images and Gifs to highlight aspects of my product. They simply don’t have the time to watch the video unless your a brand like Icelantic or Skullcandy AND it’s a branded entertainment moment.
  2. User generated content is rare on tumblr. This is more Pinterest but without the political correctness filters.
  3. Most users focus on one or two topics.
  4. Tumblr is a microblog with 42% of all users posting images as the main source of content.

All in all, I’m enjoying my time on Tumblr. Finding amazing content (not related to mobile or social marketing) is something I enjoy doing and now I have a place to post it.

By Michael Myers