You don’t have to be a genius to work out that Tumblr, as the internet’s fastest growing social media platform (November’s Global Web Index revealed its user base had grown by 120 per cent in six months compared to Facebook’s 2 per cent), it’s got A LOT of content to wade through. 214 million blogs and 100 billion published posts, if you’re counting. Which is probably why it’s decided to make finding liked content a lot easier with a new discovery feature: introducing Tumblr’s new “Explore” button.
Taking up residence between the message and home buttons, Explore (which looks like a compass) will serve up content like text, audio, video, GIFs, quotes, photos and so on based on a few metrics – chiefly, the other Tumblr blog posts that you’ve liked. It’ll also throw in content that’s trending in real-time and “staff picks” that the bods at Tumblr HQ think you might like.
The new feature complements existing capabilities rather nicely; new content from the blogs you’ve been following is already showcased in the stream on your Tumblr dashboard and there’s already a search feature for picking out specific content. Explore is, according to the company “kind of like search, but for when you can’t think of anything.”
The aim appears to gently nudge users into greater engagement (which is why it launched its Mac app a couple of months ago). Rather craftily, it’ll be available on Tumblr.com for visitors who aren’t logged in. That’s a canny way of enticing passers-by to sign up.
Growing engagement is a key part of the company’s monetisation strategy. But there are other monetisation initiatives, too. In October, it rolled out auto-playing video ads to user dashboards in an initiative involving participation by a raft of big brand names, including Hulu, JC Penney, Lexus and CW. Then in November, it launched its first mobile-only ad unit (“Tumble Sponsored Apps”) that let app publishers target its chiefly Millennial (and heavily mobile) user base with creative posts aimed at drawing them to Google Play and the iTunes App Store to download new apps. Just last week, it added another layer featuring new action buttons from Etsy, Artsy, Kickstarter and Do Something.
Now hugely popular, it seems that Tumblr is forging a path to cash inflows as never before. That said, Explore is a welcome addition.