18 Apr 2016

Is Tumblr Underrated When It Comes To Advertisement?

Guys, I've been on Tumblr since 2009 (little 15 year old Lauren was seriously addicted to that blue website) but how much do people appreciate this form of blogging? And if Tumblr is your main blogging platform, instead of Blogger, WordPress, Instagram, BookTube, etc, do publishers and other book businesses take your posts as seriously?

I'm honestly not sure...

The reason I'm writing this post is because I personally left Tumblr behind last year. Not in the *literal* sense, but I did start using it way less here's the thing: I was just starting out my bookish business and everyone on Tumblr was so incredibly supportive! All my posts about new designs got reblogged, liked, and commented on. The Tumblr/Booklr community is fantastic! But after starting up other blogging platforms and gaining some followers, I found I was reached out to by a heap of authors/other book businesses/publishers/etc who all found me through my Instagram which I found so odd.

At that time on Tumblr I had a lot of followers, a lot more than my 12k on Instagram (which I'm not saying is a small amount, but trying to add perspective without being like I HAVE THIS MANY FOLLOWERS, hahahah) and when I'd reply that I also had a pretty successful Tumblr blog and I could also advertise there the general response was "Awesome, but we're mostly focused on Instagram at the moment!"

Look, this isn't the case with all people who've reached out to me for advertising purposes, but it's mostly that when I have to tick boxes about where I blog and where I post, most of the time Tumblr isn't even an option. I've had a lot of people be just as excited about being written about on Tumblr as they are about being written about on my Instagram so it's not a case of this being the general thing that happens.

But why is this even a problem, Lauren? What's your *beeping* point?!

Well, lovely reader, my point is Tumblr is a freaking great way to advertise but it seems that more and more Tumblr users think they need to create a Bookstagram or a Blogger blog or something else in order to get noticed by people who reach out via social media for advertising.

Why is Tumblr so great? It's like the movie 'Pay It Forward' (which, lets be real, probably got the idea from someone else but it's the best example I have!) where if you help two people, and make those people promise to help two people, and those two people tell those two people to help two people, the reach of those good deeds get pretty far. It's the same on Tumblr, well, almost... I tried, haha.

If your reach is 10,000 Tumblr followers, assume a bit less for inactive accounts, and say 200 people reblog that post, that means all their followers see it too, how fantastic is that?! If each of those people have 100 active followers who also interact with the post then BOOM your advertisement has reached hundreds of people.

Plus, your post doesn't die with the times. On Instagram, once a post becomes a few days old there's no way to resurface it except to make a new post explaining that the old post exists, but you can reblog a post yourself on Tumblr so that multiple people in different timezones and on different days get the chance to interact with your post! You can keep reblogging that post until you get messages telling you to stop reblogging that darn post.

Bookish posts on Tumblr can receive as much as 10,000 post interactions (likes and reblogs) and that's not including people who may have seen it, clicked on the product link and not interacted with the post. I've personally made a post about a bookish business that I loved on Tumblr and it received over 15,000 notes within a couple of days.

So, why aren't publishers reaching out?

Every day I see more and more bloggers on Tumblr answering questions from anonymous askers about how to get free copies of books or how to receive free goodies and such, but most of their answers say something along the lines of "People don't really take Tumblr seriously, maybe start a book blog where you post your reviews or a Bookstagram account!" and I'm sitting there thinking 'Nooooooooo!!'

I get it, on Tumblr you can't see how many followers a person has but what you can see is how many interactions each of their posts gets, so really, that's no good excuse for not wanting to connect with Tumblr bloggers. If their reviews get a bunch of notes and they reply to comments on those reviews and take multiple stunning photos of books that people gawk at and think to themselves 'Why can't I take a photo like that?!?!' then that should be taken advantage of, right?!

I also see less and less giveaways on Tumblr than I do on other social media platforms, it seems every company on Earth are hosting giveaways/competitions/etc on Instagram and Facebook but never on Tumblr. I'm even guilty of this, I used to do a giveaway a month on Tumblr and I haven't done one in months even though they always reach a lot of people and get tons of entries.

This isn't meant as a post to make people bitter or upset, I'm genuinely curious about people reaching out to other book enthusiasts on Tumblr. Personally, I think Tumblr is fabulous. Tumblr is full of amazing writers, reviewers, photographers and more, it's a shame to think that people wouldn't think to take advantage of that.

Am I being crazy? Do people reach out to bloggers on Tumblr just as much as people on Bookstagram/BookTube/blogs? Let me know what you think about this topic in the comments. Have you ever been turned down by a publisher for reviewing as a Tumblr blogger but then picked up as a different kind of blogger? Are the responses that some bloggers write irrational and you don't really need to set up a different kind of blog?

If you're someone who works with bloggers for advertisement do you contact bloggers on Tumblr? If not, why is that? And would you consider it now?

Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

*Disclaimer: This post is not to say that bloggers on platforms OTHER than Tumblr don't deserve their freebies, they do as much as anyone else, heck
I'm mainly on Instagram! But it's to answer my long asked question,
why not Tumblr as well? c:


  1. Hey Lauren, this is a great post. I have a decent following on Tumblr, and a larger one on Instagram (as Babbling Books in both places) and the only promotional approaches I have had through Tumblr is from 2 or 3 self published authors. Which is still really nice, but when you compare that to the 3 to 4 requests a week I get via instagram it's very different. If I can add my 2 cents in while wearing my 'I work in marketing' hat, I'd say that it has to do with the way content is produced and shared on Tumblr. It's a plus for all the reasons you said (exponential sharing, longevity etc), but a negative when it comes to creating a brand identity. The lack of comments and direct interaction with images also makes it hard for marketers to justify spending a lot of time on the platform. Aside from actions which are mostly 'passive'ie likes and reblogs, there is very little conversation on Tumblr. Conversation is a key way that brands seek to build buzz, and to get immediate feedback on products (and books are products too). Tumblr is more indirect, which is why I think it's great for small businesses as a tool, but I can't see bigger brands using it and offering free products unless the functionality of the website changes.

    1. Hi Tamsien,

      Thanks for replying to the post! It's great to hear things from a marketing point of view, as I'm obviously only participating in the 'being reached out to' rather than doing the reaching out.

      I definitely see what you mean about the fact that less conversation happens which would give the companies using Tumblr as an advertising platform far less to go on. I do see a lot of posts sparking asks going directly to the poster, but I guess they would have to go hunting for those kinds of things which would be extremely time consuming unless the blogger sent each link to the person they'd been in touch with.

      I guess it's because a lot of people have the posts captions enabled on their blog, so if a lot of conversation happens they end up deleting it or choosing not to reblog which is such a shame!

      I think it's a great tool for small businesses, especially if they do the interactions themselves and make an account where the participate in the community and find others to help share the word about their business like that, but yeah, you don't see many larger businesses on the website.

      Although I have personally bought books from certain Tumblr blogger's posts and reviews (that are usually shared on another platform or multiple platforms as well if it's an ARC or freebie) I doubt it happens all that much! Unless a business offers a coupon code or checks to see where traffic is coming from all the time, they wouldn't really be able to see if Tumblr was worth their while.

      Thanks again for sharing some light on the subject! c:

  2. What a great blog post. Coming from a new blogger/reviewer/bookstagrammer, I find this very interesting. I'm on Tumblr and find it extremely difficult to entice people to come and read my reviews and/or look at my pics there. Instagram definitely helps to achieve followers at a faster rate, although not fast enough it seems. I've been at it for a little while now (@justicereads on both) and I feel that there must be some kept secret as to achieving 1,000+ followers.

    Also, while bringing up again that i'm fairly new at this, I'm not sure I understand why publishing companies would choose to look primarily at an Instagram account for decisions on pursuing that individual to promote for them. Is the goal to only post the appearance of the book? If a review of the book is still as important to the reader and to the publisher, as I once thought, wouldn't one still need a blog to post the review to? And then in that case, which is the best site to use?

    I love that Tumblr is very user friendly but I can see that it doesn't do a good job of promoting much. Do you recommend a better a blog? I've signed up for blogspot and wordpress but they seem a lot more tricky to navigate. I'm considering giving up my Tumblr if there is a better place to go, as I hope to continue my passion for spreading messages and pictures about new and upcoming fabulous novels by fantastic authors. I will continue posting pictures on my Instagram as much as I can, in hopes that one day soon, a publisher might notice me there, but I will definitely do more research on where the best place to have my blog would be. Thank you again for posting this! Just reading your opinions and questions, lets me know I'm not as alone in this as I thought was :)