How Does Tumblr Make Money? A success and a downfall

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Tumblr is a pioneering microblogging site with a social networking aspect. Microblogging is slightly different from usual blogging in that microbloggers post snippets of catchy short videos, photos, and audio. This is what made Tumblr so popular as users could mark the Tumblr sites they wanted to follow, and get a stream their favorite content. But how do they make money?

About Tumblr

Tumblr was founded in 2007 by David Karp, who noticed the absence of a short blogging platform in the existing blogging platforms, at the time. The concept of social media was taking shape, which influenced the Karp to incorporate the social media aspect on Tumblr. It had 75,000 users by the first month. The number grew to over 500 million users in 2016 and fell slightly under 400 million by the end of 2019. The platform hosts about 450 million microblogs with approximately 7.2 microblogs created every month.


Tumblr changed hands from Karp to Yahoo in 2013 for $712 million; Yahoo was bought by Verizon in 2017, which included Tumblr. Verizon sold Tumblr to Automattic in 2019 for $3 million. The platform currently ranks 118 on Alexa internet rankings.

How does Tumblr make money?

Tumblr’s major revenue share comes from paid advertising. Adult ads generated significant revenue before they were banned in 2018. Bloggers also pay to have their posts more visible.  Tumblr also makes money from marketing data, where marketers pay to get in-depth details into what people are interested in. Bloggers also pay to use premium themes.

When did Tumblr start making money?

Tumblr started as a free platform; it was free to post content, and bloggers could choose to show ads on their blogs without paying. This model changed in 2012 when Tumblr announced the start of paid advertising. The first major advertising deal came from Adidas in 2012.

Who owns Tumblr?

Tumblr is currently owned by Automattic, the company that also owns WordPress.

How to make money on Tumblr

There are several ideas on how to monetize Tumblr in the present day. Monetizing ad placement for a popular site is an obvious choice. Bloggers can also create affiliate links and sponsored content that generates commissions. Tumblr is largely a visually-oriented site with lots of graphics and video, which makes it ideal to link to online stores and YouTube channels. This can work for brand recognition and long-term revenue growth. A good number of Tumblr users have made money by making beautiful Tumblr blogs for others.

Since Tumblr allows you to edit the HTML of your blog, you could also place ads on your blog!

If you enjoyed this article, I’ve also written several similar ones that you can find in the business category, for example about Reddit, Youtube, and TikTok.

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