Cannes 2

What Made 2013's Top Tumblr Ad Successful?

Alex Spencer

Despicable MEIt's been a busy year for microblogging social network Tumblr. In April, it brought its 'sponsored post' native ads to mobile for the first time; a month later, it was bought out by acquisition-hungry Yahoo for $1.1bn.

Tumblr has revealed that Universal Studios was behind the most successful sponsored post of the year, in terms of the number of notes (which combines reblogs and likes) it attracted in the first 24 hour.

Featuring one of the Minion characters from the film it was promoting, Despicable Me 2, the post has received a total of 315,720 notes since 6 June.

The post simply consists of an animated GIF, along with a link to download the picture to the user's device. This seems to be key to a successful Tumblr ad - GIFs feature in all but four of the Top 40 - and it's not hard to see why they work. GIFs are part of the native language of Tumblr, which is mostly made up of brief posts accompanied by an eye-catching image.

"The goal when designing for Tumblr is to create content that is compelling, engaging and sharable for both mobile and desktop platforms," a Tumblr spokesperson told Mobile Marketing. "Colorful, striking and emotive content permeates the network by design, and it's no secret that the GIF is one of the best performers."

"It is imperative that sponsored posts are non-disruptive and truly native to the consumption experience on Tumblr. As the 'ad' is in fact a Tumblr post - any of the seven different post types [text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio and video] can be used - our native tools and functionality are the backbone of advertising on Tumblr."

It's also worth noting that the majority of the top posts - 21 out of 40 - also come from the entertainment industry. Universal Studios accounts for six of these, meaning this one brand on its own is better represented than any vertical outside of entertainment.

"Entertainment and Fashion were some of the first advertising communities to adopt and embrace Tumblr to tell their stories," the spokesperson told us. "The Top Sponsored Posts list highlights the versatility of advertisers that have participated on Tumblr in every category. The top five sponsored posts alone represent brand partners from four very different industries."

In second place is Converse - fashion is the second most popular vertical, with six of the top 40 - followed by Warner Bros, Ford and Home Depot. You'll find the full list below, and can view each post's creative assets here.


  1. Universal Studios: Despicable Me

  2. Converse

  3. Warner Bros: Gatsby

  4. Ford

  5. Home Depot

  6. Warner Bros: Hangover3

  7. SONY: One Direction

  8. Comedy Central

  9. Trolli

  10. Universal: Universal Horror Films

  11. Veteran's United

  12. Dior

  13. AT&T

  14. Jansport

  15. Turner: Loiter Squad

  16. Universal Studios: About Time

  17. Hulu

  18. SONY: This Is The End

  19. Clorox

  20. AMC Entertainment: Walking Dead

  21. Warner Bros: Man of Steel

  22. Little Brown Books: JPYA

  23. Saks 5th Ave

  24. Nickelodeon: Teen Wolf

  25. American Apparel

  26. SONY: Carrie

  27. VH1

  28. A24 Studio: The Spectacular Now

  29. Disney Marvel: Thor

  30. Fox Theater: Percy Jackson

  31. General Electric: Txchnologist

  32. Ralph Lauren

  33. Home Depot: Design Meet Style

  34. Gap

  35. Open Road Films: The Soul Center

  36. General Electric

  37. ABC Family: Pretty Little Liars

  38. Open Road Films: Jobs

  39. Calvin Klein

  40. Universal Studios: Kick Ass Movie