What Made 2013’s Top Tumblr Ad Successful?

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

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