Can Tumblr’s app install ads put pressure on Facebook?

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Tumblr has become the latest social platform to take on Facebook in the lucrative world of app install ads, announcing a new native in-content-feed unit sold on a CPI basis.

On the surface, the Tumblr Sponsored Apps solution looks pretty standard and follows the formula pioneered by Mark Zuckerberg and Co, with a unit that appears in-between content posts, displaying an image and call-to-install button. Tumblr is also offering a Facebook-style carousel unit that lets you swipe your way through different ads.

So what’s Tumblr offering over its rivals (which also include Twitter, AOL and parent company Yahoo!)? Well the blogging platform told TechCrunch its Sponsored Apps function more like regular blog posts than standard ads. How this works is unclear, but we guess it means you can add more text and possibly multiple images (although there surely must be some restrictions). Tumblr also says users can also share the ads with their followers (although Facebook’s ‘Like’ button pretty much offers the same functionality, as far as we can tell). Then there’s Tumblr’s millennial audience, who are apparently rather engaged, averaging seven sessions per day on native iOS and Android apps according to the company.

Tumblr’s carousel-style app ads

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Tumblr also says it has a big gaming demographic, which might explain why its first line-up of major advertisers includes Japanese gaming publisher Gree and game devs Big Fish and TwoDots. Game developers have seen a lot of success with Facebook, so Tumblr could certainly open up a new avenue for those scouring for more inventory.

A Tumblr blog post read:

“This is an opportunity for brands with apps to tap into one of the youngest and fastest growing audiences out there, specifically the 65% of our users who access Tumblr from our native iOS and Android apps. Our mobile users are also some of our most engaged, averaging seven sessions per day.”

However, one of the key reasons Facebook’s app install ads proved so popular was the large amount of targeting data advertisers could leverage. Tumblr says advertisers will be able to target by gender and interests, but it’s very unlikely it can compete in this department . It’s also worth remembering the scale of Facebook’s userbase compared to Tumblr’s – around 1 billion versus around 14 million. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Tumblr’s Sponsored App posts progress and how much success developers have. With Twitter, AOL, Yahoo, YouTube and now Tumblr getting into the app install ad game, Facebook’s growing mobile ad revenue may take a hit. To sign-up for the test program head over here.