Tumblr will start the new year off with a new way to make money from its mobile audience, but it's giving members an early preview of what to expect.
Monday, the Yahoo-owned blogging platform soft launched a new ad unit called "Sponsored Trending Blogs" that pushes advertisers' Tumblr blogs in front of people checking out the Explore tab in the Tumblr for iOS and Android application. The unit marks Tumblr's fifth ad product and its second tailored just for mobile.
The Sponsored Trending Blogs ad offering is scheduled to make its official debut in January 2014, but people will start to notice promoted blogs in the Explore feed from beta partners such as Turner Broadcasting, Delta, Twentieth Century Fox, Calvin Klein, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Explore tab is home to popular tags and a curated selection of blogs trending across the service, and gives users a quick way to see what the people of Tumblr are paying attention to each day.
The new ads are native to Explore, meaning they take on the exact look and feel of other trending blogs featured in the mobile feed. The only difference is a subtle dollar sign icon denoting that the featured blog is promoted by an advertiser.
Tumblr's latest ad initiative comes six months after Yahoo purchased the popular blog network for youngsters for $1.1 billion. Though the service only reportedly made $13 million in revenue in 2012, it's made a conscious effort to ramp up advertising in 2013.