Skift Take

Yahoo's ownership of Tumblr can be an attractive dynamic for travel brands that are looking for an alternative to Facebook and to extend their presence in online media and video.

VisitBritain wanted to leave a lasting impression, or at least a message that lasts longer than on other social platforms, with prospective visitors so it turned to Tumblr and  launched a Discover Great Britain blog in the summer.

VisitBritain’s blog is an amalgamation of content created by staff writers and bloggers who have a social following of their own. Identifying these third-party content creators, programming the editorial calendar, and choosing when to promote the posts to the dashboard and Yahoo, which owns Tumblr, is an on-going effort that takes collaboration with Tumblr.

Philip Taylor, VisitBritain’s head of marketing, says the tourism board found kindred spirits in various pockets of Tumblr’s community, including avid fans of British culture. Blog content about Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes did very well on VisitBritian’s Tumblr page.

For example, content about Happy Potter generated nearly 1,200 notes compared with other posts that drew an average of 200 notes last week.

Taylor, who is responsible for marketing England, London, Scotland and Wales talked about why the tourism board chose to partner with Tumblr and the challenges VisitBritain faces.


In search of a media partner in 2012, VisitBritain turned to Yahoo because of its worldwide audience and targeting capabilities.The positive results pushed both companies to continue their relationship and in late summer 2014, VisitBritain broadened its presence by launching its first Tumblr page, Discover Great Britain. In September, VisitBritain began  running sponsored content on Tumblr and and other Yahoo properties.

The Tumblr campaign’s goal was to attract prospective travelers through a platform where the content might have a longer shelf life.

“Tumblr was a fresh community for us,” Taylor says. “It is not the same as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter because these are more moment-in-time communities.”

Facebook posts and Twitter tweets tend to be more time-sensitive; the posts and tweets  exist in people’s news feeds or timelines for a very short amount of time due to the nature of the platforms.

If content on Tumblr indeed turns out to have more staying power, the challenge of posting the right content at the right time to get maximum organic engagement still remains. That means VisitBritain must constantly experimenting with its content mix, including TV and film, the countryside, and shopping, to name a few. The goal is to provide a contextual experience across Yahoo’s online, video, and social channels.


Source: Discover Great Britain via Tumblr

Tumblr reports that the VisitBritain content-marketing campaign generated 15 million impressions and more than 200,000 notes — likes, reblogs, follows, and clicks — in three weeks on Tumblr and Yahoo Travel. This activity tripled VisitBritain’s blog impressions compared with the previous month.

When asked about click-through rates, a Tumblr spokesperson wouldn’t reveal the actual figures.

“The impression figures show engagement in that people are reading the content and not just clicking through,” the Tumblr spokesperson says.

VisitBritain is claiming a 40 percent reduction in the campaign’s effective cost. Taylor says that calculation is based on the cost to produce the content and the life of a post.

After all, any type of engagement with the post tends to elongate its effectiveness.

“On Tumblr, content resurfaces, unlike Facebook or Twitter where the content tends to get buried,” Taylor contends.

Getting prospective visitors from Tumblr to is only part of the challenge. Taylor says the tourism board is still working on the middle step of the journey in pushing customers along the funnel after they visit the website.

“Now, once people click, we ask how do we align our storytelling after they click and make it seamless as possible,” Taylor says.

In comparing the monthly active users on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter, Tumblr ranks second in monthly active users, although it is a distant second to Facebook.

Social media monthly active users (MAUs) in millions by network:

Social Media Platform 4Q 2014
Facebook 1,390
Instagram 300
Twitter 284
Tumblr 420

Source: Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr

Facebook reported that it had 890 million daily active users at the end of 2014. At the very least, if one person posted a status update daily then that would equal 890 million posts per day.

As of the fourth quarter 2014, Twitter reported that there were 500 million tweets sent per day.

Tumblr Advantage?

On Tumblr, there are 80 million posts per day from the 200 million blogs in the network.

In comparing the content volume uploaded on the Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr platforms, there is less noise/distractions on Tumblr, although the social network doesn’t want to highlight this as an advantage.

Still, VisitBritain saw this as a value-add.

Discovery is much more inherent on Tumblr because it is filled with images, videos, and GIFs that are hashtagged. In a sense, it rivals Instagram’s user-base in that they both have a creative community that thrives on visual sensibilities and hashtags.

Additionally, Tumblr allows for a more branded and richer storytelling in that its Web page can be customized and can play Gifs and videos in-post in addition to photos. Instagram users can’t repost from other users’ content which, in a way, doesn’t reward users with a seamless interface because they can’st  how a curated list of their favorite snaps in one page.

“Each platform has its own strengths,” Taylor says, comparing Tumblr and Instagram. “We are big fans of Instagram. However, trying to track activity on Instagram is difficult. As you know, they give brands [non-advertising partners] little to work with. Having access to Tumblr’s analytics is very useful for us.”

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Tags: content marketing, social media, tumblr, visitbritain

Photo credit: VisitBritain's first Tumblr Page. VisitBritain / Tumblr

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