Tumblr has been in the news a lot recently because of their huge user numbers (there’s also been some question of whether or not they are a “bot fest” – but I’ll leave that for others to analyze.) Back in 2009, I compared Tumblr to Posterous – but since that time Tumblr has just pulled away. So much so that Posterous seems to have seen the writing on the wall and is now pivoting in a new direction. But I thought it would be good to take a look at how Tumblr fairs against the larger, more established blogging networks – namely WordPress.com and Blogger.com (now part of Google).
In terms of unique visitors, there isn’t any comparison – WordPress continues to dominate. Blogger has seen attrition in their numbers and has now fallen to third place (maybe the recent move to integrate Blogger into Google+ will help here).
In terms of visits, while Tumblr passed Blogger more than a year ago, it has now moved into a tie with WordPress.
But while Tumblr has many fewer unique visitors, those visitors are viewing a lot of pages. In fact, Tumblr is now completely dominating WordPress and Blogger in this area.
And in terms of attention, Tumblr is once again dominant.
I think the reason for the higher level of engagement on Tumblr (as measured in Page Views and Attention) probably comes down to a couple of key properties of Tumblr:
1. Tumblr functions more like a social network – thus people that use Tumblr tend to also subscribe/follow other Tumblrs – creating a strong network effect.
2. Cross-blog tagging – this brings a bit of Twitter to the blog network – allowing people to easily aggregate content, by tag, across blogs. This also, no doubt, aids in content discovery.
3. Tumblr reduces barriers to publishing content – unlike a traditional blog, where people feel the need to provide richer content, Tumblr tends to encourage simple posts.
What do you think? Are you using Tumblr now in place of other blogging networks? How do you decide which one to use, and for what purpose?
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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