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Tumblr Debuts New Ad That Sits at the Top of Users' Dashboards for 24 Hours

Tumblr today is releasing an ad product called Sponsored Day that allows marketers to appear at the top of viewers' dashboards for a 24-hour period.

Nike is the first brand to buy the promo as part of its #betterforit campaign, which aims to sell its line of women's workout gear with a big, integrated media push. Desktop viewers can click through the Sponsored Day ad to watch a video for the sneaker company, while mobile consumers will see a static image. The new ad (see screen-grab above) is relatively subtle in presentation and comes denoted by a dollar-sign-based icon. It is also designed to drive eyeballs to a brand's custom content channel via the site's Explore tab, where recommendations, trending topics and staff picks can also be found.

"It's the single biggest and boldest way for marketers to make a statement on our platform," David Hayes, head of creative strategy at Tumblr, told Adweek.

While the ad unit may seem reminiscent of Twitter's Promoted Trend—in terms of the prominent placement and 24-hour run—Hayes disputed the similarity.

"The brand can also curate a whole bunch of content from the community. In [Nike's] case of women's fitness, the content can come from the community or the brand's own blog," he asserted. "So it's hard to compare it back to Promoted Trends."

Sponsored Day comes on the heels of Tumblr's most recent ad products, Creator's Network and Sponsored Video.

It's the New York-based social media player's second ad unit—with Sponsored Radar being the other—to be charged at cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate, though Tumblr didn't divulge specific rates. Hayes noted the importance of providing an alternative to Tumblr's more prevalent cost-per-engagement pricing arrangements.

"CPMs is something brands really, really need," he said. "If you think of it as a showcase with the largest and most beautiful window, that's the type of opportunity brands are getting."

The ad unit goes live at 12 a.m. ET daily and can be purchased for global or country-specific exposure. So, for example, while one brand appears in the United States, another can own the same spot in the United Kingdom. Nike's promo is a global buy.

Brands also don't need to have a Tumblr page to purchase the ad, and the Sponsored Day ads will be viewable by anyone who visits the social site.

Tumblr boasts a worldwide reach of 460 million consumers when it pitches brands with Sponsored Day, and the tech company said it has already lined up other marketers to follow in Nike's footsteps in the coming days.

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