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GROWTH HACKING FUNNEL

TUMBLR'S GROWTH HACKING STORY



The microblogging platform Tumblr debuted in February 2007, a year after its main competitor, Twitter was launched. At this juncture of the blogging phenomenon, many people wanted to maintain a blog but couldn’t commit to writing long, interesting posts.  

For those for whom Twitter’s constantly rolling 140 character updates did not form a coherent narrative, Tumblr seemed a perfect answer. The service allowed for simple short-form multi-media posting from a dashboard interface and some degree of social networking with users following one another.

Within two weeks, the site gained 75,000 users simply because it filled a desire on the part of frustrated would-be bloggers (and some existing bloggers) who wanted a shorter, faster option. Since the founder, David Karp, was a software engineer, he was able to design an excellent and simple user experience from Tumblr’s inception that gained rapid traction.

In May 2013, Yahoo! bought Tumblr for approximately $1.1 billion and today the site plays host to more than 184 million blogs. Little has changed in the intervening period since, in one of those rare moments of serendipity, Tumblr achieved market fit from day one.

Tumblr currently derives revenue from selling themes and allowing its users to have “sponsored” posts. In testament to the ongoing popularity of this middle ground blogging solution, Tumblr manages to retain more than 85% of its sign-ups, with Twitter keeping only 30%.

Like other services, however, the Tumblr mobile app has seen significant improvement, with the ability to customize the user’s profile, raising the potential for the site to see a second revitalization in connected devices. The simplistic Tumblr model is perfect for mobile users, where blogging has always been unnecessarily difficult.

Seen in this way, Tumblr might be able to carve out a more unique identity for itself if it can strike the sweet spot between Instagram’s photo intensive ecosphere and Facebook’s tendency to overshare. Tumblr offers users more control over appearance and content copy on the go that may well have more relevancy for millenials.

In mid-2014, the release of the updated and more powerful app led 80% of active users to re-customize their blogs, which points to a powerful resurgence in interest. This is refinement in the best tradition of growth hacking and makes Tumblr a company to watch for a new levels of expansion.


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