January 27, 2014

Using Tumblr for Blog Promotion: Some Initial Data

I mentioned here recently that I have been using Tumblr more consistently for the past couple months. What I meant by that is that I have been posting daily or almost daily during the time of day when Tumblr is supposed to be most active.

In spite of the many recommendations I have seen for Tumblr as a means of promoting a stand-alone blog like this one, I've always been skeptical. I have been using Tumblr since 2011 and seen very little benefit in the form of increased traffic here. But before drawing any conclusions, I felt like I needed to do a more thorough test. My early use of Tumblr was spotty. If I really wanted to evaluate whether it was worthwhile for blog promotion, I'd need to use it more consistently. Now that I have been using it much more consistently for a while, it is time to report my findings.

According to Google Analytics, Tumblr is producing a little less than half the referral traffic I receive from Twitter. Given that Twitter brings far less traffic than Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook, and Google+ even though I am far more active on Twitter than these other platforms, this is not terribly impressive. In looking at the period of time between Dec. 1, 2013 and Jan. 18, 2014, this blog received a mere 147 visits from Tumblr. This works out to Tumblr being responsible for approximately 1% of social network traffic. Not too impressive, is it?

What does this tell me? It is difficult to recommend Tumblr as a means of blog promotion. I'm not claiming my results will necessarily apply to you or that Tumblr cannot be used more effectively than I have been using it. Perhaps you will have better luck. But based on my numbers, the return on the time I've invested with Tumblr simply isn't worth it. Not even close.

Does this mean I'll stop using Tumblr? No, I am not planning to abandon it at the moment. I suspect that it has produced at least a few new readers, and that is worth something. At the same time, my findings do lead me to modify my expectations about what Tumblr can deliver.