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Yahoo - Tumblr: Digital fit or mismatch?

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Yahoo - Tumblr: Digital fit or mismatch?

The pros and cons of the purple – grey marriage is not news anymore. We know Yahoo benefits from Tumblr’s user base and Tumblr is getting help in reaching its USD 100 million target in terms of advertising revenues by 2015. While globally this matrimonial is being considered one with a serious nature, how does it impact the Indian digital grounds is not known.

Yahoo and Tumblr have been seeing their own share of woes in India. While Tumblr has managed to create its niche due to the blogging culture seen in the country in the last few years, it still is not the first name on a social media user’s lips. Yahoo India on the other hand is kicking to stay above the waters due to a number of issues.

It was not very long ago when Yahoo avatars and chat rooms were the social adda for teens. With the arrival of social, Yahoo has had stiff competition. To add to its woes, Yahoo India has also been in management turmoil since Arun Tadkani (India MD) resigned in mid February.

Yahoo, Tumblr and India
As both the websites continue to move in different directions in India, it is very difficult to say how the deal will benefit them (Yahoo and Tumblr) on the Indian front and if it will impact the digital grounds in the country. However, to summarise the deal from an India perspective, exchange4media takes a look at it in the light of digital prediction for 2013.

According to research, India has 150 million internet users and the growth in real-time media has given rise to a number of trends in India, five of the most famous being – native advertising, social television, fragmentation, content marketing and smart data (stated in an article by Vishal Mehra, a digital marketer and blogger).

#native advertising: With the growth in social media, advertising forms such as promoted posts and tweets will only see a boost, according to experts. If Yahoo manages to execute such ad format, they have the benefit of offering Yahoo + Tumblr to marketers who will always get attracted to a deal that offers visibility on two websites with the help of one advertisement. A clear win.

#social television: While this might not be applicable to Yahoo – Tumblr deal, Yahoo acquiring Hulu might do the trick.

#fragmentation: Creating multiple touch-point campaigns is one of the most effective and important marketing point, as the number of influencers in a consumers’ life have increased beyond one could imagine. Once again, a win for the deal as Yahoo and Tumblr now have two platforms for their advertisers.

#content marketing: The importance of content has grown immensely. Users now read, indulge and interact with content – content not only available officially by brands, but also other user reviews and blogs giving Yahoo – Tumblr acquisition one more point, as jointly both the brands can leverage each other in terms of content marketing.

#smart data: Commonly also known as Big Data, it is a very complicated subject. However, in layman terms, smart data would be the large user base and records of each user that both the websites possess individually. While Yahoo and Tumblr both seem to be sitting on a gold mine in terms of smart data, they also face one of the biggest challenges here. The coalition of both the data will be difficult as Tumblr caters to a completely different age group. Also, how will the coalition help in revenues is a separate question.

In terms of digital trends in India, Yahoo – Tumblr alliance strategically fits right in. However, it is not likely to shake up the digital foundation as the impact of the deal in India is yet farfetched.
“A ‘portal’ of Yahoo’s kind can be a miscellaneous provider of a variety of services, but also needs to be the compelling leader in few spaces at least; Tumblr provides that and Hulu can do so too if they manage to pull that one off. It gives them some more breathing room. Till they potentially find something more striking, something that has a mass compelling need. And if and when they do find something of that stature, then they can return to the leadership position in the digital space again,” said Sanjay Mehta, CEO, Social Wavelength.

To get back in to the game (in terms of Indian market), Yahoo needs to create a compelling factor that would attract users to come back to both the portals. A strategic success, however, does not change digital dynamics a lot. 


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.