Monday, the Yahoo-owned blogging platform soft launched a new ad unit called “Sponsored Trending Blogs” that pushes advertisers’ Tumblr blogs in front of people checking out the Explore tab in the Tumblr for iOS and Android application. The unit marks Tumblr’s fifth ad product and its second tailored just for mobile.
Tumblr is taking a swing at a form of native advertising with this offering.
The new ads are native to Explore, meaning they take on the exact look and feel of other trending blogs featured in the mobile feed. The only difference is a subtle dollar sign icon denoting that the featured blog is promoted by an advertiser.
While this looks like something that brands would get excited about the only issue I see is that the ‘subtle dollar sign’ is just that: subtle. We are getting dangerously close to where advertising and content are becoming indistinguishable from one another. While this is likely to work for a while what happens when the consumers catch on and start to push back by ignoring ads completely and even becoming angered at brands that are trying to make their ads less like ads thus appearing more deceiving?
Do you see this as a problem in the future or will consumers just get sucked in and not mind?