Tumblr IOS Evenue Rose 125% After Parodying Paid VerificatA new analysis of in-app consumer spending on the app shows that Tumblr’s joke about paid verification has already given the social network and blogging platform a 125% boost in iOS in-app purchase revenue since November. The company, which was bought by the owner of WordPress.com in 2019, is now run by Automattic. In response to Twitter’s paid verification scheme, the company added its own purely cosmetic double blue checks. This was a jokey way of saying that subscription-based verification didn’t have any real value.
As it turns out, at least some Tumblr users were willing to pay, though maybe not for influence. This is because inside jokes have been a more successful way for the blogging network to make money than some of its more legitimate ways, like its Post+ subscription service for creators. At one point, crabs, a silly paid feature that let users send animated dancing crabs to each other’s dashboards, made more money than Post+. This was despite the fact that Post+ didn’t go over well with the community.
The only way to make money on Tumblr is by shitposting.
Since the double-blue-check launch in November 2022, users have spent more on Tumblr’s iOS app, which now brings in $263,000 in net revenue. Even though that’s not a big number in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a 125% increase in spending compared to what was spent from August to October 2022.
When you look at longer-term trends, Tumblr’s income is still going up, but not as much. Sensor Tower says that the income from in-app purchases on iOS is up 19% compared to the ten months before the launch of the blue check (January through October 2022).
It’s hard to say that Tumblr’s double blue check is the only reason for these increases, though. Tumblr also lets you buy things inside the app, like crabs, paid boosting, and browsing without ads.
After Twitter bought the app, a lot of new people downloaded it, which may have led to more spending by consumers Top.
Sensor Tower’s data shows that the number of iOS installs has increased by 56% since November 2022 compared to the three months before that. After Elon Musk took over Twitter, more people were looking for alternatives to Twitter, which was good for Tumblr and other social apps. Late last year, a number of apps that wanted to compete with Twitter, like Mastodon, GETTR, Tribel, and others, saw a big increase in installs.
Has everyone left? Here’s how the alternatives to Twitter have done since Elon Musk bought it.
Even if it’s just a joke, the fact that Tumblr’s blue check mark is tied to money makes it an interesting case study in a trend towards paid verification. The “Important Internet Checkmark,” as Tumblr calls it, is now available as a one-time in-app purchase, not as a subscription like Twitter and now Meta. As the parody goes on, Tumblr’s feature has been updated to include rainbow checks, which could turn into crabs at any time.
Still, the small increase in revenue makes you wonder what would have happened if Tumblr had added the feature to an upgraded version of its $4.99/month ad-free browsing subscription to boost its recurring revenues. It could have still done so “as a joke,” but it encouraged a longer-term commitment to the punchline.
Since Apple’s privacy changes, social app subscriptions like Meta’s new paid verification or Twitter Blue have become more common. This is because Apple’s changes made it harder for platforms to personalise targeted ads, which made the ads less effective and hurt the companies’ profits. In order to make up for their losses, these businesses turned to the mobile subscription economy.
Snapchat, for example, made Snapchat+ to add more features for power users to its app. Now, 2.5 million people pay for Snapchat. But it doesn’t have verification like Twitter Blue and Meta’s recently announced Meta Verified for Facebook and Instagram.
Twitter, on the other hand, has not yet made a good case for its subscription, as only 180,000 U.S. subscribers have paid, which is less than 0.2% of its monthly active users, according to The Information.
Now that Meta has joined the market, it’s hard to say where it will go because creators and businesses will have to figure out how much it will cost to pay for exposure and better customer service across a number of apps.
Meta starts selling blue badges on Instagram and Facebook at the same time that Zuckerberg copies Musk’s strategy.
And it’s not clear what that means for Tumblr, which has decided not to join the paid verification space because it thinks it’s a joke.
The company has never quite figured out how to make money in the past. Tumblr has never been able to make more money through more traditional methods, like the founder David Karp’s original idea for creative brand advertising or Yahoo’s bigger plans for search ads and other formats when it was bought by Yahoo in 2013. Six years after Yahoo was bought for $1 billion, its parent company, which at the time was Verizon, reportedly sold the service to Automattic for less than $20 million.
Matt Mullenweg, Tumblr’s new owner, has said that he wants to make subscriptions half of Tumblr’s income. He thinks that Tumblr could be a better Twitter. The company started offering livestreaming in December, and today they made it available on desktops as well. But recently, Mullenweg also hinted at plans for Tumblr to join the Fediverse, a space that doesn’t have a single leader. That could point to a way for Tumblr to make money in the future that has nothing to do with paid verification or parodies.