Tumblr's New Head of Ad Products Embraces YouTube Model of Sharing Ads With Creators

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Tumblr has a new ad product leader to help the platform as it tries to catch up to rivals in key areas like video.

Owned by Yahoo, which was bought by Verizon, Tumblr hired its first VP-ad product management, Buzz Wiggins, who started this week. Mr. Wiggins, 32, came over from mobile ad technology platform Kargo, where he also directed ad products.

Buzz Wiggins.
Buzz Wiggins. Credit: Courtesy Tumblr

Now, he's tasked with helping craft a strategy for Tumblr to spark more interest in the platform from brands and marketers through more compelling ad products and technology.

"We all want to move forward with getting great ads on the platform, and we want to make it really attractive to advertisers," Mr. Wiggins said by phone on his first day at Tumblr's New York headquarters.

One of his top priorities is "monetizing every page view," Mr. Wiggins said.

Tumblr failed to meet ad revenue goals last year, and it has tinkered with how its team even sells the platform. At one time, ad operations were directed from Yahoo. Tumblr has since brought sales and support staff back in-house.

It has been tinkering with the types of ads that run through the platform, which is known as a space for creative-minded bloggers, offering tools to craft GIF-laden posts and other digital media.

Tumblr has 315 million blogs, according to the company's latest stats. However, eMarketer has claimed the company is struggling to grow its user base, and adding users far slower than rivals.

In July, Tumblr announced a new revenue-share program with its top creators, who could run ads on their Tumblr pages and make money from their activity. The platform could become like YouTube and Twitter, which both offer ad-sharing opportunities with web celebrities known as "influencers."

"We do have these users that are making great content," Mr. Wiggins said. "They have influence over people. So, if we can come in and make native feeling ads … We can really get on par with what YouTube does, which is allow users to make money on the platform."