Like Twitter, Tumblr is about following and being followed. You follow certain bloggers whose posts show up in your timeline, and maybe other people do the same to you.
But unlike Twitter, Tumblr isn’t showy about it. On Twitter you see a prominent line of numbers–how many tweets you’ve posted, how many followers you have, how many lists you’re on, which anyone looking at your profile mentally compiles into a ranking. Lots of followers=important, awesome. Few followers=bounce.
But on most Tumblrs, you can’t tell at a glance how many followers a blogger has. You may be able to see how much reaction individual posts have generated, but you usually end up judging the site based on content, not numbers.
One effect the sidelining of stats has is to play down your reach on Tumblr. VC Bijan Sabet, of Spark Capital, which invested in Tumblr, wrote a post today about how it’s hard to estimate how many people see your stuff.
Google Analytics doesn’t capture the views inside other people’s Dashboards, which function like RSS readers with full feeds of every Tumblr you’re following.
“A huge (understatement) part of the traffic & engagement on Tumblr is happening inside of the Tumblr Dashboard,” Sabet wrote.
A big part of Tumblr is reblogging, which is like retweeting. That leads to more untrackable Dashboard views.
“So for example, I have something like 3k followers on Tumblr,” Sabet wrote. “If one of my posts get reblogged by a few folks then that post also gets to reach their followers in their dashboard. And if a reblog happens from one of their followers of my original post, then the distribution reach is even farther.”
For example Sabet’s post, titled “Your Tumblr reach is likely bigger than you think,” already has 12 reblogs.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries