How Tumblr Helped Hyundai Spread Its World Cup Message

Paid and free tactics give a lift

For the first time, Tumblr is giving brands a look at how their campaigns impact awareness, conducting surveys of users and asking whether they were familiar with their ad partners' messages. The first study for Hyundai during its World Cup marketing showed that a mix of paid posts and free messaging led to a significant jump in consumer recognition, according to Tumblr's data.

Hyundai was the World Cup sponsor behind the hashtag #becausefutbol, encouraging social media users to share tweets, photos, GIFs and jokes about the tournament's impact on their lives. On its #becausefutbol Tumblr page, people shared soccer-themed artwork and Hyundai posted its own.

The sponsor based its whole World Cup strategy around Tumblr, using paid and organic tactics to boost its profile. It bought trending positions on Tumblr's discover page and sponsored posts. It also connected with active Tumblr users with influence, a tried-and-true tactic that helps generate more traction for a campaign. 

"Tumblr was the hub, the central spoke we drove everything around for the World Cup," said David Matahia, Hyundai's director of marketing.

Tumblr said the campaign worked. Users exposed to the posts were far more likely to associate Hyundai with #becausefutbol and were more aware that the carmaker was a World Cup sponsor.

Controlling a hashtag on social media can be a tricky feat for marketers. It's not always clear what sponsor is behind a popular message.

Tumblr users who viewed and shared a #becausefutbol post sponsored by Hyundai were 31 percent more likely to recognize the carmaker as a World Cup sponsor than those who had not clicked on such a post. Further down the line, the bump from earned engagement—users exposed to #becausefutbol through unpaid posts—led to a 176 percent bump with people more likely to associate Hyundai with its World Cup sponsorship.

As for identifying #becausefutbol with Hyundai, there was a 38 percent lift from paid and 135 percent from earned. Tumblr measured the percentage lift against people who had not interacted with #becausefutbol posts.

Tumblr said the boost shows the benefits of a paid strategy to help propel campaigns. This was Hyundai's first paid campaign on the site. Tumblr's ad products are still maturing with the help of its owner Yahoo, which is starting to sell Tumblr ads on its other Internet properties.

Tumblr also is adding more measurements and targeting abilities.

"The tools and analytics we're providing are a lot more sophisticated," said Lee Brown, Tumblr's global head of brand partnerships. "We can show that paid is driving earned and what impact earned is having on brand association and sponsorship association."