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Yahoo's Tumblr struggles to grow its user base

Staff writer |
Tumblr is lagging well behind its competitors and the industry as a whole when it comes to growing its user base.

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In its latest forecast on social network usage, eMarketer predicts the social network will fall farther behind its competitors over the next four years.

Tumblr is a young company, starting from a small user base. As such, its reach among internet users is 8.7%, far below the 69.9% who use social networks in general. Tumblr is most heavily used by Americans ages 25 to 34, who are also the heaviest users of social networks in general.

Regarding its total user base, this will be the last year Tumblr will grow by double digits, signaling a plateau. In 2016, Tumblr will have 23.2 million users in the U.S.

That’s less than half as many as Pinterest (which has 54.6 million) and less than a third as many as Instagram (which has 89.4 million).

Perhaps even more telling regarding usage, the gap between Tumblr and its competitors will widen through 2020. Over the next four years, Instagram will add 26.9 million users, Facebook will add 14.6 million and Pinterest will add 12 million, but Tumblr will add just 6.2 million users.

Yahoo, which purchased Tumblr in 2013, has hoped the social destination would boost its shrinking share of the U.S. ad market.

This year, Yahoo will capture 1.3% of total U.S. digital ad spending, a slight decrease over last year. And its share of U.S. display spending will drop to 4.0% this year, from 4.8% in 2015.

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