Tumblr brings photo filters and stickers to its iOS, iMessage and Android apps

Tumblr today is launching two new tools for creative expression, stickers and filters, which could become another revenue stream for the Yahoo-owned company, if it chooses to go in that direction in the future. Available only on mobile, users will be able to decorate their photos or GIFs using color filters or stickers from either the main Tumblr app on iOS or Android, or Tumblr’s iMessage app.

Initially, there are over 100 stickers to choose from, including symbols, objects, sunglasses, frames, and text like “yes” or “OMG,” for example. These are accessed by tapping the new face icon at the bottom of the screen, when you’re creating a photo or GIF post on mobile.

The stickers themselves are not bundled into packs, which is common, but organized into a single stream you scroll through. With the limited number available at launch, this isn’t too much of a concern. However, Tumblr says it plans to continuously add new permanent and limited-time stickers every month – a move meant to encourage its users to check the app more frequently.

Already in the works are stickers for Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, which will be introduced in February.

At some point, then, it may need to rethink how these stickers are organized as the library continues to grow.


Meanwhile, Tumblr’s photo-filtering option works similarly.

To filter your photo or GIF, you tap the magic wand icon at the bottom of your compose screen. But unlike most filters you find today in photo-sharing apps like Instagram, Tumblr has made an effort to differentiate its filters from the crowd. The app opts for bright, bold colors, so you can turn your photo pink, orange, red, purple or green. The idea is to create a more stylized, almost pop art-like image, rather than simply enhance the original.

These photos and GIFs can be saved to your mobile device’s photo gallery, as well, so you can share your creations outside of Tumblr.

Asked if Tumblr plans to sell stickers or additional filters in the future, Tumblr hinted that it’s not out of question. “Stickers is an editorial initiative right now,” a spokesperson said, “but we are always exploring new ways to drive monetization and meet advertiser needs.”


Many social apps allow advertisers to offer their own branded or sponsored creation tools, like Snapchat does with its sponsored filters, while other apps sell in-app sticker packs for a serious boost to their bottom line. (Line, for example, announced last summer it earned over $270 million a year from selling stickers.)

Tumblr says the new feature is arriving today on both iOS and Android, and the rollout will complete by Wednesday.