Reddit advertising

Reddit 101: A Marketer’s Guide to Reddit Advertising

Reddit calls itself the front page of the Internet. That is why you need to know everything about Reddit advertising.

It’s an exaggeration but only by a little. Reddit is home to more than 1.2 million communities whose interests range from climbing and gaming to politics and archeology

It can become a cozy home for any number of people who are united over a shared interest.

From local meetup communities to music genres, there’s something for everyone. Even more fascinating is that every day hundreds of new subreddits spring to life. Some of them live and thrive, most die off in a few months..

Every day, 500-600 new subreddits are born. This equates to more than 15,000 new communities every month. Watch this and marvel at the power of Reddit!

Reddit advertising can be very powerful if done right.

Like r/evilbuildings, Reddit is home to a plethora of weird and strange groups. Why is this important? Because as a marketer, Reddit wields huge power that it will use without discrimination both for evil and for good.

The power to damage your brand…

…or give you free publicity and loyal customers.

This is possible even without dedicating significant resources to the platform. Just spare some time and effort. Like Lisa Su, CEO of AMD Corporation, and her chief engineers who held a Reddit-exclusive AMA (ask-me-anything) session with the community.

But bear in mind that on Reddit bad press is way more popular than good press. This is just human nature. Drama and controversy fuel Reddit more than anything else.

Reddit is neither evil nor good. It simply loves stories. And it just so happens that bad news generates the best stories.

Every year since 2010 Reddit has been showing exceptional growth both in influence and user count. In 2018 it has become the third largest website in the US leaving Facebook in the dust. I don’t believe it can beat Google or YouTube but Amazon and Facebook are far behind.

Reddit is in Top 6 websites in the world and its popularity is growing.

(Reddit communities growth. Source: statista.com)

Over time Reddit has transformed from a link aggregator and funny content consumer to an independent news generator and a trusted user review platform.

In November 2017, there were 330 million monthly active Reddit users. Compare that to Twitter – the platform that a year later, in late 2018, managed to accumulate only 326 million monthly users.

How to Kinda Not Suck With Reddit Advertising

Remember 2005 Wendy’s San Jose case where a woman found a severed finger in her food?

Even after it turned out the whole thing was an attempt to defraud the famous food chain of money, the damage to the company image was already done: a gigantic country-wide dip in sales leading to $21 million dollars in lost revenue, thousands of disgusted customers, irreparable damage to the franchise, and negative media attention for months.

This is the power of the negative PR in modern society. And it didn’t matter it was a fraud attempt.

13 years later, the Internet is even more unforgiving. It has more impact than the press, and it never forgets.

And Reddit is its front page.

Conquering Reddit as a Business

Most downvoted comment on Reddit of all time. Made by Electronic Arts community team in 2017. The PR backlash caused EA’s flagship game to significantly miss sales expectations and EA itself to suffer in the stock market.

Reddit is one of the most influential platforms in the world. Throughout the years it has become an important platform for the biggest brands to build a community and communicate with their most active consumers.

With time, Reddit users created their own lists of sweethearts and hated brands. Sometimes Reddit both loves and hates the same company, though. And everybody else is somewhere in between.

Some Reddit sweethearts are:

  • IKEA (they use funny names for their furniture and decor, what’s not to like? If you can make a girl laugh, you’ve almost conquered her heart. It seems the same goes for Reddit)
  • Yamaha (users seem to like both their guitars and bikes and often wonder how Yamaha got this strange combo)
  • AMD (Reddit loves the underdog, so both Nvidia and Intel are out of luck here)
  • Costco (despite what you might think Reddit remembers good publicity as long as the bad one and Costco paying decent wages to their workers definitely earned a place in Reddit’s sweethearts list)
  • CD Project RED (Reddit loves indie game developers and especially those that grew up but kept their integrity – and a smart PR team)
  • Nintendo (because Reddit is basically 25% geeks and 75% nostalgia for the 90s)

Among the hated you’ll always find:

  • Nestle (Reddit craves social justice and drama so this is like the best mix of both. In addition, Nestle does nothing to improve their image)
  • EA, Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, KONAMI (these giants of the electronic entertainment industry are the opposite of indie developer studios and have extremely poor communication skills)
  • Comcast (because of the forced data restrictions in some areas and poor business practices)
  • Louis Vuitton and Cartier (apparently, they burn or dump all the stuff they can’t sell at the end of the season)
  • Disney (because of the first-hand stories on Reddit how the company is barely paying minimum wage to their Walt Disney World workers)

Building a healthy relationship with the community on Reddit will lead to better customer loyalty and possibly even new sales. But in order to do that, you have to know what makes Reddit community tick and how to do Reddit advertising to them.

Free and Low Budget Promotions: Dos and Don’ts

A few words about guerilla marketing on Reddit.

Reddit offers a lot of opportunities for low-budget and zero-budget marketing promotions. From boosting your giveaway participation numbers on /r/giveaways/ to hyping clothes on sale on /r/ThriftStoreHauls/ and /r/Deals/, there’s always a place for your free promotion.

Local companies should take a look at region-specific subreddits such as CanadaDeals while international online stores can market to anyone they like – from more generalized /r/coupons/ to highly specific /r/SneakerDeals/.

And if your product can somehow get into the top of all time of /r/ShutUpAndTakeMyMoney/, you will be the stuff of legends:

Oh and one last thing you might want to consider.

If Reddit doesn’t have a suitable community for your marketing efforts, build one yourself. Creating new communities is free and easy. Building them is not as easy of course but with enough dedication and effort, anything is possible. Go you!

Reddit Ads: How to Find the Right Audience

Now let’s move on to paid Reddit advertising.

Reddit is centered around sharing content and having fun. So what you have to bring to the table is fun content. Something of tangible value.

Don’t be intimidated by this undertaking. You have a service or a product that has value. Your task here is to understand which communities will have enough users who need what you sell.

Are you a product company looking to sell everyday clothes? Google subreddits about style, fashion, and streetwear. Sort by top submissions. Make sure you look through the top posts of last year, last 6 months, all time, or whatever timeline seems most relevant to you.

Now when you have done this, go to the sidebar and visit related subreddits. See if they are a good fit as well. Sort them by top posts. Visit their own sidebars.

Rinse and repeat until you have a list.

After all this, you’ll have a respectable number of communities for your ad campaign.

Create Your First Reddit Ad Campaign

Earning money is hard. Spending money is easy. Right?

Wrong!

We’ll show you how to spend your money on Reddit advertising in the best possible way.

Go to ads.reddit.com, make sure you are logged in and create your first ad campaign.

Your username will be a part of the advertisement so use a new name, preferably a login that has your company name or brand in it. You don’t want to share your (probably embarrassing) posting history with the world.

Set a Budget for the Campaign

Note that your planned budget and your final budget can be different. Yep, this is totally a thing on Reddit.

Make sure you are OK with potentially paying 20% more for your ad campaign than you planned to. If you aren’t, we suggest that you put a 20% smaller number here to avoid overshooting your spending targets.

Before we move on to the next section you should understand what you are prepared to pay for a single converted redditor and what exactly your conversion looks like.

This cost will be a different number for every business. It’s based on the combination of what you can afford to pay and what the others are paying.

Reddit reuses roughly the same bidding ideas as Google Adwords. The views go to the highest bidder. But remember that part where you’ve made a long list of cool subreddits that fit your product?

This is the part where you get the chance to be the single ad provider for the entire community. Which means you won’t have to pay as much to make your ad visible.

Pay the Right Price

Now let’s move on to the Reddit advertising bids. In this regard, Reddit can be surprisingly democratic. Based on the standard conversion rate of 0.1 – 0.2% for a Reddit ad, you can calculate an optimal fee that you’d be comfortable to pay per conversion.

Of course, once you have experience running these ads for a while you’ll be able to optimize these values further based on your own ad performance.

Target the Right Locations

Region-based location targeting is not yet a thing on Reddit advertising. You’ll have to manually select the desired countries. All 28 of them if you have to.

Advertise to the Right Crowd

Getting back to the audience question, please remember that while Reddit will help you find a few subreddits that might fit your message, you’ll need to do your research to get a list of communities that would want to buy your product.

And we should say there are a lot of them on the platform.

Note in the screenshot below the disparity between a broader MaleFashion subreddit with only 68,000 subscribers and a much narrower FrugalMaleFashion sporting a whopping 280,000 users.

The power of Reddit is in niche communities and focus topics so we advise you to tailor your ad directly to the community. Customize each message to the crowd that is going to read it.

While these two groups might seem like an overlap, there’s a good chance that you’ll find very different people in each subreddit.

Discriminating users by the platform can work both ways. As a rule, you will get more impressions from mobile users but usually, desktop redditors convert better.

Bear in mind that this is a blanket statement. You’ll still need to experiment to find out the best way to reach your audience and convert them.

If you have the time, we suggest that you split each ad into two. This way you’ll be able to set lower bids for the mobile users who tend to be more numerous and less engaged and desktop users who can be more expensive targets but at the same time more lucrative.

This split will allow you to stretch your budget a bit longer which in our opinion is always a good thing.

Just bear in mind that in mid-2018 Reddit ads team has raised the prices from $0.20 to $0.50 per bid which in some cases makes the split useless.

Furthermore, you can split mobile into Android and iOS users.This makes sense in very specific use cases where Android redditors will not buy your iOS game or iPhone users not interested so much in Android-exclusive gear.

Anyways. Just check that you are not excluding too many people unnecessarily.

Some ads work best for people who are browsing during the weekdays, and some are more efficient during the weekend.

Hopefully, you are familiar with the basics of SEO and researched your audience well enough to understand whether they are looking for your product at work (and probably bored) or when they are free (and also bored! What else? This is Reddit, after all).

Protip: Reddit will change expected daily impressions based on whether you’ve included desktop, iPhone, or Android users.

However, it will not change this prediction based on your Time of Day targeting. You are on your own here.

Design Your Reddit Ad to Look Its Best

Reddit has historically been a rather dull-looking website. Since its foundation in 2005 and until mid-2018, the platform sported a very modest design with a strong focus on text rather than on images or video.

All has changed in April of 2018 when the Reddit team announced Wave 1 of new design testing in order to get more feedback and see how ordinary users liked it.

So far, new Reddit design has stayed a controversial subject. There’s even a Chrome extension now that automatically redirects all browser requests to old.reddit.com for people who can’t stand the changes.

A modest Reddit design means that ads on the website are also not very fancy. They preserve the look and feel of an ordinary user-created submission.

So your best options to make them stand out is to create a captivating title followed by a really good offer.

Remember, we’ve already found our target audience. We will not be performing for a dead crowd.

Most likely, at least some of these people already want your product. Your task is to close the deal with a good offer.

Choose the best fitting call to action button among a lot of options (sadly, no custom buttons are allowed yet):

  • Download
  • Install
  • Shop Now
  • View More
  • Sign Up
  • Learn More
  • Contact Us
  • Get Showtimes
  • Get a Quote
  • See Menu
  • Apply Now
  • Watch Now
  • Play Now

We advise that you also turn on comments for all your ads. Reddit values transparency and communication.

If your ad is any good (or particularly bad) you’ll also get a lot of honest feedback about it.

Once you are satisfied with what you ad looks like, move on to the final step.

Submit and Monitor

Money can’t buy you happiness but they can buy the happiness of the Reddit advertising team. So pour some cash into your campaign and get the ads wheels rolling.

A well written ad piece can easily take up a prominent place in a theme subreddit. Unfortunately, for now Reddit ads are disabled for smaller communities, but don’t despair.

Take this is a great opportunity to create quality content that will help you engage with the local community and build trust.

For example, our tech team managed to make a Magento speed optimization guide a top of the month submission in the smaller r/Magento subreddit.

We were transparent how we made it and why we posted it. The guide was also fact-based and actionable so that helped a lot, too.

So if you find yourself in a subreddit where Reddit ads are not allowed yet because it’s too small, become a true redditor – create a piece of original content (OC) and make yourself known in the community.

Best of luck! And may the upvotes flow your way.


Author Bio:

Vasili is an avid Redditor since 2013. He’s a tech writer with Onilab, a full-stack Magento development company working hard to make web stores faster, safer, and more fun for everybody.

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