Reddit Advertising: Is it Worth it and How to Get Started
Reddit Advertising is PPC’s best-kept secret as millions of users are actively researching their topics of interest at this very moment. They’re your potential customers, a goldmine of marketing targets for organic and paid posts. Below, we’ll share more about Reddit and how advertising on Reddit works so you can formulate your own marketing strategy for success.
In This Article:
- What is Reddit and How Does it Work?
- Is Advertising on Reddit Worth It: Understanding the Platform
- How to Advertise on Reddit
- How to Build a Reddit Advertising Campaign
What Exactly is Reddit and How Does it Work?
Reddit is a social network and content contribution site used by millions. Users, or “Redditors,” contribute and curate content, sharing it into individual “subreddits,” or themed communities. User content can consist of text, links, images, and video. Redditors react to posted content by voting – giving an “upvote” to increase visibility or a “downvote” to decrease visibility. Reddit’s algorithm also looks at all of its upvoted content to showcase trending content on the site’s front page.
Subreddits may cover a broad topic, such as “movies,” or a niche topic, such as “LonghornNation” or “CraftBeer.” Reddit currently features 1.2 million active subreddits. Anyone can create a subreddit, which means there’s a constant flow of activity, content, and interaction on the platform. Each subreddit can be found at its own unique URL at reddit.com. For example, http://reddit.com/r/Austin or http://reddit.com/r/Movies.
Reddit offers customized browsing experiences as users can curate content related to just their unique interests, which presents a great opportunity for Reddit advertising. Users subscribe to subreddits to follow all of the activity and content for that particular community. This means they only select the content they’re interested in, and Reddit will filter out anything unrelated to their subscriptions. When signed in and on the front page of Reddit, users see just their subscriptions’ content and advertisements in their feed.
Pro Tip: Create a multireddit to read multiple subreddits at once. Do this by typing the Reddit URLs with a + in between. For example: https://www.reddit.com/r/Austin+LonghornNation
Compared to Google and other channels, advertisers don’t have to make educated guesses at user interests: Redditors are on the website sharing this information freely. This makes it much easier for advertisers to find and target their ideal audience. Once marketers identify where their audience is, they can create content and offerings for quality organic and sponsored posts.
Reddit Audience Demographics
Reddit boasts a large, highly engaged audience base. Ranked third behind Facebook and Instagram for monthly active social media users, Reddit also offers a higher retention rate than other platforms. According to Alexa Topsites 2019 data, Reddit’s daily time spent on the website was 76% higher than the top 10 trafficked websites, plus daily pageviews per visitor were nearly 3x those on Facebook.
Men, overall, are more likely to use Reddit, especially those aged 18-29. Users also tend to be more college-educated. While this is useful information, remember that demographics will vary with a subreddit’s focus. For instance, there are subreddits largely targeted towards women, such as AskWomen or XXFitness, a subreddit dedicated to female fitness. The variety of topics and interests presents endless opportunities for highly-targeted Reddit advertising.
Reddit is also an excellent gateway to other content, as a Pew Research Study found, 62% of the posts on Reddit are linked to another website. Reddit’s user base is consistent, active, and most of all, growing. Unlike Facebook users who may just view their home feed, Redditors are actively researching the website and subreddits for new content. With a little research, you can craft an ad to match the content they already respond to, like, and upvote.
Is Advertising on Reddit Worth It? Understanding the Platform
Short answer: yes. Reddit is a unique social platform that offers great benefits that aren’t replicated elsewhere. Reddit advertising is cheap, low-funnel traffic with a highly-engaged audience and wildly specific targeting. It’s a dream come true for PPC marketers, plus offers a great opportunity for organic promotion.
Where it becomes tricky is that advertisers need to have a deep understanding of the platform and its users more so than other digital channels. Each subreddit has its own rules and culture. Without a proper understanding of where an ad will be placed, the community can react negatively and the effectiveness of the ad will be severely limited.
The key to understanding Reddit comes down to understanding Reddit’s reputation system: karma. Karma is internet points, or street cred, displayed on each user’s profile. It shows how users interact with Reddit and its communities. Think of it as a visible representation of a Redditor’s activity on the website. Karma comes in two forms: Link Karma and Comment Karma. You earn Link Karma when your link submissions are upvoted, whereas Comment Karma comes when your comments are upvoted. There’s another side to this though. Karma is also deducted with each downvote on your links or comments. A user’s profile carries this number as a public display of your contribution to the site. This is why it’s so important to focus on authentic and useful engagement when posting on Reddit.
Karma is taken into consideration for the ability to post or comment on Reddit. Some subreddits may require a user to have a certain amount of karma before making a new post or comment as a way to fight mass-produced spam accounts. Low karma users may even have a post removed or closed for commenting by a subreddit moderator. You want to have a decent amount of karma before engaging in Reddit advertising.
Lucky for advertisers, understanding and building karma just comes down to being active on the platform and being authentic while doing it. Given enough time and effort, anyone can integrate their brand into the proper Reddit communities.
Spending time in a subreddit means doing more than just reading the top posts of the day. You need to be actively engaged with the community. Jumping into a subreddit with a self-promotional post without engaging first won’t win you any fans or customers. Build up your karma by responding to posts with a relevant comment. Interact with users and subreddits and develop relationships. Above all, make sure that your actions, posts, and comments follow the subreddit’s rules.
Each subreddit comes with its own set of rules. In some subreddits, the barrier to entry for organic posts is difficult, especially if you’re new to the platform and community. Quality content that is relevant to what users want to see will be successful regardless of the subreddit, but breaking simple rules like title structure, linked video length, or image use can result in your post being automatically removed and even your account being banned.
Know this: Reddit users are highly engaged. Following the technical rules of the subbreddit isn’t enough. Redditors know how to spot a fake user coming from a mile away. They’re not there for an onslaught of ads and posts that don’t add value to their community. They can, and will, respond negatively. Users may upvote and downvote any type of content, including sponsored posts, so you need to know what they like before you start advertising on Reddit.
One of the best examples of authentic interactions by a brand is Reddit user u/NFL, the official account of the National Football League. NFL’s comment history reveals that they post in a variety of team subreddits and the NFL subreddit – which, note, was made by fans. Their content is a great mix of comments on recent games and their own content. They also engage in AMAs, or Ask Me Anything sessions, a Reddit staple which acts as free-for-all Q&A sessions where fans can ask any question that comes to mind. Brands do need to be careful interacting with Reddit. While the NFL’s AMAs went great, others like Woody Harrelson’s infamous AMA for the film Rampart have not. AMAs are meant to act as a casual conversation, where Redditors can get to know people of interest. Harrelson famously decided to make “anything” just questions about his movie and brush off any non-Rampart-related questions. By not embracing the spirit of an AMA and treating it like a standard movie presser, Harrelson and Rampart took a PR hit that is still joked about to this day.
Speaking of AMA, Reddit users favor abbreviations and shorthand, such as AMA and TLDR; which is short for “Too Long, Didn’t Read.” While being able to properly use the abbreviations is important, avoiding mistakes is often more important. For the most part, writing normally won’t seem out of place, but attempting to “fit in” and missing the mark will immediately stand out and hurt your brand’s image in the community.
Properly using Reddit lingo in your posts and ad creatives will catch user attention. Take the time to craft a message that’s unique to the subreddit for a better response. As with any interaction with Reddit, it’s vital to understand how the abbreviations are used and incorporate them properly. Don’t overdo it, as Redditors will call out and downvote disingenuous content. Take a look at this good ad example where AARP made a Reddit-specific ad without going too far.
Common Reddit Abbreviations
- TLDR; Too Long, Didn’t Read
- DAE: Does Anyone Else?
- TFW: That Feeling When
- TIL: Today I Learned
- AMA: Ask Me Anything
- LPT: Life Pro-Tip
This is just the beginning of Reddit shorthand. You can find long lists of Reddit shorthands and terms, but the best way to learn what is being used is by immersing yourself into Reddit communities. Trends come and go quickly and you don’t want to be caught using terms or post structures that have fallen out of favor.
How to Advertise on Reddit
While Reddit has a very large active user base, Reddit’s ad revenue pales in comparison to the other social media networks. Reddit generated just $100M in ad revenue in 2018 while Twitter reached $655M the same year! What this means is that ad competition is low and inventory is cheap – two good reasons why advertisers get a better bang for their buck compared to other social media channels.
Reddit segments users’ by offering communities for nearly anything under the sun, making it easy for a marketer to find who to target.
If you elect to run a paid ad, targeting is available by interest category and by individual subreddits.
The most direct way to reach a highly relevant audience on Reddit is to target individual subreddits. This means you choose the specific subreddits where you want your ad to appear. As we said, there are more than 1.2 million subreddits, so there are plenty of places to advertise on Reddit.
For instance, if you want to promote a craft brew product, you could easily find target audiences in subreddits like CraftBeer and HomeBrewing. The website makes it even easier to find active subreddits by letting you browse through communities by name alphabetically or by using the search bar to find subreddits related to a topic. Reddit will also showcase the “rising” communities that are growing in members, have had an increase in interaction, or are otherwise noteworthy.
The advantage of targeting individual subreddits is that it ensures you are reaching the right niche audience and that your product or service is highly relevant to the community seeing your ad. It also gives you the ability to interact more directly with the community as they are responding to/engaging with your ad. The disadvantage is that your impressions and reach will be very limited, as your ad may only be showing in a handful of subreddits.
Subreddit Targeting Tips:
To target by subreddit, you’ll want to find smaller communities of around 5,000 subscribers and then get a feel of their active members. You want to find communities that are both large enough and regularly active, without being too massive and unfocused. Redditlist is a great tool for researching subreddit ideas, as it lists the top 5,000 subreddits, their rank, and their subscriber numbers.
- Avoid broad, high subscriber subreddits such as r/cats or r/funny
- Find subreddits with 5,000 subscribers minimum and with 100+ daily visits
- Don’t rely on Reddit’s search engine to find communities but instead, try tools like Google or Redditlist.com
There are even communities devoted to subreddits including r/SubredditoftheDay and r/ListofSubreddits
Interest Targeting on Reddit
The other primary targeting method on Reddit is Interest targeting. Interest targeting matches ads to users based on their browsing habits on the site and what types of subreddits they typically read. For example, if you read r/LonghornNation, you will likely be added to the “Sports” interest category, even if you don’t actually subscribe to that subreddit.
The Reddit ad platform provides a pre-defined list of interests to choose from, for example, Gaming, Travel and Fashion & Style.
Remember that with interest targeting, your ad is matched to the user based on the interest categories Reddit has grouped them into, rather than the content they are currently reading. In other words, if you are targeting the “Fashion & Style” interest category, your ad may appear to someone that is currently reading a subreddit about puppies. This is because the user has read fashion-related subreddits in the past.
An advantage to interest targeting is that it expands your reach across the Reddit site. Your ads have more opportunities for impressions, as they can show multiple times to the same user across many different subreddits. The disadvantage, of course, is that the ad isn’t necessarily relevant to the content the user is currently reading, so it may not be as effective in that moment.
How to Build a Reddit Advertising Campaign
While organic posts can be an effective way of marketing your brand on Reddit, the advantage of paid advertising is that it can achieve more impressions and reach across your target audience. While an organic post is a one-and-done deal, your ad will serve multiple times as Reddit will strive to serve enough impressions to meet your requested ad budget. Of course, keep in mind that Reddit’s ad-serving algorithm will be positively or negatively impacted by your karma. If users downvote your ad, your impressions will suffer.
If you opt for a paid advertising campaign, you will start with the Create an Ad page. From there, you’ll need to identify your ad’s objective. In other words, what is the goal of your Reddit ad campaign? To drive more traffic to your website? To drive more purchases (conversions) of your product? Depending on your objective, Reddit’s ad algorithm will optimize your impressions and reach toward the users that are most likely to take your desired action, based on their past interactions on the platform.
- Brand Awareness and Reach (CPM)
- Traffic (CPC)
- Conversions (CPC)
- App Installs (CPC)
- Video Views (CPV)
Next, comes your ad settings – what determines where and when you want your ad to run.
- Set by city, state, and country
- You can target or exclude a locations
- Zip code targeting is not available just yet
- Mobile and/or desktop
- Time of day for the advertisement to run
- Can be by hour of day or day of the week
- Set for daily or lifetime
- Bid amount
- The daily budget and bid per amount of impressions when creating your ad, or lifetime budget
- When you want your campaign to begin and end
Best Time to Run Ads on Reddit
Pay special attention to the hour of the day that you set your ad to run. Each subreddit’s user base has a time of day where they are most active and posting outside of that window can mean the difference between a post succeeding or failing. Later for Reddit is a free tool that allows you to analyze the post trends for a given subreddit. The website displays the optimal times to post in the subreddit based on current activity. If you want your posts to reach a significant portion of the subreddit’s audience, Later for Reddit can help you narrow down the best time.
Select Your Targeting
Next, you’ll select your interest categories or subreddits to target. For more details on how interest and subreddit targeting works, see above. As you make your selections, the daily impressions meter will change and give you an idea of your potential audience size.
Unfortunately, there are no options yet for remarketing on Reddit, but this will likely be an option in the near future as the ad platform matures.
Ad Format and Variations
Reddit advertising options include ads with a Link post, Text Post, or Video Post. Each ad type has its own headline, 300 characters that will act as the post title. Image card dimensions are the same as Facebook (1200 x 628) and display as a thumbnail on mobile platforms.
Get Ready to Win at Reddit Advertising!
By using this highly-popular site and targeting subreddits or interests, you can tap into a whole new stream of customers. It’s a perfect marketing opportunity for companies to speak directly to their audience thanks to Reddit’s large, self-segmented, and highly-engaged user base. Effectively marketing yourself on the platform and engaging with users means an emphasis on authenticity. Ensure you give users the content they’re searching for and get to know what they want by making organic posts and following the rules. If done right, advertising on Reddit can get your brand in front of your exact customer base.
Ready to get started? Learn more about Effective Spend’s paid social advertising services.