Reddit is a unique platform with its own set of norms that go against conventional advertising strategies, therefore it is easy to make mistakes when advertising on reddit and waste your advertising budget. In this guide, we will show you how reddit’s “self-serve” advertising platform works and how you can get the most from your ad dollars.
Why Advertise on reddit?
Reddit is a massively growing online community platform. There are amazing opportunities to reach new audiences in a profitable way for those who know how to execute on reddit.
The best part about reddit advertising is the ability to target specific communities. Each sub-community, or ‘subreddit’, is dedicated to a specific topic or interest and therefore contains a targeted demographic. If there is a subreddit related to your business (there are over 9,000 active communities on reddit), then you should experiment with reddit advertising.
Are you new to reddit?
Only experienced redditors should attempt to launch an advertising campaign on reddit. If you are new to reddit, we strongly encourage you to start with our Beginner’s Guide to reddit. The Beginner’s Guide will make you feel comfortable on reddit and give you the confidence you need to execute a reddit advertising campaign.
Read the Beginner’s Guide to reddit (for Marketers)
The Basics of self-serve reddit Advertising
We should mention that reddit offers two types of advertising opportunities.
‘Display’ advertising requires a $30,000 budget and places your ads in the sidebar of every page on reddit.com.
‘Self-serve’ advertising requires a $20 budget and places your ads above organic reddit content. Here is an Audible.com ad that is currently running on the frontpage:
In relation to organic reddit content, the display of self-serve ads is similar to Google Adwords:
Link Ads vs. Text Ads
Like normal reddit submissions, a self-serve ad can be either a link or text post. Link ads have a title that links directly to a webpage. Text ads are linked to a page on reddit where additional copy is displayed (which can contain links). Both types of ads have a comments section with the option to disable comments.
Targeting Options and Costs
Every ad you create must be targeted to an audience with one of the following options below. We have also included the cost per 1000 impressions for each.
- Interest Audience Group Targeting (Starts at $1.50 per 1000 impressions) – This is a relatively new feature from the reddit Advertising team and it allows you to target groups of subreddits that have related interests (e.g. Entertainment Addicts, Gamers, or Technology Buffs). You can read more about Interest Audience Group Targeting here.
- Frontpage, no location targeting (Starts at $1.50 per 1000 impressions) – Display your ad on the front page of reddit. Only go this route if you want to reach a general demographic. Targeting the front page is actually done through the ‘frontpage influencers’ Interest Audience Group.
- Frontpage with location targeting ($1.50 – 5.00 per 1000 impressions) – Display your ad on the front page, but only to users within a certain geographic area. The more specific you get with targeting (i.e. state or city), the more expensive your campaign will be. Only ads targeting the frontpage influencers can utilize location-based targeting.
- Subreddit Targeting (Starts at $1.50 per 1000 impressions) – Display your ad at the top of a specific subreddit. This is a great way to reach an audience based on a specific interest. The subreddit must be big enough (~5,000+ subscribers) and there must be at least $20 worth of ad inventory (based on estimated impressions). If a subreddit is too small, there won’t be enough inventory and you won’t be able to create an ad there.
Subreddit Targeting and Advertising Inventory
Unfortunately, inventory is limited when targeting specific subreddits. Only so many ads can be bought up and you can only purchase inventory up to 90 days in advance. There is no bidding system like Google or Facebook. This means that you may not be able to purchase ads for a specific subreddit and time period.
If there is no inventory available for your target subreddit, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them about the inventory status of the subreddit. They will tell you when inventory will become available again. We also recommend looking at related subreddits (if they exist) or consider advertising to an Interest Audience Group. If your ad is written for a specific subreddit, you should hold off on the campaign until inventory becomes available. Don’t compromise your ad campaign by displaying it to a more general audience that won’t convert as well.
Why advertising on reddit is different than other platforms
The reddit advertising experience is an interactive one. A successful reddit ad will include comments and discussion in response to your ad. Redditors will often use the comments section to discredit a claim your ad is making or discuss alternatives to your offering. They can also vote your ad up or down, although this has no effect on where or how often your ad is displayed. These features are not something you see on other digital marketing platforms, so don’t expect to sit back after you post your ad and watch the traffic/sales roll in. On reddit, it is crucial to participate and monitor your ad for comments and engagement.
Setting up your first Ad on reddit
Follow the steps below for a basic walk-through on creating a self-serve reddit ad. After you learn the process, we will discuss how to make your ad campaign successful.
1. Visit reddit.com/advertising and click the orange “create an ad” button.
2. Upload a thumbnail photo and enter your ad title. You don’t have to include a thumbnail photo, but they can bring more attention to your ad.
3. Choose Post Type and enter your link or body text. You can’t do both! We highly recommend exploring text ads first, but we’ll get into that more later. Click the ‘next’ button to continue.
4. Preview and edit your creative in the Creative Dashboard. Did you make any mistakes in the title or body? Click the title of your ad and you will see a preview of the body text. Go back to the Creative Dashboard and click the ‘edit’ button to make changes.
From the edit screen, you can also disable comments (not recommended) and opt-in to have comments sent to your inbox (highly recommended).
5. Choose targeting for your ad. First choose if you want to target Interest Groups or Subreddits. Then choose your Interest Group or Subreddit. Location Targeting is only available when targeting the ‘frontpage influencers’ interest group.
6. Choose the Timing and Budget. Pick the dates you want your ad to run and set your total budget for the ad. Keep in mind that ad budget is limited for every subreddit, and you may not be able to secure your desired time period or budget spend. Once you have your timing and budget set (and it’s available), click the blue ‘create’ button to create the campaign. You can then change your targeting, timing, and budget to create a new campaign with the same ad creative.
Your ad campaigns will display at the bottom of the page, where you can access them to pay, edit, or delete. You must pay for your ad (with a credit card) to activate it and submit it for approval by the reddit Advertising team.
Once your ad is approved, you will receive a notification via email. After approval, you must contact the reddit support team to make changes to your ad. Email email@example.com and include your ad name, username, and edits you are requesting. They usually update and approve changes within 24 hours.
Now you know how to set up your very own self-serve reddit advertisement! Click on the Advertising tab (accessible from any reddit page) to review all of your ads. From here you can view your ads’ status, edit unpaid ads, and access traffic data for live/completed ads.
How to create a successful reddit Ad
Setting up an ad is easy, but making your campaign a success requires the right approach. In this section we will look at the basics of creating a successful reddit ad.
Choosing the right targeting
This is the first consideration that every advertiser should make. Do you want to reach a targeted niche audience, or do you want to serve your ad to reddit’s general audience?
Unless you are running a huge campaign for a brand with mass appeal, you will want to target specific subreddits. Targeting subreddits allows you to speak directly to a demographic that cares about your brand. If you need help finding subreddits related to your brand, read this post.
Ad Concepts that work on reddit
Unlike traditional advertising, you need to cater to reddit’s community driven environment. Posting a link to your website with a brief description of what you do will be ineffective. Your ad needs to be personal and engage the subreddit you are targeting. Here are some tips for constructing your promotion:
- Use Text Ads. No matter what you are doing, use a text ad and then include links in the body text for conversions. Most advertisers are reluctant to use text ads because they think their traffic conversion will be lower, but we’ve found the opposite to be true. The Body Text gives you an opportunity to communicate on the reddit platform, building trust and providing additional information before you ask a redditor to visit your website.
- Ask redditors for feedback. Redditors love to give feedback and the platform is great for crowd-sourcing ideas. You will be impressed with the feedback you receive and redditors will appreciate that you asked for their opinion. You can then make a change based on their feedback and return to reddit to tell them what you did.
- If you are promoting a coupon, give the targeted subreddit a special discount. Don’t offer them something you are promoting other places. A nice touch is to make the coupon code specific to the subreddit (e.g. subreddit20OFF).
- Use reddit to promote philanthropic efforts. Redditors love helping others out which makes it a great platform to promote your latest charity drive or social entrepreneurial project. A good example is Charmin’s firehouse toiled paper campaign that received lots of attention on reddit.
- Be personal with your creative. It is best if your ad can be submitted by a personal reddit account (i.e. john_company_name). This will encourage redditors to interact with you. The copy and photo thumbnail should have a personal touch, too.
Your ad should encourage discussion
A great reddit ad should ask or encourage redditors to respond to your message. Redditors love discussion and the platform is designed to foster engagement. Posting your ad is just the beginning. You need to then monitor your ad and promptly respond to all comments posted. This is your chance to clarify any misconceptions and upsell your product.
Testing and Optimizing Ads for Success
A great ad campaign may start off as one of many experimental campaigns. We always recommend that advertisers go through an experimental ad phase to determine what works and what doesnt. Here are three steps you can take to optimize your ads:
1. Set up 5-10 different ads. Choose a handful of subreddits or different targeting options and create a custom ad for each. The idea is to experiment with different targeting and possibly different messaging. Remember to setup tracking for each ad so you can compare conversion rates and other analytics.
2. Run each ad with a small budget ($20 minimum). This will give you enough data to decide which ads are working and which need to be revised/killed.
3. Monitor the results. Check the traffic data and conversions for each ad. Are some performing better than others? Did any of the ads produce a profitable result? Determine which ads were effective and which were not. You can then run the ads that did work with a higher budget to produce more profitable results. The ads that didn’t work can be discarded or you can revise them and do more testing.
Case Study – Haworth Chairs
Haworth Chairs ran a successful reddit ad that got the attention of redditors and started an interactive discussion. Here are a few reasons the ad was so successful:
- The title was simple but effective. Almost everyone viewing reddit is sitting in front of a computer.
- They used a text ad, not a link ad. The body of their text ad gave lots of detailed information about their product and why you should buy it.
- The Haworth sales rep managing the campaign was highly involved in the comments. He provided detailed responses and didn’t ignore anyone.
Read our full analysis of this successful reddit ad campaign here.
More reddit Advertising Case Studies – These are official case studies created by the reddit advertising team. There are great examples of successful ad campaigns that you can learn from and emulate.
Official Self Serve Advertising Subreddit – This is the official subreddit for any self-serve advertising related questions or discussion. Reddit advertising administrators are present in this subreddit to respond to all submissions.
Self Service Support Team – Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to make a change to a live ad or if you have a question about one of your campaigns.
How to Make your First $1000 with Reddit Ads – A great article written by Ryan Luedecke. This article will walk you through the process of creating ads and optimizing your campaigns for a profitable ROI.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
The reddit Self Serve advertising platform makes it easy for anyone to create ad campaigns on reddit. We love advertising on reddit because it is an opportunity for brands and companies to promote their product or messaging to highly targeted audiences. Reddit advertising is also a great way to start a discussion around your brand. This discussion creates a personal connection with your target audience and leaves a lasting impression on those who interact with you.
Most traditional advertisers might shy away from reddit ads, but we believe that those who are willing to venture into this new, emerging platform will see unexpected positive results.