Reddit isn't for the faint of heart, but could be a great niche audience to add to your marketing mix and provide some lift outside of the usual text ad and banner and options.
Reddit is the social story aggregator extraordinaire with a unique audience, to put it mildly. It also requires that the advertiser is able to "speak the language" of the area they wish to advertise in or suffer the consequences of a barrage of hateful comments, most involving calling for the head of an intern or marketing department.
Don't let that scare you off quite yet. Reddit is more than the heavily trafficked front pages of hot, rising and controversial; there are many subreddits like Funny, Gaming, Technology and within those many, many, many layers of subreddits that revolve around singular events, like a specific sporting game or event to the less than kind "Fat People Stories."
Do your homework and you could find yourself a great niche audience to add to your marketing mix and provide some lift outside of the usual text ad and banner and options.
Reddit Advertising Options
There are two primary types of advertising, one being the large banner ad/run of site option that requires assistance from Reddit's sales team. This is a far more robust program with larger sized banner ads and greater site coverage, but you'll need to get your price quote from Reddit directly.
Then there is the self-serve, top of subreddit/reddit banner area, which is the option we'll be discussing in greater detail today.
You'll need to come armed with copy for a headline. The length of an allowable Reddit "headline" is actually more than the text of an AdWords ad in it's entirety. You'll also need a URL and an optional (though I would consider it a requirement) 70x70 thumbnail image, which is tricky. A picture that small needs to be very clear, bright and not cluttered at all. Otherwise, no one will be able to tell what the picture is and you'll get to enjoy all kinds of snarky comments about the quality of the image. So don't cheap out on this one.
Note that it takes TWO DAYS from the time you submit your ad to approval and for impressions to start. There is a manual review process. It also means after you submit, if you screwed something up, or something changes the next day, you're going to hate yourself. Double check before you submit or you'll start the two day waiting clock over.
A "campaign" is defined on Reddit as having a start date, end date, the subreddit/area of Reddit you're going to advertise on and a daily budget. Each campaign can only target one subreddit and you can run multiple campaigns, you'll just need to set them up one at a time. (Sorry, no Power Editor.)
Tips on How to Self Service Advertise on Reddit
Who's Doing It Right?
Now that you've read through all the warnings, you're dying for an example of how to do it right, aren't you? There are definitely some smaller and bigger brands out there that have it figured out.
The other thing to keep in mind is that no matter what, you're never going to please 100 percent of the people and any kind of ad (unless it's for a nerdy charity) is going to receive at least some kind of complaint.
Denny's ran a campaign back in August 2013 that, while it received the usual barrage of Denny's-bashing comments, did a good job conveying the new stack of pancakes deal staying quirky and funny without being spammy. The charity, Child's Play, did extremely well the following week with tons of positive comments about the program. In their case, it was less about the ad itself and more about the reputation that preceded the charity. The ad was simply alerting Redditors to their usual auction and fund-raising efforts. This nerd-tastic ad was similar:
Ready to Reddit?
Reddit has to support itself somehow, they know that. T-shirts alone won't do it, but they do allow users to AdBlock so as to have the option of not seeing ads. If you don't use AdBlock, they do thank you and if you advertise on Reddit, they also give you some stats (like how much server time your ad revenue bought) as a thank you/ This goes to show how much Reddit gets not only its audience of users, but its advertisers as well. A little kudos and thanks can go a long way.
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Elizabeth Marsten is the director of PPC at CommerceHub in Seattle, Washington, where she oversees the PPC advertising practice with concentrations in Google AdWords & Shopping, Bing Ads, and Facebook. She is the is the co-author of All in One Web Marketing Reference for Dummies (Wiley Publishing), as well as PPC courses on Lynda.com.
See her SlideShare presentations from speaking at MozCon, SMX Advanced, East and West, PPC Hero Con, Searchfest, and State of Search or find her on Twitter.
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