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Reddit: Social Ads for the More Socially Savvy

  |  November 15, 2013   |  Comments

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-mooseReddit 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 

  • Subreddits are your friend unless you're just that cool (you're probably not) 
  • Read the instructions.  Reddit used to have what was The Coolest instructions I've ever read, illustrated by The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman. Unfortunately the page that held that comic is now a 404. (Note to Reddit, you might want to redirect that link
  • Read the instructions on rules, posting and tips BEFORE choosing the subreddit(s) to advertise in. Make sure that what you're advertising for or your message doesn't go against the rules. 
  • You can choose a minimum budget of $5 or go as high as $9,999 per campaign. 
  • Whatever you budget you choose for whatever length of time, WILL be spent in its entirety. For example you choose $10 a day for 3 days at $30. Reddit will continue to show until the budget is exhausted there will not be any fund "leftover" to move to the next day or remain unspent like there is with AdWords or Facebook for example. 
  • You can't geotarget, its by the Reddit categories only. 
  • Deciphering the stats and success from the reporting area is less than intuitive. On the campaign that's run under the Self-Serve Advertising section there is a tiny gray link for "traffic" on the ad, click that to see performance of impressions, clicks and CTR. 


























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

Elizabeth Marsten is the co-author of All In One Web Marketing Reference for Dummies (Wiley Publishing) with Ian Lurie, Marty Dickenson, Michael Becker and John Arnold. 

Well versed in Google, Bing Ads (MSN) paid search platforms, she has additional paid search platform experience in Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, adMarketplace and adRoll.

Elizabeth was promoted to Search Marketing Director at Portent in 2009. She currently manages PPC and oversees SEO, link building, copywriting and social media teams with their respective directors. See her SlideShare presentations from speaking at SMX Advanced, East and West, Miva Merchant, PPC Hero Con and Wappow.

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