When you’re online looking for crowdsourced recommendations from passionate people, where and how do you look? With so much product recommendation content out there these days, we can’t be the only ones adding “Reddit” at the end of our searches (à la “best vacuum cleaner reddit”) in search of honest recommendations and reviews.
In fact, this is likely one of the most common ways Reddit shows up in the lives of people who don’t participate regularly in one of the social media network’s 100,000+ interest-based communities. Add it all up, and Reddit is the third-most visited website in the US and the seventh-most visited site in the world.
Amongst advertisers, the platform isn’t as widely leveraged as YouTube or TikTok. But with a variety of factors bringing new challenges to historically dominant social media networks—not to mention the strides Reddit has made in recent years to up its advertising value—some advertisers are newly considering whether the platform makes sense for their brands.
If you want to learn more about what Reddit is, what it offers advertisers, and how to make the most of its advertising opportunity, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for everything you need to know about advertising on this one-of-a-kind social platform.
Unfamiliar with Reddit? You’re not the only one! Before we get into how and when advertisers might want to use the platform, let’s get clear on how it works.
Reddit is home to thousands of interest-based communities, or subreddits, where users connect and converse with each other. The site has over 51 million active monthly users across the US and more than 430 million around the globe.
One of the main ways Redditors engage is via posts, which can be marked as public to the entire internet or as viewable only to other Redditors in a certain subreddit. Users engage with posts by commenting and either upvoting (clicking a button to indicate that they found the post valuable or relevant) or downvoting (clicking a button to indicate that they did not find the post valuable or relevant) the post. The more upvotes a post gets, the more visibly it is displayed on Reddit. Check out the front page of Reddit to see the most popular (i.e., the most upvoted) posts of today—they range from breaking news, to funny videos, to celebrity gossip, to interviews with interesting people.
It’s a great question, as Redditors are a unique bunch!
One of the most unique benefits of the Reddit audience is that it’s a highly engaged one: As Reddit itself says, “Redditors don’t doom-scroll—they engage with intent.” Reddit is also a great way to reach millennials, as they represent about 40% of the platform’s users. At the same time, Redditors trust the content on the platform: 85% of them agree that their peers post things that are “honest and truthful”, which explains why so many turn to the site when searching for reviews and recommendations.
That being said, the fact that Redditors are so highly engaged and passionate about the topics they engage in comes with some caveats for marketers. Redditors are protective about their communities—a quality which has led to the perception that there’s an anti-advertising sentiment on the platform. According to Reddit, however, Redditors don’t dislike ads in and of themselves—they dislike “sneaky” ads.
Despite the platform’s large, engaged user base and its clear staying power, there’s a sentiment in the advertising community that Reddit has often been the platform playing catch-up when it comes to developing innovative features for users and advertisers alike.
Still, despite its relatively simple interface (to put it kindly…), Reddit has made some serious strides in just the past year to make itself more attractive to marketers—and, in particular, performance marketers. In 2023 alone, the platform announced Reddit Brand Lift and Reddit Conversion Lift for enhanced measurement, as well as Product Ads and Contextual Keyword Targeting. The platform has also invested heavily in delivering a personalized and localized user experience to international audiences. Its untapped search advertising potential (which it will no doubt try to harness amidst hints that an IPO could be around the corner) makes Reddit a worthy channel for advertisers to, at the very least, keep an eye on.
Overall, while Reddit has thus far struggled to establish itself as a cornerstone in the social advertising landscape, the platform is in an exciting place to capture more of marketers’ social ad spend—if it plays its cards right.
While Reddit can work for brands in most industries, marketers working in sectors that have particularly active audiences on the platforms, such as consumer, gaming, and tech, are especially well-situated to tap in. However, Reddit’s big marketing appeal—its ability to direct ad spending towards very specific target audiences in a privacy-friendly way—is relevant for businesses of all kinds.
Because Reddit is home to so many niche communities—from birders, to board gamers, skincare addicts, sound system afficionados, and everyone in between—there’s a big opportunity to serve ads specifically to people who are already engaging in an interest relevant to your product or service. Marketers using Reddit can target by community (to serve ads to a specific subreddit), interest (to reach a larger audience across multiple subreddits), location (to target Redditors in specific geographies), and custom audiences (to re-engage with consumers who have already engaged with their business in some way).
Even more, as the advertising world prepares for the loss of third-party cookies in Chrome and adjusts to the uptick in privacy-focused digital advertising regulation—not to mention the clear consumer demand for privacy-first marketing—contextual targeting will become a critical piece of any brand’s marketing investment. That makes Reddit’s community- and interest-based targeting options all the more valuable. These contextual capabilities will be a big differentiator for Reddit and may drive more marketing dollars towards the platform as social ad spend continues to fragment and marketers prioritize privacy-friendly targeting opportunities.
The golden question! Let’s dig into what you should consider when investing in Reddit to ensure your dollars are used strategically.
First and foremost, make sure to read up on Reddit’s Advertising Policy and ensure that all your campaigns comply.
Next, when it comes to crafting creative for Reddit, here are some key tips:
Once you’ve crafted your creative, make sure to set a clear objective or KPI to analyze the performance of your campaign against. This will help you keep track of what’s working and what isn’t once the campaign is up and running.
From there, make sure to set a long enough flight for your test to ensure that the platform can optimize based on initial learnings. Your test should last for at least four weeks, and preferably for eight weeks. As part of the testing process, incorporate A/B tests—of ad formats, ad creatives, headlines, post text, and CTAs—into your campaign to see what resonates the most with your target audiences.
Next, while Reddit can be a standalone platform for advertising efforts, it works best as part of a full funnel, omnichannel approach. While the platform has come a long way in improving its performance marketing offerings, it has a lot of value as an upper-funnel channel, as many users visit the site to research and discover new ideas and products. As such, it can work well for building brand awareness with highly engaged target audiences. To move prospect audiences further down the funnel, marketers can pair Reddit campaigns with channels like Meta and Google Search to round out their omnichannel efforts.
Phew! That was a lot. Let’s wrap it up with a brief summary of what was discussed—or, as Redditors like to tag summaries under particularly long posts, TL;DR (too long; didn’t read).
Overall, Reddit is chasing some of the more established social media marketing channels. That said, the platform is in a particularly interesting position as social ad spend fragments and the industry quickens its pace towards a privacy-friendly norm. For advertisers who want to tap into engaged, niche communities, Reddit presents a great opportunity to test, learn, and grow.
Social fragmentation and privacy-friendly marketing are just two of the trends shaping the marketing landscape today. Want a better understanding of all the trends that will impact advertisers in 2024? Check out our 2024 Trends Report.