What do you want to know

In a social media landscape increasingly dominated by the global Meta and TikTok networks, another channel is starting to get some well-deserved recognition: Reddit.

Second to TikTok in terms of annual growth in 2021Reddit is a very diverse and passionate channel, filled with interests that cover just about every hobby, topic, interest, or lifestyle you could imagine.

This makes it a particularly attractive channel for digital and social media advertisers looking to reach their target audiences.

Reddit 101

For a much more in-depth introduction to Reddit as a channel, I highly recommend Brent Csutoras’ Beginner’s Guide to Reddit: How to Get Started and Succeed.

But to understand the platform’s advertising opportunities, we need to understand the basics.

Reddit includes a massive collection of communities called subreddits, all organized around a particular topic.

A r/ prefix indicates the names of these subreddits.

Subreddits can vary wildly in topic and scope, ranging from something as broad as r/world news (with over 27 million subscribers) to something as specific as r/RealBeesFakeTopHats dedicated to photoshop fancy top hats on photos of bees.

According to the rules of each community, members can post images, videos and text in these subreddits.

Posts can then be liked (upvoted) or disliked (downvoted) to allow more popular content to gain more visibility.

Reddit users create an account and then explore the wide variety of subreddits the site offers.

A global “home page” brings together the most popular and trending content on various topics. This earns Reddit the very appropriate (and self-proclaimed) title of “The Front Page of the Internet”.

Essentially, Reddit dates back to the early days of the internet, before the explosion of social media, where message boards and online forums were the norm.

Reddit alone is home to around 3 million different communities (subreddits), all under one roof.

Why advertise on Reddit

Reddit can offer social media advertisers advantages over some of the more established advertising channels like Meta or Twitter.

Niche targeting

With over 3 million active subreddits covering nearly every niche interest known to mankind, Reddit can probably help you focus on your target audience.

Reddit claims it can deliver anywhere from 25-70% non-duplicate scope, depending on the platform.

If you’re having trouble finding your audience on another platform, chances are it’s on Reddit.

Highly engaged audiences

What Reddit lacks in user numbers on its platform compared to Facebook or Instagram, it makes up for in user engagement.

People who regularly use Reddit typically do so for around 34 minutes a day.

Reddit’s userbase also tends towards young people between the ages of 18 and 35, and its users are very active in specific segments such as gaming, fashion, and entertainment.

Cost reduction

Less competition on the Reddit advertising platform means you can expect significantly lower CPMs (cost per thousand) and CPCs (cost per click) than your major social advertising networks.

While costs vary by location, target, and objective, we found that CPMs were less than a third of Facebook’s cost and CPCs less than a quarter.

Get started with Reddit advertising

It doesn’t take much to create a Reddit ad account. All you need is an email address and a credit card.

You’ll need to start by creating an account if you don’t already have one.

It’s easy and requires an email address or an existing Apple or Google account. Note that all Reddit advertisers need a profile, so if you’re creating one for a business or brand, remember that when selecting a username.

Once you’re done creating your Reddit account, go to ads.reddit.com and add a payment method to your ad account. With an active payment method, you can start advertising.

Reddit Advertising Objectives and Campaign Structure

Image by author, September 2022

As you’ll notice, most campaign objectives have a cost-per-action bid type instead of CPM.

This will require a bit more testing and bidding strategy than other platforms with automatic bidding algorithms based on results.

But ultimately, you should be able to find a good place that gives you the volume and price you want.

Reddit’s campaign structure is very similar to most social media platforms:

  • Campaign (Objective & Funding).
  • Ad group (audience, placements, and delivery).
  • Announcement (Creation & Trackers).

Ad group targeting options

There are three main types of audiences you can use on Reddit: Interests, Communities, and Custom Audiences:

Targeting by interests

It uses the perceived interests of the audience based on their content consumption behavior.

You will find that the interest targeting is much broader compared to a channel like Meta.

At a high level, interest targeting contains about 15 different interest groups, each with a variety of different subgroups:

  • Animals and pets.
  • Art design.
  • Automotive.
  • Business & Finance.
  • Entertainment.
  • Family relationships.
  • Food drink.
  • Game.
  • Healthy lifestyle.
  • News and Education.
  • Sports.
  • Style & Fashion.
  • Technology and IT.
  • Television.
  • Travel.

Community targeting

This targets Redditors who have recently interacted with or subscribed to a specific subreddit.

This is where you can get very targeted and specific information with whom you want to show your ads.

Custom Audience

This targeting uses a variety of behavioral and first-party data to serve ads to specific audiences.

These include:

  • Targeting by customer list (emails).
  • Retargeting engagement (people who watched a video, clicked on an ad, or interacted with your content.
  • Website retargeting (people who have visited your site and/or taken specific actions.

You will probably notice that Reddit has no age or gender targeting due to the limited amount of profile information collected. However, you can target based on geography.

Pitches

Reddit offers two locations for ads on its website: Feeds and Conversations.

  • The stream location displays ads to users browsing their “Home” feeds, “Popular” feeds, and individual sub-reddits.
  • The chat location goes a step further and shows ads to users who engage with a specific post. These ads appear in the same place between the post and the first comment.
placing-ads-on-redditImage taken from redditinc.force.com, September 2022

Delivery

Budgets are allocated on a lifetime or daily basis and can run continuously or for a set duration.

Unlike most paid social platforms, Reddit does not have an automatic bidding algorithm. You must set a maximum CPM, CPC or CPV (cost per view) (depending on the objective) that you are willing to pay.

While it may be daunting for media planners and newbie marketers, Reddit will make recommendations based on your target audience.

recommended auctions on redditImage from Reddit, September 2022

Creative

There are four main types of Reddit ad creatives, all of which should be familiar to you if you’ve run social media campaigns before:

  • Text Ads.
  • Picture ads.
  • Video ads.
  • Gallery ads (carousel).
types of ad creatives on redditImage from Reddit, September 2022

You can find a detailed list of specs for each creative type on the Reddit classifieds site.

However, they generally conform to standard specifications and aspect ratio recommendations on other social media platforms (1:1, 4:5, 16:9).

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Reddit as a platform, here are some things to consider if you want to launch a new campaign or optimize an existing one:

Best practices and pro tips

Do not rush

If you’re new to Reddit advertising, avoid the temptation to do short-term testing.

Instead, be sure to set a longer duration for your campaign to allow Reddit to optimize based on initial results. Reddit recommends at least 12 weeks, but you should aim for at least four.

Expand your (targeting) horizons

Take advantage of Reddit’s low and predictable CPM and CPC by casting a wider net for targeting.

Use the applicable interest categories to get started, but be sure to add subreddits relevant to your interests to reach everyone you want.

Find the right subreddits to target

Unfortunately, Reddit does not offer suggestions on which subreddits to target within the platform. But enjoy this handy tool to graphically represent subreddits related to your audience’s interests.

Creativity is the key

Success on Reddit depends more on developing the right creative than on other social platforms. Here are some points to consider:

  • Be clear and concise: Redditors appreciate knowing what you offer and what you would like them to do. Be sure to highlight your CTA clearly and early. This is not the place for flowery brand language, get straight to the point and your audience will appreciate it.
  • Be authentic: Know your audience and develop advertising content that speaks to them. Don’t be afraid to be conversational and use language and phrases that they know and recognize.
  • Reddit is great for promotions: Don’t be afraid to offer deals and promotions to Reddit audiences. Several sub-reddits (like this one) are devoted to bargains and special offers. They love them.

Wrap

Reddit is a fast-growing social network that has a lot to offer advertisers looking to reach large, niche audiences.

Although the interest targeting options aren’t as robust as Meta, LinkedIn, or Twitter, the ability to specifically target members of the over 3 million dedicated communities (subreddits) can help you reach your target audience.

Since Reddit is smaller than the major social networks, advertisers can expect much lower CPMs and CPCs, which means more money for marketing.

Reddit is an intriguing platform, and you should consider testing it as part of your social media marketing strategy, especially if you have a hard-to-reach or hard-to-engage audience.

More resources:


Feature image: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock

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