Article originally published on Search Engine Journal.
In a social media landscape increasingly dominated by the world’s Meta networks and TikTok, another channel is starting to get some much-deserved recognition: Reddit.
Second to TikTok in terms of YoY growth in 2021, Reddit is a very diverse and passionate channel filled with interests that run the gamut of just about every hobby, topic, interest, or lifestyle you could imagine.
This makes it a particularly exciting channel for digital and social media advertisers looking to reach their target audiences.
For a much more in-depth primer on Reddit as a channel, I highly recommend Brent Csutoras’ A Beginner’s Guide to Reddit: How to Get Started & Be Successful.
But to understand the platform’s advertising opportunities, we need to understand the basics.
Reddit comprises a massive collection of communities called subreddits, all organized around a particular topic. An r/ prefix denotes the names of these subreddits.
Subreddits can vary wildly in terms of topic and scope, ranging from something as broad as r/worldnews (with over 27 million subscribers) to something as specific as r/RealBeesFakeTopHats dedicated to photoshopping fancy tophats on photos of bees.
Depending on each community’s rules, members can post pictures, 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 “front page” aggregates the most popular and trending content across various topics. This earns Reddit the very appropriate (and self-proclaimed) title of “The Front Page of the Internet.”
In essence, Reddit harkens back to the early days of the internet, before the explosion of social media, where message boards and online forums were the norms.
Only Reddit is home to around 3 million different communities (subreddits), all under one roof.
Why Advertise On Reddit
Reddit can offer social media advertisers advantages compared to some of the more established ad channels like Meta or Twitter.
With over 3 million active subreddits spanning almost every niche interest known to humanity, Reddit can likely help you zero in on your target audience. Reddit claims it can provide anywhere from 25-70% unduplicated reach, depending on the platform.
If you’re having trouble finding your audience on another platform, there’s a good chance it’s on Reddit.
What Reddit lacks in the number of users on its platform compared to Facebook or Instagram, it makes up for in user engagement. People who use Reddit regularly generally do so for almost 34 minutes daily.
Reddit’s user base also trends toward the younger 18-35 demographic, and its users are highly active in specific segments like Gaming, Fashion, and Entertainment.
Less competition on the Reddit ad platform means you can expect CPMs (cost per thousand) and CPCs (cost per click) that are considerably lower than your main social advertising networks.
While costs will vary based on location, target, and objective, we’ve seen CPMs less than one-third the cost of Facebook and CPCs less than one-fourth.
Getting Started On Reddit Advertising
Little is needed to get a Reddit advertising account up and running. 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. This is 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 company or brand, remember that as you select a username.
Once you’re finished 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 begin advertising.
Reddit Advertising Objectives & Campaign Structure
As you’ll notice, most campaign objectives have a bidding type of cost-per-action instead of CPM.
This will require a little more testing and bid strategy than other platforms with automatic bidding algorithms that are result-based. But in the end, you should be able to find a sweet spot 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 & Delivery).
- Ad (Creative & Trackers).
Ad Group Targeting Options
There are three main audience types you can use on Reddit: Interests, Communities, and Custom Audiences:
It uses the audience’s perceived interests based on their content consumption behavior.
You’ll find that the interest targeting is much more broad compared to a channel like Meta.
At a high level, Interest targeting contains around 15 different interest groups, each with a variety of different subgroups:
- Animals & Pets.
- Art & Design.
- Business & Finance.
- Family & Relationships.
- Food & Drink.
- Healthy Living.
- News & Education.
- Style & Fashion.
- Technology & Computing.
This targets Redditors who have recently interacted with or subscribed to a specific subreddit.
This is where you can get highly niche and specific with who you want to show your ads.
This targeting uses various behavioral and first-party data to show ads to particular audiences.
- Customer list targeting (emails).
- Engagement retargeting (people who have viewed a video, clicked on an ad, or engaged with your content.
- Website retargeting (people who have visited your site and/or taken specific actions.
You’ll probably notice that Reddit does not have age or gender targeting due to the limited amount of collected profile information. However, you can target based on geography.
Reddit has two placements for ads served on its website: Feed and Conversations.
- The feed placement shows ads to users browsing their “Home” feeds, “Popular” feeds, and individual subreddits.
- The conversation placement takes things one level deeper and shows ads to users engaging within a specific post. These ads appear in the same place between the post and the first comment.
Budgets are allocated on a lifetime or a daily basis and can run continuously or over 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) (based on the objective) that you’re willing to pay.
While this might be daunting for beginner media planners and buyers, Reddit will make recommendations based on your target audience.
There are four main Reddit ad creative types, all of which should be familiar to you if you’ve executed social media campaigns before:
- Text ads.
- Image ads.
- Video ads.
- Gallery ads (Carousel).
You can find a detailed list of specs for each creative type on the Reddit ads website.
However, they generally conform to the standard specs and aspect ratio recommendations on other social media platforms (1:1, 4:5, 16:9).
Now that we’ve covered Reddit’s basics as a platform, here are a few things to consider if you’re looking to launch a new campaign or optimize an existing one:
Best Practices And Pro-Tips
If you’re new to Reddit advertising, avoid the temptation to run short-term tests.
Instead, make sure you 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.
Broaden Your (Targeting) Horizons
Take advantage of Reddit’s low and predictable CPMs and CPCs by casting a wider net for targeting.
Use the applicable interest categories to start, but ensure you’re adding relevant subreddits to your interests to reach everyone you’d like to.
Find The Right Subreddits To Target
Unfortunately, Reddit doesn’t offer suggestions for which subreddits to target within the platform. But take advantage of this handy tool for visually graphing subreddits related to your audience’s interest.
Creative Is Key
Success on Reddit depends more on developing the right creative than on other social platforms. Here are a few things to consider:
- Be clear and concise: Redditors appreciate it when they know what you’re offering and what you’d like them to do. Make sure to highlight your CTA clearly and early. This isn’t the place for flowery brand language, get to the point, and your audience will appreciate it.
- Be authentic: Know your audience and develop ad content that speaks to them. Don’t be afraid to be conversational and use language and phrases they know and recognize.
- Reddit is great for promotions: Don’t be afraid to offer deals and promotions to the Reddit audience. Several subreddits (like this one) are devoted to bargains and special offers. They love them.
Reddit is a fast-growing social network with a lot to offer advertisers looking to reach broad and niche audiences. While 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 intended audience.
Since Reddit is smaller than the top social networks, advertisers can expect much lower CPMs and CPCs, allowing the potential to get more bang for marketing bucks.
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.