We all know what Reddit is…or do we?
If you have been around on the internet for long enough, you may have heard of or briefly looked at the platform known as Reddit. Fairly intimidating and seemingly directionless at first glance, you might ask how Reddit can make for a good advertisement platform. In this post, we hope to share our firsthand experience using Reddit advertising and how it could be appealing to you and your team. To fully understand, we need to know what Reddit is and what makes it unique.
What some people THINK Reddit is:
One user on Quora answered this question: “What’s the worst part about Reddit” with ‘Reddit is everything wrong with humanity in one place’. The user claims that ‘the average Redditor is stupid, behaviorally and emotionally immature, hostile, selfish and miserable’. ‘To stay away from the useless heap of flesh organs and bone that contributes to it.’ Whether this person’s negative opinion on Reddit is correct or not, 875 upvotes show that some people do believe this way.
On the other side of the spectrum are the people who have replaced Reddit with what used to be the morning newspaper. The home page updates the user with current events, celebrity gossip, and the highest quality memes.
Which is it? Well, the answer is somewhere in the middle.
While we can’t answer whether in fact Reddit is for miserable people or the highly intellectual, we have a good understanding of what it is and why people use it — over 430 million people per month in fact.
What Reddit IS:
Reddit, in its purest form, is a forum. A really oversized one, where users share links, text, pictures, and videos on just about anything. Users aka ‘Redditors’ join communities of interest known as subreddits, where they openly discuss the hottest news or ask simple questions. It is quite literally as Reddit would describe it to be: “the front page of the internet”, as the most viral of these posts will make up the homepage of the website.
Reddit is also, unlike many other social media platforms, a content curator site. This means users do not necessarily make their own content, but share meaningful content that has already existed on another platform. For example, an NBA fan can join the subreddit r/NBA to catch all meaningful content rather than going through Twitter, ESPN news, the Score, and so on because it is all there in one place.
Another way to look at things is that Reddit is a platform that kills boredom.
The casual Redditor will have an endless stream of funny memes, cat videos, controversial discussions, and an occasional newsworthy topic that makes them feel good about knowing. The experienced Redditor will feel that it is their mission to take part in these posts, either by curating these content for others, coming up with a witty comment, or simply upvoting the best posts.
This explains why Reddit has such an appeal over a wide demographic. Once a user is experienced enough, people are convinced that it is the most efficient use of their time. They can learn a lot more on r/news in 10 minutes than to sit and watch an hour of traditional news on the TV. They feel that they are part of a larger community with like-minded individuals that openly talk about their favorite topics.
How could this platform then be a potential gold mine for digital marketing/advertising? Here are 4 reasons.
Reddit and Digital Advertising
1. Rapidly Growing User Base
If you have been hearing people talk about Reddit more often recently, it’s no mistake. The end of 2020 saw 52 million daily active Reddit users, up 44% from October 2019. Unprecedented events in 2021 such as the $GME (GameStop) craze on the subreddit r/wallstreetbets most likely propelled this number further. Facebook, which experienced a similar growth pattern in 2010 is currently up to 2800 monthly active users last year.
It may be obvious, but advertisements placed on these rapidly growing platforms are the best way to get a large number of people to see it.
Our take: While comparing Reddit to Facebook, we noticed a similar trend which occurred in another industry — the smartphone market. The table below shows why we believe Reddit may overtake Facebook one day.
2. Unique Appeal in Anonymity
Compared to the more traditional social media of Facebook and LinkedIn, most Reddit users are anonymous. People are free to like, dislike, comment, post, and ask questions much more openly on the topics they are interested in.
- Example: Person A wants to get advice on a topic which they did not want their close friends and family to know about. Facebook has a hard time achieving this, as your account is tied to your name and face. Reddit allows for this, to a larger audience, which will give input without judging Person A by their looks, gender, race or ethnicity.
In a growing world of security and privacy concerns, Reddit could be the safehaven for users to move into. Events such as the #DeleteFacebook movement made popular in 2018 by their non-consensual harvesting of private information has turned many users away from traditional social media.
We can see that Reddit caters to users who value privacy and anonymity, since users are not even required to have an email address to sign up for an account.
- Interesting Fact: Reddit popularized a term known as the ‘throwaway account’. Users can make a single post claiming it to be a “throwaway”, ditch the account afterwards, and know there is almost no way for it to trace back to them.
Anonymity works largely in favour of advertisements because users can be more comfortable clicking the Reddit advertising on an account that is not tied to them in any personal way. Comparatively, if you were to even look at a specific ad on Facebook for longer than 5 seconds, you know it would be the only thing you would see for the next month.
3. Best at Interest Targeting
Reddit is the best platform at targeting specific interest groups via subreddits. Like how a Twitter user follows another person, Redditors follow communities.
In 2021, Reddit has over 2.8 million subreddits ranging from the self explanatory r/worldnews, r/pics, r/funny to the more obscure r/yesyesyesno. There was even once a popularized meme for Reddit Rule 34 which stated ‘If it exists, there’s a subreddit for it’.
This point is a dream come true for marketers. Instead of having algorithms decide whether an advertisement is potentially appealing to a demographic, you can rest easy knowing your budget is being spent for the ad to circulate to the right audience. For example, Squarespace, a website building and hosting platform, being shown on r/webdev is almost guaranteed to land a few clicks over a random Instagram advert.
4. A Hub for Complain-y People
In our recent marketing experience, we were tasked with finding where and how people found their internet services in a specific location. This was proven to be difficult on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn where questions were asked as individual posts which made it hard to access and view later on. Meanwhile Reddit had multiple dedicated posts where users complained about services. This comes from the nature of Reddit’s forum based structure which gives way for more open ended discussions.
- If a 3rd party internet service provider is looking for more clients, they can look to display Reddit advertising on these subreddits where complaints are being made. Being TekSavvy Internet (Canadian 3rd Party ISP), where else would be a better place to advertise than on a forum where people are complaining about their Telus experience?
Your Reddit advertising account can also be used to directly message these complaining users to pitch your company afterwards.
Twitter is a similar hub for complain-y people, but a later article will discuss key differences as to why we think Reddit is better than Twitter for digital advertising.
Nothing is more valuable to marketers than to know a specific audience’s pain points. It also helps to know that a specific subreddit may be looking for your products and services as a solution.
But… It’s not all perfect
While this post highlights the potential upside of Reddit advertising, it also has its fair share of downsides.
- Users do not want to see ads on their favorite platform. This is a problem across all social media platforms, but Reddit advertising in particular experienced a phase where users downvoted and posted negative comments on many ad-sponsored / promoted posts.
- Suggestion: Keep your Reddit advertising relevant to the community you show it to. Users are a lot more forgiving with Reddit advertising now as they want to support Reddit. However, a misplaced Reddit ad will still have potential backlash.
- Over half the user base is American. This can work for or against your company, depending on where your services are being provided to.
- Suggestion: If your company is not intended for the U.S. population, avoid using site-wide Reddit advertising as your budget would not result in conversions.
- 44% of users are aged 18 to 29, with less than 7% of users being above age 50. Again, it may work to the advantage of some companies over others.
- Suggestion: Have a good understanding of the skewed age group usage for your Reddit advertising to be most effective.
Reddit advertising is a fairly low risk setting with very high potential upside. If used correctly, your company can be promoted at a lower cost compared to other platforms. Stay ahead of your competition by learning to use Reddit advertising today!