Media Planning & Buying Social Media

5 Things Brands Should Know about Advertising on reddit

May 8, 2014

Last week, reddit, the extremely popular link-sharing social site, updated its capabilities for advertisers. Brands can now target posts based on a user’s general location (country or metropolitan area, as indicated by IP address) with the promoted posts featuring simple icons to notify users.

The self-proclaimed Front page of the Internet, features thousands of sub-categories, or subreddits, focused on dizzying number of interest areas that drive internet culture in their respective spaces. From engineering to men’s fashion to fitness-oriented eating, there’s something for everyone. It comes as no surprise then, that in March of this year Reddit reported 5.3 billion page views, with 114 million unique visitors (who, by the way, spend an average of 15+ minutes per session on the site).

To get the full skinny on what these ad service updates mean for advertisers, and how brands can best utilize the advertising platform, we reached out to reddit for the top 5 things advertisers need to know:

Be transparent and honest

reddit is a community. Users expect anyone participating as part of this community have the same “for the greater good” mentality. If a user has an agenda or benefits from their actions on reddit, that needs to be really clear. No one wants to feel tricked or cheated. Ads are the place for self-promotion on reddit. Here you can be shameless and cry from the mountaintops about the value you bring them. You can tell people exactly what you can offer and what you think they should do about it.

Doing it right: Haworth explains how their warranty, ergonomics, and dedication to sustainability sets them apart as a chair company.

Know your audience

reddit isn’t monolithic. There are more than 7,000 active subreddit communities. These are groups of users interested in discussing a specific video game, finding photos of delightfully chubby things, or sharing their daily moments of genius. Each of these subreddits operates under its own set of rules and have their own understandings of what makes their community run. A good ad recognizes the work, creativity, and camaraderie of users as a whole and within specific subreddits.

Doing it right: RedBull reminds gamers about the upcoming Starcraft II professional gaming event, which they were sponsoring

Be a human

A company can’t talk, but a person can. You can recognize this by showcasing the humans within your organization and encouraging them with these principles in mind to engage with users around comments and questions on ads.

Doing it right: Bill Gates poses an intriguing question to the reddit community that underscored his foundation’s philanthropic efforts

Have a conversation

Is there something you’d like to talk to reddit about? Simply ask. Then be sure to follow up to continue the conversation. In the reddit community, an advertiser is the store clerk who can help people understand and find the right product for them. reddit gives users unprecedented access to ideas and people online — check /r/IAmA for a showcase of reddit users interviewing world leaders, celebrities, and scientists. There is an expectation on reddit that the site empowers users and allows them to speak directly with someone who can answer their questions.

Doing it right: State Bicycle Co offers $100 off a bike for anyone that had their bike stolen. They made sure to help people understand both why they have this offer and how to redeem it.

Reward the deserving

Has a user offered a great idea? Endorsed your products and services? Followed your guidelines? Give them reddit gold (and let them know about it). Offer them a coupon. Thank them for the compliment and support.

Doing it right: Campmor thanked a user for sharing on the ad about their purchase and great experience.


In sum, reddit ads are an important part of the overall reddit experience and allow marketers to have an authentic conversation with diverse communities of people. A general rule of thumb is to respect those people and build an emotional connection — and not just a transactional one — through transparency, honesty, understanding, and kindness.

Fitz Maro is an Associate Strategist at 360i and a 3+ year redditor.