Reddit’s Advice to Brands Interested in Running Ads on Its Website

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With more than 430 million unique visitors per month, Reddit is one of the most highly trafficked websites on the internet. This, quite naturally, makes it attractive to advertisers.

At the same time, Reddit is an odd place. Composed of over 100,000 separate pages known as subreddits, Reddit is not so much a single, cohesive entity as it is a collection of diverse communities devoted to topics ranging from politics to sports to images of bread stapled to trees.

“Reddit’s always done things a bit differently,” said Neal Hubman, Reddit’s head of growth partnerships, while onstage at Adweek’s Challenger Brands Summit in New York with publishing editor Sara Jerde. This, he noted, includes valuing users’ privacy by allowing them to create their own identity on the site and granting them significant influence over the decisions and products the company makes.

Throughout his conversation with Jerde, Hubman offered the following advice to brands looking to partner with the popular website.

Watch and learn

“First, you have to listen,” Hubman explained. “Reddit users can be pretty vocal, so it’s not hard to hear them.”

Since each subreddit contains its own jargon, tone and set of unstated social norms, Hubman said it’s best to get familiar with the terrain. Study the stream and test the waters, but don’t simply jump straight in. Knowing which community is the right one to engage with is crucial.

“The way we would want to design a way to interact with r/NFL is different than how we would deal with r/cookie,” he said.

Don’t come as you are

Part of Reddit’s strength is that, through its multiple subreddits, it’s already established strong communities of users devoted to discussing a particular subject matter, no matter how mundane or outlandish, brand-specific or brand-agnostic.

In other words, brands don’t have to build communities from scratch; they can more or less leverage existing ones.

“There’s no brand that doesn’t have relevant communities on Reddit already talking about either their actual product or specific things that the brand is most focused on,” Hubman said.

The trick is knowing how to do so in a way that isn’t off-putting.

Hubman warned against thinking you can merely take pre-existing assets from one platform and plop them onto Reddit expecting everything to go smoothly. Marketers shouldn’t expect that what works elsewhere will work on Reddit without making significant alterations first.

“Find ways to tailor the content,” he added, noting that self-aware copy tends to do well.

Enter conversation

Beyond placing ads, a good way to get involved with the site is through direct conversation. Participating in an AMA session (“Ask Me Anything”) is one route. Creating a company user account and joining the debate in the comment section is another. Build loyalty by chatting with groups of users in a genuine way.

“Reddit’s not just for short-form content,” Hubman said. “There is very long dialogue and rich discussions about anything—it just depends on the type of community you’re in. So, brands can actually engage with that.”

“It’s exciting to work with brands that can lean in and understand what Reddit is about,” Hubman added. “And there’s a lot of education still needed out there in the broader market about what Reddit is and how it works.”

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