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AMA: Advertising on Reddit in 2018

Published: September 13, 2018

Author: Molly Shotwell

A few months ago we featured Reddit in our “Platform Series” blog week – a week of posts looking at emerging social networks, as well as existing ones that have indelibly changed the landscape. Reddit, the so-called “Front Page of the Internet,” has certainly made its mark. With more than 330M monthly active users and over 138K active digital forums (or subreddits) organized around topics, interests and passion points, it’s the internet’s largest network of communities. In fact, Reddit is among the top five largest websites in the U.S, 17th globally. That’s a huge swath of digital land, and one that has lived mostly under the radar of advertisers until now.

With their recent desktop redesign, the Reddit design and product teams focused on creating an environment that benefited both their users and advertisers. Their teams focused first on users by making Reddit more welcoming. This, in turn, gave brands an enhanced way to harness the network with sleeker advertising options and a better advertiser experience on the back end.

In our last post, we highlighted the available ad units on Reddit – native ads on the mobile app, homepage takeovers, and promoted posts. Today, we’re going to dive into more of the nuts and bolts of the platform – focusing on some campaign basics, targeting, and more. We’re also going to take a sneak peak at what’s coming down the pipeline on the Reddit roadmap!

Campaign Basics

Management Options

For advertisers spending a minimum of $50k a quarter, there are 3 ways to manage campaigns:

1. Reservation – This is a full-service option with a reserved inventory. In this instance you have a dedicated Reddit team that manages your ad account for you. A Reservation setup offers brand awareness and reach objectives for campaigns.

2. Performance* – This is another full-service option and uses an auction inventory. It gives you access to additional features and dashboards and can be used for conversions / direct response KPIs.

Reddit offers a 1-time 6-week test of their Performance management setup for $25k.

3. Self-Service – For full control of your ads, you can opt to manage the platform yourself, while maintaining access to the Reddit Help center and a support ticket system. Both brand awareness and direct response campaigns can be run.

Advertisers under the $50k minimum can use the self-service model.

Campaign Objectives

Reddit currently offers 3 objectives:

1. Brand Awareness and Reach – Share your message to a wide audience on Reddit

2. Traffic – Upvote your business and drive redditors to visit your website

3. Conversion – Promote your business to users to convert to customers

A new Video Views objective is slated to arrive in late September.


Currently you can target your ad campaigns on Reddit in 4 ways:

1. Subreddit – Serve your content to users in specific subreddits (the top 5k trafficked subreddits are available). Targeting a subreddit means reaching the subreddit’s subscribers as well as its recent visitors. The ad may appear in either the specifically targeted subreddit or in others* if the viewer was just a visitor.

you can exclude certain subreddits to protect brand identity

2. Interest – Serve your content to users based on their interest groups and browsing behavior. Interest categorization for users changes dynamically, based on their engagement, so you’re reaching out to users who have an active interest in the area you’re targeting.

3. Location – Serve your content to users based on their country, U.S. state, or U.S city.

4. Device – Serve your content to users based on their device (desktop, iOS, or Android). As an additional option for device targeting, you can specify a time of day for ad delivery.

For mobile devices, ads appear in-feed and can be viewed as card or compact style with the new Reddit mobile app or via mobile web. Because of this, Reddit recommends using a 1200x628px and a 400×300 card image for mobile device ads. The 1200x628px will display for users in card view, the 400×300 for when the user is in compact view.



The ads dashboard is your key to your campaign metrics. Through it you can create, pause, restart, or make changes to a campaign. (Be aware that if you edit a sponsored post, you will lose all comments and/or upvotes associated with it from before the edit.) It is also where you set optimizations and pull real-time reporting.
You can also dig into ad performance by breaking down the data by subreddit, interest, country, demographic market area (DMA), date, pixel-fires, or the eCPA of each ad.

Ad Best Practices

For an effective ad campaign, Reddit recommends a few guidelines:

Have a complete profile page. Ensure that your brand’s profile page is filled out with your name, logo, and company description so users know exactly who they’re interacting with.

Create authentic copy. This should be a no-brainer – know how to explain your product or service as if you were talking to a friend. Remember, Reddit is all about organic conversations – so start off on the right foot with your audience. Avoid buzzwords and overdramatic claims; be honest with redditors and they’ll give you invaluable feedback in the comments.

If you’re targeting a specific subreddit, try including the subreddit’s name directly in the headline of your ad, or addressing the whole community directly (“Hey Reddit!”).

Address the pain points. Every marketer should know this by now, but you’d be surprised at how many ads don’t explain why their brand or service is worth a redditor’s time. What does your company or product do? Why should your Reddit audience care? Don’t be vague; convey the value of what you’re offering.

Don’t forget the CTA. If your goal is direct response, disable the comments on your ad and have a clear call-to-action so users can continue the conversation with you where you want.

Test, test, and test again. Campaign success will differ by objective, targeting, and brand so continue to experiment with your copy and creative until you find the right fit. Reddit recommends testing out different interest and subreddit audience options to find a sweet spot. When you’ve found a combination that works for you in scale and efficiency… continue to test and refresh your ads to avoid ad fatigue – no one likes to see the same ad for weeks in a row!

Currently ads on Reddit serve evenly, instead of optimizing towards the strongest-performing version in the campaign, so it’s very important to consistently watch how ads are performing in order to catch any that may be bringing down your CTRs and wasting spend. Note that advancements to Reddit’s ad products are being released all the time, so this may not be the case for long. Additionally, if you use the Reservation or Performance models, your account management support is there to help ensure that your campaigns are optimized for your KPIs.
For additional best practices for your ad copy, click here.

Coming Soon

The Reddit team is working fast and furious on new capabilities for advertisers in H2 of 2018. Additional targeting options are already in alpha testing, and brands should expect new performance tools as well. At 3Q, we’re especially excited to see objective-based bidding, auction-based video ads (on a CPV basis), and app install metrics/tracking coming down the pipeline.

Reddit can offer cost-effective advertising solutions and highly-engaged audiences for your brand. So, what are you waiting for? Contact our team today to get a Reddit ad campaign started.

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