The Complete Guide To Reddit Ads

by Joe Cox July 6th, 2015 



As the self-styled ‘front page of the internet’, Reddit is one of the fundamental drivers of internet culture and as such, is undoubtedly a very tough nut to crack in terms of marketing to its userbase. Last year though, Reddit’s execs got serious about the decision to monetise the business and so now is definitely the time to get on board.

For those not in the know, Reddit is basically a huge collection of message forums, called subreddits, built around diverse and often bizarre niches and interests. In these subreddits users post comments, links or images and other users voting them either up or down. The more up votes a post gets the higher up a subreddit it climbs and the more interest it tends to gain. There are currently 112 million unique visits and 5.4 billion page views per month on Reddit, with Redditors casting 21 million voted per day. Many of the internet’s most popular memes and viral posts first find fame on Reddit, where they are catapulted into the mainstream as they find their way onto other social networks like Facebook.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that Reddit referral traffic is of a far higher quality than Facebook or similar networks like Stumbleupon. Advertising and marketing on Reddit comes with a very serious health warning though. The Reddit community are notoriously scathing, quick witted and brutally honest. Make no mistake; any thinly veiled attempts at advertising content that doesn’t present genuine value will be torn to shreds by the community in no time at all. Reddit is indeed the platform where many a social marketer has met their doom.

To avoid falling flat on your face before you’ve even got started then, it’s important to experience Reddit first hand by actually becoming a Redditor and getting involved. Not only will this serve as an exercise in assessing the best subreddits to target your ads at, but it should help immerse you in the culture, or ‘reddiquette’, of Reddit for long enough to give you a good chance of actually achieving success.

Rules Of Engagement On Reddit

To prepare you for the intensely honest world of Reddit here are a few things to bear in mind when signing up, subscribing to subreddits and engaging with the community:

  • When you join reddit be sure to use your brand name as your username.
  • Sort all posts on any subreddit by ‘top’ and ‘all time’ to make sure you’re seeing the most active posts. This will allow you to assess what kind of content is performing well.
  • Assess what subreddits to subscribe to by building a spreadsheet and listing them, along with their average active users, top content and a score from 1-10 on relevancy. Remember the more niche the subreddit is, the more valuable and influential the audience may prove to be.
  • Create a multireddit and add all your subreddits to it to create one large feed. Search this feed daily for topics and discussions that relate to your business.
  • It’s vital to make your presence known a bit before jumping in with your own targeted ads as this way they won’t seem so out of place when you do decide to run them.
  • It’s worth noting the importance of karma. Whilst this won’t help your posts it does show your standing with your fellow redditors and it is public. Getting your karma up early on could put you in good stead for the future.

Creating Ads On Reddit

You can choose to upload either a text post or a link. It’s more likely you’ll want to link back to your site but text posts are great for generating discussions or beginning Q&A sessions. There are no word limits here so be descriptive but avoid writing an essay.

Make sure to upload an image with your content (70×70 pixels). When your campaign has begun you can extend or shorten the life of it as well as increase / decrease budget. It’s also important to add reddit to your UTM campaign in Google analytics.


Reddit advertising is relatively cheap at $0.75 CPM for Interest Group Targeting and $1.00 CPM for subreddit targeting. The former of these options target your ads at groups of subreddits that fall under broad interests like frontpage influencers, entertainment addicts or lifestylers. Subreddit targets your ads exclusively to one particular subreddit. Country targeting also exists at $0.75 CPM.


Minimum buy in for each ad campaign is $5.00 which all well and good, but limited inventory can pose a problem on some of the smaller and more niche subreddits due to low numbers of subscribers. If this happens try extending the campaign time. You may find though that you are simply unable to buy enough impressions in some of the smaller subreddits. Presently Reddit have not offered a solution to this issue so for now, try to find the balance between subreddits that are relevant and niche enough but contain large enough volumes of subscribers.


Other advertising options include banner ads and sponsored Q&A sessions. Redditors can still up or down vote banner ads and each is linked to a special subreddit where the commentary takes place (so don’t think your immune from public scrutiny just because you’re using banner ads). Q&A sessions are set up and targeted for promotion on popular subreddits and can run from a few hours to a few days.

The Secret To Reddit Success

The secret to success on Reddit can be summed up with one word really; authenticity. The more you can ingratiate yourself with and contribute towards the communities you are seeking to influence, the more success you will ultimately have. In this sense achieving success on Reddit is not dissimilar to that of any other social network. The real difference largely comes down to the level of cynicism most Redditors have towards advertisers.

If you’re going to get anywhere you need to engage. You should therefore always leave the commentary on for every ad you post. If you restrict commentary in any way, it’s likely the community will reject you and your ads outright and there will be no coming back from that. Try to respond to every comment if you can, even some of those that are clearly taking the piss. A good sense of humour and a thick skin are vital attributes to nailing Reddit marketing.

Engagement is important but it’s pointless if you can’t bring something of real relevance and value to the table. Redditors are protective of their community and will treat any posts marked ‘sponsored’ with a large dose of cynicism, so think about how you’re going to hook them in and get them interested.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Anthony Coraggio of Distilled, writing on Moz’s blog, as I think this sums up both the challenge and rewards of Reddit marketing quite aptly.

“Historically, the relationship between Redditors and those who market to them has been contentious-Reddit is a cohesive community in a way that social platforms like Facebook or Twitter are not, and Redditors will fight to protect its integrity from spammers and lazy attempts at commercial gain. Done well, however, advertising on Reddit represents a tremendous opportunity.”

To end then, here are a few of my golden rules for any would-be Reddit Advertiser. Follow them to the letter and you might not only survive Reddit, but end up driving a significant volume of highly engaged and influential users to your website.

  • Forget you’re a marketer and learn to walk, talk and act like a Redditor
  • All subreddits have their own codes of conduct so make sure you obey them
  • Always be completely transparent and upfront
  • Be witty and roll with the punches, but don’t ever condescend or criticise
  • Don’t just talk about your brand but engage with other people
  • Redditors are connoisseurs of good content so make sure you’re offering it to them
  • Grow a thick skin as you’re going to have to get used to a bit of mockery

Now Read

Joe Cox

Joe is Head of Content for British digital marketing agency, Bespoke Digital. He has written extensively on SEO, digital marketing and social media (amongst other things).

The Complete Guide To Reddit Ads
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