What’s happening?

The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” Reddit has seen immense growth in traffic since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The network of interest communities reported 20 to 50% traffic increases the first month alone on subreddits related to business, finance, news, education, travel and sports, according to an Adweek report. And Reddit COO Jen Wong, in an April interview with AdAge, said the platform was continuing to see daily use increase 10% week over week across chat, desktop and phone users.

For a platform that claims 430 million monthly active users and 1.2 billion monthly visits, that is no small amount. And yet, marketers still struggle to know what to do with it.

What does this mean?

In short, there is great opportunity for those marketers who are willing to invest the time and incorporate Reddit into their strategies, and now is the perfect time to do it.

Nearly seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer mindsets, interests and behaviors are shifting so rapidly that hard data about them is outdated almost as soon as it’s gathered. Armed with best practices, marketers can use Reddit to gain timely consumer insights, increase brand awareness and affinity, drive traffic to their sites, research brand mentions and even test new products.

What should marketers be doing?

Marketers tend to shy away from Reddit because it isn’t an especially friendly environment for them – at least, not for advertising in the traditional sense, as users quickly sniff out sales pitches. But there are multiple levels of involvement you can use as a marketer for your strategic benefit.

Beginner: Mine for insights.

If you have an hour or less to spend, you can still use Reddit to great advantage in your marketing strategy.

  • Keep a running list of subreddits related to your industry/product and check them for trending topics and questions. In addition to the search feature on Reddit, tools like Redditlist are useful.
  • Search for brand mentions and see what people are saying. Also note the tone/style in which people communicate and adjust your brand’s accordingly.
  • Note the trending topics and see if your brand or product might offer a solution, answer or perspective.

Intermediate: Join in.

The Reddit community rewards – nay, demands – authenticity, so overt marketing in posts is not the way to go. However, joining subreddits as a community member and adding value in real, relevant ways will earn you karma points, reach, and ultimately benefit your brand.

  • Review Reddit’s content policy and community guidelines both for Reddit broadly and for each subreddit before joining in.
  • Begin participating as a community member only, brand-free. Up-vote posts, ask your own questions, answer others’ questions. One easy way to build karma points is to join in popular subreddits like today-I-learned and Ask-Reddit. Later, if you see opportunity for your brand, you can look into starting a branded subreddit.
  • You can link to resources, but you should not share links with the sole goal to promote your brand or website – they should be shared to help. You can also cross-post to other subreddits.
  • Do not just post and leave. You need to monitor and nurture your interactions.
  • Utilize the platform’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) format to answer questions and engage users in real time.

Advanced: Invest ad dollars.

Ads are accepted by Redditers – when they add value and remain transparent.

  • Ads that show understanding of the community they’re reaching – through humor, inspiration or information – perform well.
  • You can optimize campaigns for reach, traffic, video views and conversions, and choose to target all or specific subreddits.
  • With the site’s new Trending Takeovers offering, in addition to cost-per-click and programmatic advertising you can pay for prominent placement in the site’s “popular” feed and search tab among relevant organic content.
  • Remember, you are reaching users who have come in search of information, many with intent to buy. If you’ve done the work listening, you can be ready to deliver.

Good Examples

Here are some recent examples of brands testing out Reddit offerings in smart ways:

  • Audi put a new spin on the platform’s AMA format by livestreaming Q&As with celebrities as they raced around a track in an Audi. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also has participated in AMAs, as has Bill Gates, to name a few.
  • Bud Light has recently tested paid media, adapting the popular “Real men of genius” campaign to speak directly to Reddit users with their video celebrating “Internet heroes of genius.”
  • Toyota promoted a video on the Formula 1 subreddit that shows racing Supras, keeping the content relevant, entertaining and accepted within a specific community.
  • Ally Bank reached outside the banking industry and advertised on the Playstation subreddit. In its ad the company demonstrated understanding of the community, using a picture of a game controller with a 1-star rating and the tagline, “You wouldn’t settle for a 1-star controller, so why settle for a 1-star bank?”

It takes some work to “win” as a marketer in the Reddit community, but that work can yield a lot of reward.


Related Insights

May 1, 2020: Understanding Customers is Crucial Amid COVID Chaos
It’s time to sharpen and optimize the tools you use for customer-first marketing – here’s where to start.

April 13, 2020: YouTube Viewing Shifts May Be Opportunity for Brands
Now may be the time to experiment – or double-down – on the surging platform.

March 30, 2020: Media Mix Modeling in the Age of COVID-19
With shifting consumer trends, businesses should consider reallocating ad dollars.

Could your brand benefit from a Reddit strategy? We can help you decide.

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