Who’s going to be brave and include Reddit native ads in their game?

Who’s going to be brave and include Reddit native ads in their game?

It’s going to take a brave institution to take this one on… Reddit, the American social news aggregation and discussion site, has rolled out new mobile ads that will retain the look and feel of the rest of the feed. Reddit has hailed the new ad formats as ‘truly native’, because they have the same features as unpaid posts, such as the ability to upvote and comment on the ad.

Reddit is a fascinating platform for student marketers to consider; it is the 8th most popular website in the world, receiving 82 billion page views last year, and 58% of its audience is aged between 18-29. It’s extraordinarily popular in the US, which accounts for 56% of its visits, whilst the UK accounts for 7.3%.  But whilst it is undoubtedly a major player in the digital media space, the Reddit community is well known for an aversion to commercialism and brands hijacking this predominantly organic site. And if you want to check out some of the most vocal subreddits on the site, be sure to visit “hail corporate” and “fellow kids” – whose sole purpose is to criticise marketing.

Native ads are the platform’s solution to opening up their incredible audience reach to advertisers, and clearly hope that the format would not impact negatively on the user experience. New native ads can blend in with user-generated content and open up direct access to your target audience, not only through the ad itself but through community engagement. Advertisers do have the option of turning comments off for ads, but you would have to weigh up if this is a good look; if a Redditor takes offence to you advertising on their perceived space and they’re unable to call you out on it directly, you may lose control of the situation and it could escalate quickly inside a subreddit.

Reddit has also recently developed and rolled out to a select few, a new pages function for brands and publishers, similar to Facebook, where you can post your own content. Should this be well received, we would likely see this feature expanded. This is another workaround for brands to have a presence on the site without falling foul of how many communities feel towards marketing.

On Reddit you can target ads based on interest, subreddit, location, device and time of day. You can also exclude some categories such as locations and subreddits.

Sounds great… So why would I need to be brave?

Reddit is not without its risks, particularly to education institutions who may be (rightly) wary about protecting their brand or wishing to avoid being flamed by Redditors.

Reddit can be a vitriolic digital space with each subreddit community having its own particular rules, code of conduct and sense of morality. Reddit is arguably the most opinionated space on the internet and you’ll need to give your content careful consideration.

Get it wrong, and they’ll let you know about it in no uncertain terms. You need to make sure your ad is as sensitive to the environment in which it is placed and be prepared to engage with any response it garners in a way that doesn’t impact your brand negatively. You need to have a super-tight TOV, full of platform-appropriate humour.

Get it right and you’ll reach a highly engaged and targeted audience. But are the risks worth it?

If you would like to speak to us about advertising on Reddit or your next campaign, get in touch.