Advertising on Reddit: a strategic guide
How to build a strategy that grows your business with Reddit Ads
Advertising on Reddit is a lot like engaging organically with our communities. You need to be dynamic, authentic, and seek to connect genuinely with people in order to be successful.
This is an amazing advantage for brands–your ad isn’t just any ad on any platform. It has the potential to inspire real world conversation and action.
But, authenticity can be hard to nail down if you’re new to the platform or looking for actionable tips to optimize a campaign that’s already running. The brands that are the most successful are following a sound strategy: they have a clear plan for what they want to achieve, how they want to achieve it, and how they’ll measure success.
We’re here to set you up for success, too, with the nitty-gritty details on how to crack Reddit Ads.
Why Reddit, again?
Reddit is a place where people do a whole lot of research on the products they want to buy, and trust the recommendations they get. This is great news for advertisers–in fact, we often see that people trust brands that advertise on Reddit more than those that don’t.
Of redditors are more likely to trust an auto dealer or brand that participates on Reddit.1
Of US Redditors are more likely to trust a financial services company that participates on Reddit.2
Of U.S Reddit users planning to travel this year say they’re more likely to trust a travel brand they can engage with on Reddit.3
Why advertise on Reddit?
You should advertise on Reddit because of the trust our people have in our communities–Reddit users want to hear from brands in the process of doing their research.
That means Reddit advertising can contribute to your whole marketing funnel. You can do everything from spread simple awareness about who you are and what you’re selling, to actually selling those products in live conversations where people want to buy something.
8 steps to nail your Reddit Ad strategy
We’ll go ahead and tell you our biggest secret up front: you should be honest with our communities. We can dish out all the strategic targeting, bidding and creative tips in the world, but you’ll never hit the advertising lotto unless you’re transparent.
Phew, we got that out of the way. Now, onto the good stuff–here’s how to craft a Reddit ad strategy that’ll get you the results you need to grow your business.
1. Set your goals
You probably have an idea of what you’re looking to achieve based on the average marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, conversion, or loyalty.
On our platform, this translates into your campaign’s objective. You need clarity on how you want to achieve those goals to choose the right ones. Some simple examples include:
- Brand awareness and reach: I want people to know about our products
- Video views: I want people to watch this video so they know about our products
- Traffic: I want people to read our website so they comprehend what it is we’re selling
- Conversion: I need people to sign up for our newsletter OR I need people to put an item in their cart, and check out
If you read that list and thought, “I need all of those things,” then you need more than one campaign. Each campaign you run should prompt one action so you can properly optimize.
2. Set your key performance indicators (KPIs)
Your KPIs are the metrics you’ll use to determine whether you achieve your campaign objective.
For example, you can measure awareness in many ways: how many times your ad has been seen (impressions), whether they remember your brand (brand recall), or some other metric.
Next, you’ll want to attach a numerical value to those KPIs. Perhaps you’ll consider yourself successful if your ad gets 10,000 impressions, or maybe you just want to get 10% more impressions than your last ad campaign–either way, set a tangible goal. We recommend taking the following steps to set your KPIs:
- Familiarize yourself with your brand’s user journey: If you’re selling hats, and you know on average, people put three hats in their cart before they decide to buy one, then your KPI should reflect that.
- Make sure your KPIs are achievable: We love to be ambitious too, but it’s unlikely you’ll sell 1 million hats with a $100 campaign in three hours. Before settling on a final number, determine your campaign length and budget. Plug both into your campaign to see the projected results.
- Determine your measurement source of truth: Will you be using Reddit’s analytics? Partnering with a measurement firm? After you’ve made your decision, make sure you have the tools in place to collect the data you’ll need.
3. Align your goals, campaign objectives, and KPIs
Your campaign objective, KPIs, and bidding strategy should align–you don’t want to be paying for every impression when all you really care about is the number of people that buy a hat. Follow this formula to get the right combination:
- Decide on your KPI
- Align your KPI to your campaign objective
- Set your budget
- Set your bidding strategy
Here’s a handy dandy guide on the campaign objectives, KPIs, and bidding strategies that align:
4. Set your campaign objective, budget and bidding strategy
You pay for your Reddit ad campaign by auction, which means you place a bid against other advertisers for the chance to present your ad.
How you’re billed, how much you spend, and how those bids get placed are determined by your campaign objective, your budget and your bidding strategy, respectively.
Your campaign objective determines how you’re billed for your Reddit ad campaign, and should align with your overall campaign goal: awareness, consideration or conversion.
You can choose to be billed in one of three ways:
- Pay for every 1,000 impressions, called cost per mille (CPM)
- Pay for every time your ad is clicked, called cost per click (CPC)
- Pay for every time your video is viewed, called cost per view (CPV)
Your choice of campaign objective will determine how you’re billed:
- Brand awareness and reach: billed on CPM
- Traffic, Conversions, and App installs: billed on CPC
- Video views: billed on CPV
You want to select a campaign objective that aligns best with your goals. For example, you don’t want to choose an awareness campaign objective if what you really care about is traffic to your website. If you do, you’ll be paying for impressions when what you really care about is the click-through-rate (CTR) to your website.
Budgets: daily vs. lifetime
You can set an amount of money to spend on Reddit by setting a daily or lifetime budget. Both daily and lifetime budgets are specific to a designated group of ads, or ad group in the platform.
A daily budget allows you to specify the amount that you want your ad group to spend each day. A lifetime budget allows you to specify the maximum amount that your ad group will spend over its entire lifetime, and will auto calculate how much should be spent per day based on your start and end dates.
If you’re struggling with which to choose, use your budget and timeframe as a guide. If you’re spending less than $200 a day for four weeks or less, use a lifetime budget. Anything more, go for daily.
Your bidding strategy determines how aggressive or conservative you want to bid at auction. With any bidding strategy, you’re able to set the maximum amount you want to bid. This is called the max bid or CPC (cost per click) cap, and tells us how much you’re willing to pay per 1,000 impressions, per click, or per video view.
Use the bid recommendation in the Reddit Ads dashboard to get a better understanding of the bidding landscape for the audience you’re trying to reach.
While setting your bids manually bidding is always an option (and we’ll use your max bid in every auction), some objectives like traffic, conversions, and app installs, offer automated bidding strategies that are designed to help maximize your ad group's performance. We recommend letting our robot army do the work for you, for the best results.
You can choose from the following auto bidding strategies:
- Maximize clicks: aims to drive as many clicks as possible within your budget and CPC cap. It’s available for the traffic objective. Campaigns built using Simple Create use maximize clicks as the bidding strategy.
- Maximize conversions: aims to drive as many conversions as possible within your budget and CPC cap. It’s available for the conversion objective.
- Maximize installs: aims to drive clicks and app installs within your budget and CPC. It’s available for the app installs objective.
5. Define your target audience
There are three ways you can reach a target audience on Reddit–you can use our audiences, your own audiences, or you can retarget those you’ve engaged with before.
Reddit audience targeting
You can target all Reddit users, or a subset of our users based on their interests, and the communities they subscribe to.
- Run of site (ROS): targets all Reddit users, and provides efficient reach and scale which can result in overall lower costs.
- Interest groups: targets Reddit users by interest, and broadens reach and scale compared to community targeting alone.
- Community targeting: targets people who engage with specific subreddits, and taps into a highly engaged audience with true interests and passions.
- Keyword targeting: target people based on keywords in conversations that they are having on Reddit. We recommend combining branded and non-branded keywords.
We recommend you use ROS targeting at first if you’re just getting started. Check in with your campaign frequently to see if any interests or subreddits perform better then others, and optimize from there.
If it’s important that you reach a niche audience, we recommend combining community targeting and interest targeting. Only using community targeting could result in your ad getting delivered less frequently, and will make it hard to scale. If you aren’t sure how to build your audience pool, turn on targeting expansion to let our algorithm do it for you.
Custom audience targeting
If you want to reach people in your own database, you can upload your own audiences to Reddit Ads directly using a CSV file or our Liveramp integration. Our email match rate for email list uploads is 35% to 45% on average.
We recommend using custom audiences for campaigns meant to re-engage with qualified or high-value customers who have previously engaged with your business, or exclude current customers in order to reach a net new audience and drive new customer acquisition.
If you’re using a custom audience, be considerate of your audience size and adjust your bidding strategy accordingly.
If you’re using the Reddit Pixel, you can retarget people who’ve already visited your website, or those who have taken action in your current campaign or a prior campaign.
Whether or not you’ve installed the pixel, you can also retarget people who have engaged with your current campaign on Reddit. This focuses on onsite actions, while pixel retargeting focuses on what people did after they saw an ad. If you go this route, allocate at least 20% of your budget to retargeting at launch, optimize as you go.
For example, you could retarget people who interacted with a video campaign using a carousel post with promo codes.
We highly recommend installing the Reddit Pixel for the best chances at success. Follow these best practices to get there:
- Place the Reddit pixel on all pages of your website
- Leave your campaign / pixel live for at least two weeks before using the audience
- Set a lookback window of at least 30 days
- Use a strong lower funnel message–think sales and promo codes
- Exclude users that have completed your desired action with a pixel event
6. Pick your ad formats, and decide how to use them
We’ve got tried and true ad formats that you’ve seen on other platforms–think promoted text, image, and video–but we’ve also got some ways to use them that are unique. They could be your ticket to standing out in a Reddit community.
Some ad formats in this category are “tried and true.” Those include promoted posts of any kind. Others are unique to Reddit, and appear in the comment section of a Reddit post.
Promoted posts include promoted text, images, carousels and videos. Image ads tend to drive a higher CTR than video, but video sometimes converts better than static down the funnel. Test both to see which works best for you.
Conversation placements are unique to Reddit, and appear above the comment section of a Reddit post (i.e., the Reddit thread).
We recommend combining both promoted posts and conversation placements within the same campaign to be the most efficient with your budget. It’s often more cost effective, because you naturally reach more people when you show up above comment threads and alongside organic posts.
Reddit offers some unique ways to use and package your ads at different stages of the funnel. First, we’ll start with the upper funnel, using takeovers.
Takeovers are a way to own a piece of Reddit’s prime real estate using our different ad formats to “take over” our homepage, or popular posts, trending posts, and communities. You can also reach users once a day, or each time they return to the platform.
Category takeovers are a great option for advertisers to get in front of a contextually relevant audience without breaking the piggy bank.
Advertisers can choose to engage with redditors in two ways that are very unique to Reddit–megathreads and “ask me anything” ads (AMAs). These are a great way to foster conversations with our communities.
Advertisers also have the option to turn on comments for any promoted post, giving you the opportunity to start a conversation with redditors in any of your ads.
Megathreads deliver a lot of information through a variety of media. It’s basically a mini-article in a Reddit post–you can include text, images, videos, GIFs–the sky's the limit. We recommend testing this out as an organic strategy first, and if you’re seeing great engagement, promote your profile post to give it more juice.
Megathreads are a common practice on Reddit. Users expect them, and delight in the opportunity to digest a lot of information before they take part in an informed conversation. We find they drive higher CTRs, but can also be used to build valuable retargeting pools from those who engage and visit your website for other performance-focused campaigns.
The AMA is a favorite Reddit pastime where people answer questions from the Reddit community in a designated time and place. Brands can use this tactic as an ad, too, to increase their reach and engagement. We recommend boosting an organic community post that’s already seeing engagement, to expand your reach.
All types of promoted posts are great for reaching your bottom of the funnel objectives. Test carousels, text, images or videos to see which one works best for you.
A carousel format, for example, can provide brands more visual real estate to communicate product details, showcase multiple offers, or share their value proposition. This extra real estate lets you add that extra “umph” to convince someone to make a purchase.
7. Set yourself up for tests that matter
The way you set up your campaign will dictate how well you can optimize it later. Consider the questions you might ask yourself to take action and improve. For example, you might ask:
- Which audiences are most interested in my ads?
- Where are my audiences interacting with my ads?
- Which ad formats are interacted with the most?
- Which creative is the most compelling?
- Which individual ad has given me the most bang for my buck?
This simple example shows a conversion campaign running on all mobile devices, using two ad groups–each built with the same ads targeting different audiences.
This setup will make it hard to optimize by anything but your audience. You’ll essentially only be able to answer the question, “which audiences are most interested in my ads?”
The following example illustrates a setup that will allow you to optimize based on more information, by following these principles:
- Each campaign targets a single device type (iOS, Android, etc.), not just mobile
- Each ad group targets a single interest group, ad placement, and creative type
- Each ad group contains specific ads, to narrow down which ads resonate with which audience, ad placement and creative type
If you’re trying to test everything, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of campaigns and ad groups, quickly. Instead of focusing on everything at once, we recommend starting with:
- Device type: People behave differently across devices (think desktop, mobile, apps). Split your campaigns across platforms if it’s important to reach your audience in both places.
- Audience: splitting campaigns by audience lets you easily compare which audiences resonate with your campaign, as well as make it easier to combine audiences later.
- Format: If you're planning to test text, images, carousels, videos or any combination of the four at the same time, you can split your campaigns by format. This will allow you to ensure all of your ads get served across different placements, especially when budgets are tight. You don’t need to separate your ads into different campaigns to test each ad’s performance though–our ad level optimization tool will do that for you.
- Placement: Combine a single ad format (text, video, image, carousel) that’s placed in the feed (think promoted posts) and conversation placements in the same campaign to efficiently spend your budget.
- Creative: you should always be testing your creative strategy–image, video, text, headlines, calls-to-action (CTAs), sizes, and more. We recommend testing at least three to five creatives at once.
8. Set up your reporting
Once your campaign is live, you’ll want a system for checking in on your campaigns to ensure they’re running efficiently. Use our analytics tool to set up a recurring review of reports.
When you’ve received your report, analyze the campaign based on the buckets you’ve decided to test. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a difference between performance on desktop and mobile?
- Are broad audiences doing better than narrow audiences? Do I need a broader audience?
- Is there a difference between in feed and conversation placements?
- Is any creative performing better than the rest? Is it the same one across ad groups?
Remove or add audiences, devices, creatives and placements depending on what performs best for your objectives.
One big caveat: don’t make any optimizations unless your campaign has been live for at least two weeks–that should be ample time to collect enough data to allow you to make a good decision.
Best practices and pro tips
You’ve laid the groundwork for a successful Reddit campaign if you’ve made it this far. These best practices are for the pros looking to take their optimizations to the next level.
Targeting & Bidding
If you’re having trouble getting the most from your budget–and you’ve already tried adjusting your daily and lifetime budgets based on our previous recommendations–try the following:
- Expand your target audience. The broader the audience, the more inventory you're eligible for, giving you the opportunity to reach more users within your budget. Use the audience size estimate tool to understand how many people are eligible to see your ad.
- Increase your CPC cap (or CPC bid, if you’re using manual bidding), for a better chance at winning in auction. Use the bid recommendation tool in Ads Manager to see the suggested bid based on your budget and targeting.
If your ads just aren’t resonating with your audience, check out our full guide to building a great Reddit creative. Here are some of the main highlights:
- Build ads for mobile users–we suggest video ads. They perform best in 4:5, whereas static ads are great in both 4:5 or 1:1 ratios.
- Show your brand’s product or logo within the first 3 seconds of your video ad.
- Keep headlines under 150 characters for easy reading.
- Test videos of different lengths. We found the sweet spot to be 60 seconds.
- ICYMI, redditors have their own language and TIL, it matters a lot if you incorporate it into your ads. And yes, that includes calling out specific subreddits.
The best Reddit campaign is the one you’ve started
Success won’t always happen overnight–performance needs time and testing. The best thing you can do for your success is just to get started. When you’re working with a solid foundation, though, the time that it takes to test your initial campaign strategy will be well worth it in the end.
Remember–what’s most important is that you put your most authentic foot forward. Embrace the Reddit spirit, and redefine advertising success for your brand.
Need help finding your brand’s community? Book a meeting with one of our experts or give us a call today.
1 Suzy Auto Survey 2022, n=496
2 Reddit Internal Data via Suzy, 2022; Power of Community, 2022; Reddit Internal, U.S. 2022
3 Reddit Internal via Suzy, US, Dec 2022