Advertising on Reddit, the front page of the internet, is tricky. The user base is smart, tech-savvy and will figure out any underhanded marketing strategies that you try to employ and they will not let you live it down. But advertising done right on Reddit can be powerful and incredibly helpful to a brand, so in Part 2(Read Part 1) of this blog, we want to cover two cases of advertising on Reddit. You probably heard of the Nissan advertising spectacle. Quoted to be “one of the best campaigns the site has seen in a long time”, by Reddit’s Director of Communications, Victoria Taylor, Nissan hit every note in their campaign. But before we jump into ad campaigns on Reddit let’s talk about finding your audience first.
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There’s A subreddit For Literally
Reddit is huge and once you start combing through different topics you’ll realize that you’re looking at an endless directory of discussion forums. And every broad topic will have subforums - so finding your audience can be a little challenging. For example, r/gaming is the biggest topic on video games but subtopics like r/dota, r/globaloffensive and r/r6siege cover individual games have thriving content creators, members and discussions. Figuring out what target audience you have is important and being active in those subreddits is important as well. Sometimes getting upvoted to the front page of your subreddit is enough to get brand visibility to upwards of 200k views or hits. You don’t have to aim for the r/all page or the front page at all. Doing well in a niche community subreddit sometimes will give you a lot of exposure.
Don’t Control The Conversation On Reddit
Probably the biggest mistake that brands make is trying to control the conversation. That’s essentially the worst thing you can do in a community that prides itself on discussion and freedom of speech. Instead what you can do is reward users with Reddit Gold, which costs $5 and helps with the upkeep of the site. Reddit Gold also unlocks some extra features for users and gives them a nice gold badge next to their usernames. Showing gratitude like that is often well received and respected. The only way to get into Reddit is to actually get in, and understand the lingo and the culture. Brands that post memes are frowned upon so basically don’t do or say anything that could be considered cringe-worthy.
Nissan Did It Right
When Nissan announced their new car the Versa Note they ran probably the most successful ad campaign ever on Reddit. Nissan’s campaign was really simple and honest - they were promoting the first ever vehicle to be sold on Amazon, the Versa Note. Nissan’s two community managers basically asked redditors what they wanted on Amazon and promptly started shipping it to them. It’s pretty insane, out of the box and risky if you think about it. Among the many requests from users were things like an $800,000 painting and 4500 ladybugs. The community managers were so in tune with the culture and Reddit, that they just sent out a months subscription of Reddit gold for the wilder requests. But as they say on Reddit “OP Delivered”, and boy did Nissan deliver. They converted a potentially risky ad campaign to one of the most memorable ones in Reddit’s history, and they got the respect and admiration from Redditors, which isn’t easy.
Pilots Bad Ad
Ads like the above one get a lot of hate on Reddit. Not only did the brand try to appropriate memes into their advertising, but with a username like “best_pen_ever” they really did a terrible job to understand the culture within Reddit. What happened after was not pretty. The username had to be deleted, and a short discussion broke out on Reddit about whether they should even allow brands to create accounts and try to pass off ads as memes. This is a clear indication that Reddit users don’t appreciate a brand that tries too hard to impress them.
Don’t Risk Everything
I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that advertising on Reddit can be risky for your brand. Things could go really well and things could also go really sour in a matter of minutes. Even various celebrities who have held AMAs or Ask Me Anythings have gone through some great discussions and some terrible ones. The Woody Harrelson AMA is probably the most infamous one, where actor Woody Harrelson had come to Reddit to promote his new movie, RAMPART. He proceeded to only answer questions about the movie, which quickly irked the users of Reddit, and what began more than a week's worth of memes, and bad press for the actor. When you’re taking a decision to advertise on Reddit, understand the culture and invest in it, before you jump in.