11 Vital Reddit Marketing Insights

Here’s why mar­keters should pay atten­tion to Red­dit and what you need to know to be suc­cess­ful when mar­ket­ing to their mil­lions of users.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Red­dit, the so-called “front page of the Inter­net,” is far more fer­tile ground for mar­keters than sim­ply AMAs. Brent Csu­toras, CEO of web design firm Pix­el Road Designs, goes so far as call­ing Red­dit “mis­un­der­stood.” But by learn­ing a lit­tle more about the plat­form itself, as well as its users, mar­keters can har­ness Red­dit to ben­e­fit both their brands, as well as Red­di­tors them­selves.

Here’s what mar­keters need to know to get the most out of Red­dit:

1. Reddit Is Bursting At The Seams With Viral Content

“Red­dit is prob­a­bly the sin­gle source on the Web for things that go viral,” Csu­toras said. Look no fur­ther than memes like soror­i­ty girl self­ies, Over­ly Attached Girl­friend, or the unfor­tu­nate Beni­hana-esque engage­ment pho­to, to name a few. This means con­tent has poten­tial for huge vis­i­bil­i­ty if a brand can find suc­cess on Red­dit, Csu­toras said. “It’s where peo­ple are find­ing the sto­ries,” he said. “Jour­nal­ists have been using it to break news for years. I get almost every­thing from Red­dit.”

2. Reddit Is Growing

Fur­ther, Red­dit has had sig­nif­i­cant and con­sis­tent growth, more so than any oth­er social site. In fact, in March 2015, Red­dit had 150 mil­lion unique vis­i­tors, which had grown to 203 mil­lion by Octo­ber. “It’s an impres­sive audi­ence, but it might not mean as much when you look at oth­er chan­nels with bil­lions of users,” Csu­toras added. Check out this graph­ic, designed by Pix­el Road Designs, which pro­vides some use­ful data on Red­dit users: Reddit Statistics

3. Reddit Has A Desirable Audience Of Knowledge-Hungry Users

In addi­tion to size, the Red­dit audi­ence has oth­er desir­able char­ac­ter­is­tics for mar­keters. Per Csu­toras, that includes a medi­an age of 35 and income of about $68,000. Fur­ther, 81 per­cent of Red­di­tors are return­ing users who spend an aver­age of 12 min­utes on the site, 80 per­cent are Eng­lish-speak­ing and 62 per­cent come to the site look­ing for news. While con­sumers use plat­forms like Face­book to con­nect with friends and fam­i­ly, they come to Red­dit for anoth­er spe­cif­ic pur­pose. “Red­dit has cap­ti­vat­ed that research-dri­ven, edu­cat­ed audi­ence that wants to dis­cuss issues on a deep lev­el,” Csu­toras said. “The [Red­dit] audi­ence is large, it’s a great demo­graph­ic and it’s the audi­ence that makes every­thing go viral online.”

4. Reddit Is About Users, Not Profit

“Red­dit has nev­er been about prof­it,” he said. “It doesn’t have the same require­ments as oth­er sites.” Cus­toras doesn’t see this chang­ing any time soon. In fact, he said the site has not been redesigned in six years, so its cen­tral pur­pose has not dras­ti­cal­ly changed. “I don’t see them going pub­lic and putting restraints on them­selves,” he added.

5. Reddit Is Becoming More Welcoming To Outsiders

While Red­dit users may have a rep­u­ta­tion for being a bit of stand­off­ish, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to out­siders, like, say, mar­keters, Csu­toras said Red­dit is chang­ing its rules to be more accept­ing – such as replac­ing shad­ow bans, in which con­tent is blocked from poten­tial spam­mers or trolls, with account sus­pen­sions. How­ev­er, Csu­toras not­ed addi­tion­al changes, such as the poten­tial removal of a rule about self-pro­mo­tion, as well as a new auc­tion-style ad sys­tem, also indi­cate Reddit’s view on mar­keters is shift­ing. “From my many years on Red­dit, there has been a clear shift in the way peo­ple views ads from being the worst thing ever to being quite accept­ed,” Csu­toras said. “Com­pa­nies are gen­er­al­ly being bet­ter accept­ed and users are more inter­est­ed in the abil­i­ty to pro­mote their con­tent and grow their com­mu­ni­ties. So in gen­er­al, we are just see­ing more oppor­tu­ni­ty every day for brands and com­pa­nies to have suc­cess on Red­dit.” At the same time, Csu­toras not­ed Red­dit is nev­er going to be a place brands can sim­ply adver­tise they way they can in oth­er com­mu­ni­ties, so mar­keters real­ly have to know what they are doing and have a plan in place before tack­ling Red­dit. So what exact­ly do mar­keters need to know to be suc­cess­ful on Red­dit?

6. Marketers Must Find The Right Subreddit

In order to get the most out of Red­dit, Csu­toras said brands must con­nect with the right audi­ence. “Red­dit is soft­ware and sub­red­dits are pri­vate groups based on Red­dit soft­ware,” Csu­toras said. “In a sub­red­dit, the mod­er­a­tors aren’t work­ing for Red­dit. They work on their own rules and struc­tures.” He used the exam­ple of the Toron­to Wing Fes­ti­val, which used the Toron­to sub­red­dit to pro­mote the event. In an easy-to-digest tile, the fes­ti­val men­tioned the date and price, as well as that the event was all you can eat. As a result, 53 per­cent of con­sumers con­vert­ed, the brand saw an 8,800 per­cent ROI and it drove five times the traf­fic, Csu­toras said. “They just found the right sub­red­dit and used a sim­ple-to-read title,” Csu­toras said. “It’s about get­ting a rap­port and look­ing for the right oppor­tu­ni­ty.”

7. Marketers Must ‘Redditize’ Their Ads

When cre­at­ing ads for Red­dit, mar­keters need to cre­ate con­tent specif­i­cal­ly for Red­dit and per­son­al­ize it, Csu­toras said. In oth­er words, brands should talk direct­ly to Red­di­tors – such as say­ing, “Hey, Red­dit,” or the like – or risk get­ting glossed over, he added. Csu­toras also said Red­dit-only con­tests specif­i­cal­ly for the Red­dit com­mu­ni­ty are also a good way to encour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion as Red­di­tors know these con­tests are exclu­sive­ly for them. That’s what Mar­riott did when post­ing about its #Get­Tele­port­ed effort on Red­dit. It also designed a Red­dit-spe­cif­ic con­test in which it asked users to tell the brand why their city was awe­some for a chance to receive Marriott’s first tele­porter. “They were speak­ing to the audi­ence – ‘We have this cool prod­uct, maybe we’re a bit biased’ – so they made it jok­ing­ly,” Csu­toras said. “[But they said,] ‘We think this is cool and want your opin­ion and want to run a con­test just for Red­di­tors.’” In addi­tion, Csu­toras said one of the keys was ask­ing a ques­tion in the title, which drove a 60 per­cent high­er CTR. Over­all, the effort yield­ed 317 com­ments from Red­di­tors who stayed ful­ly engaged through­out, which, in turn, increased brand aware­ness.

8. Marketers Must Be Helpful On Reddit

But it’s not just ask­ing ques­tions. Brands can also engage Red­di­tors by iden­ti­fy­ing pain points and then try­ing to solve those prob­lems by invit­ing inter­ac­tion and/or offer­ing deals or coupons, Csu­toras said. That’s what TransAmer­i­ca did with a Red­dit-spe­cif­ic cam­paign that asked Red­di­tors for sug­ges­tions on finan­cial top­ics they’d like to know more about. “They said, ‘We under­stand there are dis­cus­sions on Red­dit,’ and con­nect­ed the brand to Red­di­tors – ‘We want to help you, so we are ask­ing peo­ple to give sug­ges­tions on what they would like to know more about,’” Csu­toras said. Fur­ther, TransAmer­i­ca used Red­dit fonts and col­ors to empha­size the con­tent was Red­dit-spe­cif­ic and even includ­ed the Red­dit alien in some posts. What’s more, TransAmer­i­ca reached out to each com­menter to share the con­tent that was cre­at­ed for them as a result of their posts. Csu­toras said the brand walked away with increased brand aware­ness, con­tent ideas, direct cus­tomer engage­ment, focus group feed­back and tons of arti­cles and links.

9. Marketers Must Constantly Monitor & Engage On Reddit

In addi­tion, brands must not only par­tic­i­pate in com­ments, they must mon­i­tor the chan­nel con­stant­ly. “Keep the com­ments on – that’s part of the expe­ri­ence,” Csu­toras said. “And you need to answer the com­ments. You need to check all the time and get into it. You need to par­tic­i­pate. It’s not some­thing you can post and then come back to lat­er.” That, Csu­toras said, was part of the prob­lem with the REI AMA that recent­ly went awry. “There’s noth­ing about any­thing in social media that should be easy, like ‘set and for­get,’” he added. Fur­ther, brands on Red­dit must embrace tough ques­tions from Red­di­tors. “They wait for you to ignore tough ques­tions on Red­dit so they can rip into you hard­er,” Csu­toras said. “The quick­er you answer, the less they have of an oppor­tu­ni­ty to strength­en their over­all resolve.”

10. Marketers Must Use A Reddit-Appropriate Tone

It’s incred­i­bly impor­tant brands choose the right per­son to inter­act with Red­di­tors on their behalf. That per­son must not only be knowl­edge­able enough to answer ques­tions, but also not rigid and bor­ing, Csu­toras said. Fur­ther, he or she must always main­tain a light­heart­ed, good-natured tone and nev­er get defen­sive. “Red­dit doesn’t let you get away with being infe­ri­or or slop­py. On Red­dit, they will tell you you’re doing a bad job,” Csu­toras said. “But don’t get too defen­sive or emo­tion­al. That nev­er works out. It’s best to be light­heart­ed. A lot of times, you have to appre­ci­ate the snark­i­ness and the ban­ter and if you get defen­sive, they will drag you through the mud.”

11. Marketers Can Incentivize Redditors

In order to encour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion, brands can offer to give par­tic­i­pants incen­tives like Red­dit Gold, which is Reddit’s pre­mi­um mem­ber­ship ser­vice and gives users access to addi­tion­al fea­tures. How­ev­er, Csu­toras cau­tions brands may want to lim­it the offer to a cer­tain num­ber of par­tic­i­pants to avoid hav­ing to buy Red­dit Gold for a huge num­ber of com­menters should a large num­ber of respons­es come in. That is how whiskey brand Dewar’s solicit­ed feed­back for a video with a vir­tu­al walk-through of its dis­tillery and end­ed up with 428 com­ments from engaged users who pro­vid­ed opin­ions, Csu­toras said.  

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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