Even with reddit climbing its way to the 10th most popular and trafficked website in the U.S. (43rd in the world), many businesses remain stagnant when it comes to interacting and contributing to the communities on reddit. Some companies simply don’t see the value or may feel confused/intimidated by the strange social mannerisms and passionately enforced rules, which vary from subreddit to subreddit.
When it comes to self-promotion on reddit, businesses are required to do a bit of a dance. This routine boils down to finding communities (subreddits) you genuinely enjoy, participating naturally in those subreddits, and ultimately allocating a marketing budget to run strategic and relevant ads in those subreddits. This might seem overwhelming to some businesses – your boss may even be inclined to ask, “What’s the ROI of you having a discussion with strangers?” On reddit, this is simply proper reddiquette.
Ryan Luedecke, CEO of a subscription box service called Sumo Jerky, knows this best. He recently put together a brilliant and detailed guide for scoring sales with strategic reddit ads. Here’s a snapshot of his inbox after running his campaigns:
Ryan has run about 30 ads on reddit, spending about $400 and netting him over $2,200, which has collectively contributed to 15% of his monthly subscriber base. The success of his campaigns can primarily be attributed to his tactful research and ‘sizing-up’ of subreddits as promotion targets. This is a pivotal process largely impacting the success of ad campaigns.
Some of Ryan’s key planning strategies involve proper keyword research, thorough social monitoring of subreddits – specifically discussions surrounding your keywords – and relevancy ratings for each subreddit. In Ryan’s case, some of his keywords included:
- Beef jerky
- Office snacks
- Subscription box
Fortunately, Ryan’s artisan-made jerky club naturally aligns with many of the demographics and interests of redditors. A more conservative and corporate business, such as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), would have to come up with a strategic approach since their customers are other businesses. This forces most B2B operations to plan meticulously because there are, in fact, many entrepreneurs, CEOs, managers, and workers who can easily become a referral if an ad is well-targeted, relevant, timely, and provides value. This is where creative marketers shine, such as turning troubleshooting suggestions into a share-able infographic, or turning your ad discussion into an educational resource.
This planning process can be daunting and hard to manage, so we asked Ryan a few questions to help shed light on gearing up for a reddit ad campaign.
Q: How do you match up your business/products with subreddits? Are there are any specific search queries you use?
I use the search tool in reddit:
I come up with keywords related to my product and then enter them in search, one at a time, and it produces a list of 20 subreddits where that term was mentioned. I’ve had success with simple, one-word or two-word searches – very basic queries with no filters. If it’s difficult to come up with keywords for your product, use this free tool: http://www.wordstream.com/keywords and plug the outputted keywords into the reddit search bar, one at a time.
Q: How can you tell whether a subreddit will be a good match for your offer? Along the same vein, what metrics do you look for in a subreddit?
I read posts within each subreddit to determine if the keyword mentions are relevant to my business. For example, for my subscription beef jerky business, are people talking about “jerky” as a snack food or are they using the term as slang for a person being a “jerk.” It’s fairly simple, in that case, to determine whether the subreddit discussion is relevant to your product or if they’re just using an alternate form of the word. I recommend reading several posts in each subreddit and understand the context in which people are using your keyword to make sure they’re indicating some buying potential.
To determine if the subreddit is a good fit for an ad, I want to see at least 10+ posts with relevant mentions of my keyword, and I want there to be 10,000+ subscribers in the subreddit. You need a subreddit to have 10,000+ subscribers (also called “readers”) or it’s quite likely that reddit will have trouble finding you enough impressions in that subreddit to run your ads.
Q: How do you measure these metrics / are there any tools you use?
I use this simple Google Sheet ad planner that’s linked in my original article.
Q: What general advice would you give a greenhorn looking to try out an advertising campaign on reddit?
Advice for newcomers: start with inexpensive $5 and $10 campaigns in subreddits that show buying potential. Use feedback in the comments to improve your ads. Be polite in the comments – even to people who are snarky or critical — I’ve had ads upvoted because I replied to criticism with kindness or humor instead of getting angry or defensive. Offer a discount to redditors. Kill underperforming ads and re-invest that spend into your top performing ads.