Reddit is rarely featured in discussions of marketing strategy. In fact, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine that very few marketers have ever used Reddit, and if they have, they certainly haven’t considered using it as part of their professional marketing arsenal. However, Reddit could be useful in a vitally important field of marketing: content. Following updates to the style of the site and increased engagement from marketers, Reddit could be the right platform for boosting your content strategy.
What is Reddit?
Reddit is a mix between a social media platform and a news aggregation website, in that it brings information together from across the internet into one place but also allows users to take part in discussions and rate content. Each of these posts is then organised by users into boards (think Pinterest) called ‘subreddits’ which help to organise the content by topic.
Despite its relative anonymity in the marketing world, as of 2018 Reddit reached 330 million monthly active users, putting it on a par with Twitter. It also ranked as the third most visited website in the USA and the sixth in the world.
All this raises the question – why are marketers not tapping into this user base?
The marketing conundrum
Although Reddit is clearly a popular site with a wealth of content to boot, marketers have had trouble using the platform for their own ends. In 2014 AdAge published an article with the title ‘Reddit hates marketing. How to market on it anyway. It's not easy, but you should try. Well, some of you.’ Although meant in good humour, the title didn’t inspire much hope of an efficient site that delivers results.
AdAge argued ‘the problem is that Redditors overwhelmingly hate marketing in (almost) all its forms, and are suspicious of any sort of sales pitch. They also happen to be extremely good at skewering any of your advertising efforts.’ This is because Reddit users are understood to value transparency, openness and are reluctant to see the platform overrun by adverts or sponsored posts.
Yet all this could be about to change. Marketing Land points out that last year Reddit decided to undertake its first redesign in a decade. Reddit’s CEO, Steve Huffman, cited a number of reasons for the redesign, ‘chief among [which] was to decrease the bounce rate of first-time visitors and lift the amount of time everyone spent on the website.’ The changes went live this April and early metrics show ‘three to seven times better user engagement rates with the redesigned site compared to the classic version.’
Importantly Marketing Land notes that on top of this engagement, brands are reaping the rewards. Reddit’s VP of brand partnerships, Zubair Jandali, is quoted as saying its new format ‘offers more opportunities for native advertising and an optimal layout for the site’s recently launched native video ads.’ The native video ads are purchasable on a cost-per-view basis, meaning the feature is affordable and flexible for brands looking to experiment with the site.
Give it a go
All this means that Reddit is far more accessible to inexperienced users and marketers looking to try out a new platform for their content, whether that means text-based or video. Industry commentators are also beginning to put helpful hints and tips online to guide marketers, for example this guide from AdWeek.
One suggestions AdWeek makes is to pay attention to your Reddit ‘karma score,’ which is a form of social currency that improves when user’s content is ‘upvoted’ and lost when they are ‘downvoted.’ As AdWeek points out, ‘Reddit karma, at face value, is [therefore] a quantitative measure related to the quality of content that a user posts and how active that user is.’ For a brand this is huge, as it allows a measurement of engagement with your content and the extent to which your content is valued and seen as credible among readers.
With Reddit so popular with millions around the world and undergoing something of a revolution that is attracting marketers, if you’re looking for a place to display your brand’s content this could be the one. Although it may not suit every brand, it could prove a valuable community to tap into.
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