Reddit ads can be a goldmine for marketing in a digital environment dominated by Google and Facebook — but it can also be intimidating, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with its unique format and user base. That being said, with a little research and a genuine desire to build connections with Reddit’s passionate users, you can develop an engaging campaign that produces a surprisingly high return on investment. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy a low barrier to entry — an enticing proposition for any business with a limited marketing budget.

Reddit may not be an ideal solution for all advertisers, but it has a lot to offer companies with niche customers and a desire to take on new marketing strategies. First, it’s crucial that you understand how Reddit works, why it’s different from other platforms, and how these differences impact Reddit Ads.

What Is Reddit?

Reddit doesn’t look quite like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, but it’s a social networking site all the same. The platform refers to itself as a “network of communities based on people’s interests.” Known as subreddits, these communities allow members to share content such as images, videos, and links to other pages. Users can also comment on existing threads. Many provide feedback in the form of upvotes or downvotes.

What Are Reddit Ads? How Do They Work?

Reddit, like most other social media platforms, provides excellent opportunities for companies to market to carefully targeted users. While the prospect of creating a cohesive campaign may seem challenging given the site’s unusual format, its loose structure is actually the key to its genius as a marketing vehicle. Easily customizable, Reddit’s paid ads allow you to interact with target audiences in ways they find both familiar and compelling.

Reddit Ads come in many formats, but all are displayed either in the page’s main feed or within dedicated posts. Often, these are shared by accounts that are already respected within specific subreddits. As a paid strategy, these ads use solutions such as cost per click or cost per view to track ad spend and campaign reach.

Reddit ad for a donut tasting

With a clear call to action, Reddit ads can be an excellent advertising solution for many brands.

What Does the Average Reddit Advertising Campaign Cost?

Return on investment is a huge concern among businesses considering Reddit as a marketing resource because predicting Reddit advertising cost can be tricky. — it depends largely on the objective set at the outset of the initiative. Other factors impacting cost include the size of the audience, the advertising schedule, and the amount per bid.

Thankfully, Reddit offers insight into anticipated expenses based on parameters set at the outset of each campaign. This includes not only the ability to set a daily or a lifetime budget but also predictions regarding how much the entirety of the campaign might cost. Unfortunately, as Reddit cautions, it’s possible to be billed up to 20% more than the intended budget amount.

While the platform offers no official data regarding the typical cost of a campaign, it mandates a minimum daily spend of $5 for pay-per-click Reddit campaigns. That being said, most advertisers will need to go beyond this to actually reach desired customers.

How to Advertise on Reddit

At first glance, Reddit advertising may not appear to be as straightforward as opportunities on other sites. Much of the confusion stems from the site’s focus on diverse subreddit communities. Once you dive in, however, you might be surprised to find that the process is easy to navigate. Still, to keep things simple, we’ve broken down the basics of Reddit advertising. Follow these key steps and suggestions to get started:

Determine Which Subreddits Align With Your Target Audience

Before you embark on a Reddit advertising campaign, determine whether you can actually find an interested and engaged audience on this platform. Your ability to accomplish this will depend on your industry, niche, and the type of customer you hope to reach.

While the site’s user base tends to skew young, you’ll find a vast range of users spanning every demographic group. These individuals express interest in all kinds of topics, ranging from politics to sports and every type of cat photo imaginable.

Take your time to explore the wealth of subreddits available. Consider whether users might be receptive to advertising, and if so, whether a particular type of messaging is more likely to resonate. Many subreddits are inherently distrusting of attempts to sell products or services on this platform so it’s crucial that you get to know your intended audience before you proceed.

Prior to browsing various subreddits, determine which topics or interests your target audience finds compelling. From there, you can find corresponding communities. For example, a retailer selling fitness apparel designed for expecting and new mothers may see success with subreddits such as /r/fitmama or /r/fitpregnancy. Likewise, a video game resale business might find success on /r/retrogaming or /r/retrogameswap.

Finding the sweet spot for subreddit selection can be challenging; select too broad of a category, and you’re unlikely to motivate users to convert. Extremely targeted subreddits are available, but these aren’t always active. As such, they carry the risk of wasting resources on a niche that provides few opportunities for genuinely connecting with customers.

Create a Reddit Account for Your Business

As tempting as it may be to use your existing account to promote your business, it’s better to take the additional effort to create a new account that is specifically tailored to your company.

Currently, the process begins with entering basic details such as your contact information and industry. From there, you’ll be directed to a dashboard page, where you can view information about existing campaigns, or, if you’re new to Reddit Ads, create your very first campaign.

Engage With Targeted Subreddit Communities to Build Trust

Developing a sense of trust is crucial on Reddit. If this is lacking, users will be suspicious of your efforts to post content, regardless of whether it’s marked as sponsored or not.

Instead of diving in with self-promotion, begin your forays into the world of Reddit by actually striving to develop a connection with the subreddit communities you previously identified as relevant to your brand. This could mean upvoting submissions, commenting on threads, or sharing content from resources other than your own blog or social media pages. The goal should be to provide genuine value to the people who frequent your targeted subreddits.

Create Your Campaign

Now that you’ve established yourself as an authority within your subreddits of choice, it’s time to move forward with developing a customized campaign. Begin by visiting your account dashboard, where you’ll find the option to create a campaign. Next, enter details such as the name of the campaign and the intended method of payment.

Reddit will encourage you to “optimize your campaign creation flow” by selecting one of several provided objectives. These include:

  • Brand awareness and reach
  • Website traffic
  • Website conversions
  • Video views
  • App installs

In addition to providing a brief description of each objective, Reddit details the associated payment structure. The traffic objective, for example, is driven by a cost-per-click strategy, while the brand awareness option involves cost per thousand impressions.

Screenshot of Reddit ads object choices -- Brand awareness and reach, Traffic, Conversions, Video views, and App Installs

Reddit’s ad campaigns are structured based on a variety of marketing objectives.

Develop an Ad Group

Now it’s time to draw on your research and rapport with specific subreddits. As you create your preferred ad group, you’ll need to select a name for identifying this group. Next, choose any areas of interest, geographic regions, or subreddit communities that should be targeted by your campaign.

In the communities section, a drop-down menu will provide a list of subreddits, as well as the current number of subscribers for each. A helpful visual should provide insight into the size of your audience and whether it’s too narrow or broad for your campaign to get the traction you desire.

Select Your Preferred Ad Placement

Reddit provides two main options for placing ads: feeds, which make advertising content visible while users are casually browsing, or conversations, which place ads within specific posts. Either approach can be valuable; it all comes down to who you want to reach and in what context.

A highly targeted campaign is more likely to succeed with conversation ads, which reach the most engaged users. Feed-based advertising may be a better option for producing general traffic and brand awareness.

Set a Budget and Bids

You’ve chosen who you want to reach, where you want your ad located, and which objectives you’d like to emphasize. Before you start developing actual posts, you’ll need to handle financial basics. This means setting either a daily or a lifetime budget, as well as an amount per bid.

As mentioned previously, a vast array of budgetary options are available for Reddit Ads, with shockingly low daily spends available. These low costs derive, in part, from the general lack of ad competition, which keeps inventory affordable as compared to other social media sites.

Add Third-Party Tracking

Reddit provides the opportunity to track click and impression data via approved third-party vendors. During the post creation process, these can be applied to the “destination URL’” field. If your objective involves app installs, this process will require a separate section for adding click trackers.

Create a New Post

Finally, it’s time to get creative. Select the “Create New Post” option to get started with developing and promoting your ad. How you proceed will largely depend on which objective you’ve chosen for your campaign and how you want to attract attention from your new audience on Reddit. Text-based posts are available for the Brand Awareness and Reach objective, while other categories are limited to videos and links.

No matter which type of post you select, you’ll need to give it a compelling title. From there, you can add a display URL or text. With links or videos, you can also add files and calls to action. Like any CTA, this should clearly convey how you want your audience to proceed upon viewing your ad.

Common CTAs on Reddit include:

  • Sign Up
  • Contact Us
  • Shop Now
  • Download
  • Watch Now
  • Get a Quote

Before you complete your post, designate whether you want Reddit users to be allowed to comment on it. This option can be risky. After all, while comments encourage engagement, negative feedback could prove damaging — particularly in subreddit communities that are generally skeptical of advertisers. Consider the environment within your chosen ad locations before you allow comments.

The type of content you post matters; pictures and GIFs tend to produce the most engagement but linking out to YouTube is unlikely to yield results. Reddit users are notoriously unimpressed with blog spam, so be careful about linking out to other websites.

View Ad Preview

Prior to launching your ad, it’s crucial that you know how it will look in both desktop and mobile formats. Use the ad preview option to get a better sense of your ad’s final appearance. From there, you can review all relevant details or make adjustments if necessary.

Reddit Ad Preview for an Endless Thread ad -- has options for previewing the ad on desktop and mobile

Don’t forget to preview your ad prior to submitting it for approval.

Submit For Approval

If you’re happy with your ad, feel free to submit it. Keep in mind, however, that it may not be approved for up to 48 hours. During this time, Reddit’s team will verify that your ad’s content abides by the site’s policies.

If approved, your ad will start running promptly. If rejected, you may need to make changes based on Reddit’s feedback before your ad can be viewed by your intended audience.

Are Reddit Ads Worth It?

There is no simple answer to this question. Reddit Ads are worthwhile for many businesses, but only when you’re willing to take a leap of faith and dive into an advertising system that looks little like the social media status quo. Still, with its relatively low cost of entry and its general lack of competition, Reddit can provide a unique alternative for targeting specific users at a cost far lower than your typical paid campaign.

If you ultimately conclude that Reddit Ads are not worth the investment, it may still be worth your while to experiment with organic content. This can be tricky to pull off, but with the right audience, this approach will help you bypass the competition you might encounter on other sites.

With Reddit — as is the case for many of today’s top advertising opportunities — you get out what you put in. A little effort on your part can make a world of difference, as can a genuine desire to serve your audience.

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