Why You Should Consider Advertising on Reddit

Advertising on Reddit: The New Must-Have Paid Search Strategy

You should probably be advertising on Reddit. Like, yesterday.

But before we lay out exactly why Reddit ads represent a ripe opportunity for most brands (we’ll note a few industries who are especially well suited for it), let’s begin by reorienting ourselves around the current context of the search engine marketing landscape.

What is search engine marketing and how is the landscape changing?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the set of activities aimed at increasing a brand’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Advertisers bid on keywords that their target audience is searching for, ensuring that any resulting website traffic is coming from highly interested prospective customers and clients.

Brand leaders, take note! The search landscape is changing.

1. Hello, AI-based search engines!

Thanks to features like natural language processing and predictive analytics, search results are becoming far more personalized than ever before. 

This is great for users. But many brands are finding this shift confronting because marketing content that used to get the job done isn’t cutting it anymore.

2. Traditional advertising channels are oversaturated.

As more businesses have understood the power of online marketing, the digital advertising space has become overcrowded.

Brands are struggling to get their ads seen and engaged with, reducing the overall ROI of their SEM programs. “How do we cut through the noise?” is the essential question on everyone’s lips.

3. More competition means rising advertising costs.

In most industries, competition for ad space has become an outright brawl. The more desirable a keyword, the more people are willing to bid on it, which keeps the cost of paid search ads rising and rising. 

Higher costs per click (CPC) and cost per acquisition (CPA) are straining the budgets of many businesses – big and small.

4. Inconsistent ad interfaces contribute to increases in user error.

Substantial variances between the user experience (UX) of advertising platforms can create challenges for marketers who need to move quickly.

Each ad platform’s unique set of tools, metrics, and user interface quirks can create operational challenges that lead to inefficiencies and errors – this is doubly true when the team members assigned to manage paid search lack the relevant expertise.

5. Complexity x1000

Many marketing teams are either ignoring or barely utilizing the more complex and sophisticated functions of modern search engine advertising platforms. As AI and machine learning ad features continue to be rolled out, this complexity will only increase.

Having access to a tool and being a hands-on-keyboard expert leveraging that tool to the maximum are two very different things.

To succeed in this fastly-evolving environment, businesses must commit to agile marketing and continuously update their strategies.

All this is why we need to have a chat about Reddit…

Reddit: The search ads platform you didn’t know you need

If your primary Reddit experience is a subreddit related to your gardening hobby, or your teenage daughter’s exploration into fan fiction, or you’ve never explored it at all, you might initially find it absurd to consider Reddit as a strategic ads platform for B2B or eCommerce marketing. 

Please attempt to suspend any disbelief and hear us out. 

We’re going to cover:

What are Reddit Search Ads? 

Reddit Ads are a digital advertising option offered by Reddit, the popular social news aggregation, rating, and conversational website. 

In exchange for a fee, businesses can showcase their products, services, and marketing content to a curated selection of the 70+ million daily users on the Reddit platform. 

How does Reddit paid search work? 6 essential steps.

1. Select your target keywords

Advertisers conduct their own keyword research to identify the specific keywords their target audience is currently using, to ensure that ads appear only in relevant search results.

2. Choose your preferred ad format

  • Promoted Posts appear in the feed like regular Reddit posts, but are marked as “Promoted” or “Sponsored.” They can include text, images, videos, links, and even GIFs.
  • Display Ads are traditional banner ads that appear on the sides or top of Reddit pages.
  • Video Ads auto-play video content in the feed and can be promoted like regular posts.

3. Define ad targets

    • Interest Targeting ads focus on user interests, like technology, skincare, or professional development.
    • Community Targeting concentrates on specific subreddits (communities).
    • Location Targeting shows ads only to users in specific geographic locations.
    • Device Targeting ads are shown on specific devices like mobile phones, tablets, or desktops.
    • Custom Audiences allows advertisers to upload their own customer lists and target those users wherever they are in the Reddit ecosystem, or to create lookalike audiences based on the company’s owned customer data.

    4. Set your budget and engage in the auction

      • Advertisers place bids for their chosen ad parameters via auctions. The highest bid usually wins. Bidding options include:
        • Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
        • Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM)
        • Cost-Per-View (CPV) for video ads.
      • Advertisers have control of their daily or total campaign budgets to manage spend.

      5. Track performance by reviewing analytics and campaign reports

        Advertisers can gather data-informed insights and continually optimize their campaigns, thanks to the detailed analytics Reddit provides.

        Analytics and reporting functionality allows brands to monitor:

        • Overall ad performance
        • Impressions
        • Clicks
        • Click-through rates (CTR)
        • Conversions, and other relevant metrics. 

        6. Campaign objectives

          At the start of a campaign, advertisers can also define their high priority performance objectives and the Reddit ad platform will optimize campaign delivery in pursuit of those specific objectives. Common campaign objectives include increases in:

          • Brand awareness
          • Website traffic
          • Conversions
          • Video views

          Reddit vs popular search ads platforms like Google and Bing

          7 unique advantages of advertising on Reddit

          1. Decreased competition

          The single biggest advantage of advertising on Reddit is that it offers a profitable escape hatch from oversaturated traditional advertising channels

          Reddit paid search lets marketers bypass the expensive competition and cluttered marketplace experience on Google, Meta, and Bing, while still accessing high-quality prospects.

          Reddit Ads vs. Google Ads

          2. Highly engaged user base

          “Niche community” might conjure the image of 11 people huddled inside a cottage in the woods, but Reddit is anything but.

          The platform’s 70+ million active daily users cluster together to form niche digital communities (known as subreddits). Reddit users have a reputation for falling in love with a subreddit or four, and therefore spend a significant amount of time on the platform

          With 1.2 million new posts every day, content that matches the expectations of each subreddit is typically perceived as highly reliable and trustworthy.

          A platform known for higher rates of community engagement is fertile ground for advertisers looking for higher rates of ad engagement.

          Number of Reddit Posts Per Year

          3. Targeted advertising

          If you’re assuming that Reddit targeting functionality must be less sophisticated than traditional ad platforms, think again. 

          Advertising on Reddit offers a host of customizable targeting options, allowing fine-tuning based on the relevance of specific subreddits, broader interests, demographics, geographic location, income, professional industry, job title, and much more. 

          4. Community-driven insights

          With the death of third-party cookies and rise in consumer data privacy concerns, marketers have found it increasingly difficult to gain first-hand insights from their ideal customers. This is a problem.

          The best marketing requires comprehensive knowledge of what your prospect is thinking and feeling. 

          • What do they want? 
          • What else are they considering?
          • What are their questions?
          • What are they confused by?
          • What sounds too good to be true so they don’t believe you (yet)?

          The inner workings of your customer’s brain has become harder to access, so what’s a modern marketer to do? 

          The most forward-thinking marketers we know are leveraging Reddit’s community discussion spaces for invaluable market research. 

          Reddit helps advertisers identify the most relevant subreddit locations for their brand, so you can listen in as your customers and prospects discuss their interests, desires and concerns about your market category or specific product/service.

          Being able to access the insider perspective on your audience’s preferences and pain points is growth marketing gold.

          5. Cost-Effectiveness

          In the paid media landscape, the ROI potential of Reddit search ads is…the word “staggering” comes to mind.  


          Currently, no other paid search option is as cost-effective as Reddit, and all indications are that the platform’s efficacy will continue to improve over time as it grows and advances.

          So is advertising on Reddit worth it? These numbers speak for themselves:

          Common range of CPCs on Google

          Common range of CPCs on Reddit

          *Numbers vary based on targeting and industry.

          How to Build a Budget

          How to Build a Budget for Your Awareness Campaign

          Looking to build a budget for your awareness campaign? Check out our practical tips and examples to help you create a budget that maximizes your impact.

          6. Flexibility and customization

          Reddit provides a range of ad formats and customization features. Options include:

          • Free-Form Ads (This one is fairly unique to Reddit – it allows text, image, video and GIFs all in one ad.)
          • Image Ads
          • Autoplay Video Ads
          • Carousel Ads
          • Conversation Placements
          • Shopping Ads 

          Whatever content type your audience prefers (keep in mind, this often changes as they move down the funnel), Reddit offers a range of ad formats and customization options so that savvy marketers can produce compelling ads that grab users’ attention and interest. 

          7. Enhanced brand visibility and awareness via SEO and SEM

          Building brand presence within niche communities carries a host of benefits. But Reddit provides an opportunity for marketers to receive an additional wave of high-quality traffic without the added cost. We loosely refer to this as the ‘Double Up Reddit Effect’. Here’s how it works:

          Let’s say your brand does thoughtful research and identifies 2-3 subreddits full of your target customers. You’re off to a strong start!

          So you build a contextually-relevant campaign for each subreddit, targeting prospects at all phases of the funnel, and the engagement metrics are truly impressive. Everyone’s thrilled. Huge success, right?

          Absolutely. Except, we’re not done…

          Google indexes and displays Reddit posts and discussions in its organic search results, so in addition to the high-quality traffic you’ve already attracted within your selected subreddits, you now have the opportunity to capitalize on additional high-quality organic traffic (SEO) coming to those same subreddits via Google search.

          That new traffic (that you did not pay for!) is now entering a subreddit with significant relevance to their search interests, where they will encounter your search ad (SEM).

          • Reddit search ads cost less than Google search.
          • Reddit search ads generate awareness with niche, ready-to-buy prospects.
          • Reddit search ads net you Google SEO traffic without the added costs.
          • Need we say more? Very few brands realize what a gold mine Reddit currently is.
          The Double Up Reddit Effect

          What industries or company types are best suited for advertising on Reddit?

          The more niche your product category, the more strongly we’d encourage you to explore Reddit. If any of the descriptions below apply to you, our recommendation would get even stronger:

          • Specialty eCommerce retailers
          • Tech brands who rely on early adopters and influencers within tech-savvy audiences
          • B2B businesses capitalizing on unique products and/or premium technical expertise.

          So should you advertise on Reddit? Whether you’re a small to medium sized business or a global enterprise, if you’re looking for cost-effective and high-impact advertising solutions, Reddit is where you should be.

          But CAN you advertise on Reddit? Certain business categories are restricted from creating Reddit ads, including:

          • Alcohol
          • Recreational Drugs
          • Third-Party Rights
          • Gambling and Gambling Related Services 
          • Political Advertisements
          • Unofficial Resale of Event Tickets 
          • Live Animals
          • Dating Services 
          • *Some Financial/Cryptocurrency Products and Services
          • *Some Health and Wellness

          How to advertise on Reddit

          “It depends” might be an annoying phrase to hear after asking someone for advice on advertising on Reddit, but it’s a reasonable response.

          Developing a highly effective Reddit paid search strategy requires careful analysis of a variety of unique factors, including:

          • Product/service category
          • Performance goals
          • Available budget
          • Current team’s skills and capacity
          • Current market conditions

          However, inside those particulars, here are the Reddit best practices all growth marketers should be following:

          Reddit Ads Do’s

          1. Research your audience

          • Most brands are operating with a flawed or incomplete picture of their target audience. It’s critical to re-examine your assumptions and the latest data to thoroughly understand your audience and what drives them.
            • But even when you are fully tapped into your target audience, that’s not enough. Marketers must understand how their target audience behaves and responds within the specific context of the Reddit platform. The same person engages differently on different platforms. Brands need to hire or partner with marketers who are Reddit power users to understand the nuances that apply singularly to this platform.

            2. Engagement is non-negotiable

              In the most successful Reddit campaigns, brands don’t just publish their ad and then vanish. 

              It’s important to participate in relevant subreddits. Credibility in Reddit depends on how you show up, engage, and nurture genuine connections.

              Brands that are used to speaking very little (or not at all) on social media platforms are going to find it harder and harder to succeed. 

              3. Speaking of speaking… Talk the way your audience talks.

                When appropriate, incorporate trending acronyms, abbreviations, and the most current Reddit-specific jargon and symbols.

                For example, Reddit employs tags or labels called ‘flairs’ that provide additional context to help categorize content. Options include:

                • User flairs
                • Post flairs
                • Community-specific flairs

                You can stay true to your brand voice AND align with how your audience prefers to communicate when engaging on Reddit. 

                4. Authenticity is not a buzzword

                  Maybe more than most social media platforms, Reddit has a highly sensitive ‘Inauthenticity Meter.’ This is a community that smells poor intentions a mile away.

                  Take your time to thoughtfully craft an ad that feels sincere and transparent. If not, you’ll face stony silence or worse, intense backlash and negative PR implications that will hurt your brand’s credibility.

                  5. Use native content

                    The goal is to produce ads that blend seamlessly with organic posts, so that users have a cohesive experience and transfer the trust they generally feel toward regular feed posts to your ad. 

                    Yes, make your ad compelling and distinctive – but not at the expense of the natural flow of the subreddit.

                    6. Test and iterate endlessly

                    Encountering a big win (or flop) on your initial campaign is step one of a neverending performance experiment.

                    Test different ad formats and content types. Review each round of data and consistently refine your approach. (This is our most essential growth marketing philosophy, and it applies equally to advertising on Reddit.)

                    7. Develop a plan for managing comments

                      Back in the olden days, most brands thought engaging with public comments was beneath them and unnecessary. Ancient history.

                      Make sure you have resources in place to regularly review and respond to comments on your ads. This is a rich opportunity to engage with interested users and reinforce a positive brand image.

                      Reddit Ads Don’ts

                      1. DON’T ignore Reddit community rules

                        This one might seem obvious, but we’ve seen multiple campaigns get penalized for violating Reddit guidelines.

                        The team developing your Reddit ads should know the Reddit community rules like the back of their hand, to ensure your ads are never suppressed or damage your reputation. 

                        2. DON’T be overly salesy 

                          As we’ve mentioned before, Reddit is known to attract users who place a high value on authenticity and transparency. Coming in with a hard sell is not going to work here.

                          Overly promotional ads are not a long-term success formula on this platform. 

                          3. DON’T neglect targeting

                            Most brands believe their audience is far more broad than it actually is, which is why some marketers resist implementing parameters that reduce their viable target market. Big mistake.

                            Precise audience targeting supports much higher ROI, because you’re deploying your marketing dollars more deliberately.

                            In the absence of strategic targeting, brands run the risk of reaching the wrong audience, wasted ad spend and low/no engagement.

                            4. DON’T insulate yourself from valuable user feedback

                              Too many marketing teams are set up to talk at prospects, but not to listen to them.

                              User comments (yes, even the criticisms) can provide valuable insights – don’t overlook them. At best, doing so represents a missed opportunity to optimize the customer journey. At worst, this can diminish your credibility and deteriorate trust.

                              5. DON’T post and walk away

                                Posting your ad is not the end of the process – that’s just the beginning. 

                                • Continually monitor your Reddit ads
                                • Continually monitor and respond to brand comments and relevant discussions about your product/category.

                                We’ve said this before but it bears repeating: The willingness to interact with customers is essential for success today.

                                6. DON’T fall into the clickbait trap

                                  Misleading or sensational headlines might seem alluring. Surely, someone’s going to be intrigued and click on that, right? Sounds like a marketing jackpot!

                                  Except… Clickbait generally winds up frustrating users and damaging your reputation. 

                                  And on the Reddit platform, where trustworthiness is a gong that rings 12 times a day, clickbait will almost certainly land you in a hole it could take months or even years to dig yourself out of. 

                                  The Cliff’s Notes on Advertising on Reddit

                                  • Mainstream advertising channels like Google and Meta have become overcrowded and increasingly cost-prohibitive. Marketers must be resourceful to find alternative ways to access high-quality traffic.
                                  • The large size of the Reddit community and the devotion its members typically feel toward it, presents a significant opportunity for targeting niche, ready-to-buy prospects.
                                  • Reddit search ads cost significantly less than Google search, while offering a comparable range of ad types, customization, and targeting solutions.
                                  • Reddit search ads often appear in Google organic search results, which allows marketers to purchase an ad on Reddit and gain the SEO opportunity for an additional wave of traffic from Google without having to pay Google directly.
                                  • Success on Reddit requires keen awareness of community rules and behavioral expectations, along with a willingness to engage with users and model transparency.