Recently I decided to throw a few dollars into Reddit Ads self serve advertising. In some
aspects my campaign out performed any and all expectations, on other aspects it fell flat
on its face. What follows are the details of my campaign so that you can learn from my
experiences without spending the money.
What are Reddit Ads?
Reddit Ads are self serve advertisements that run on Reddit. You can see an example
of them right now by navigating to Reddit and taking a
peek at the top most story. It's colored a little bit different, has a black border,
and probably says something along the lines of "promoted by someuser." Reddit ads
look a lot like any other story on Reddit. They have a 70x70 pixel image you can choose
to go with it, a catchy title, and some meta data about comments and who promoted the
The cost of Reddit advertisements is a little different than bidding on a keyword in
adwords. You purchase Reddit ads by bidding on page impressions, you then receive a
percentage of page views in relation to your percentage of the total pool of money.
When I ran my ad there were 90 somewhat competing advertisers, to my knowledge Reddit
only discloses the number of advertisers and not the percentage amount they're bidding.
Appsumo has been a consistent high bidder in the time
frame I ran my ad, as well as lots of promoted Amazon Affiliate products by another user.
One nice feature of Reddit Ads are the analytics. Reddit provides the analytics of the
most recents ads and traffic, the average CPM (Cost Per Mille) and CPC (Cost Per Click)
as well as the number of advertisers both in the recent past and near future. This lets
you plan your Reddit advertising campaign around both traffic and bidding competition.
If you're advertising a product that only applies to a particular niche, you can
focus your advertisements to a single subreddit. Unfortunately you can only pick one
subreddit, and the language is not clear about how the bidding system works for advertisers
displaying on Reddit vs a single subreddit.
It's worth it to point out that the official subreddit is not r/ads or r/advertisements,
you'll actually find the official subreddit at r/selfserve.
Qualifications for Reddit Ads
The rules for Reddit Ads are pretty straight forward. It consists of the standard fare of
not being mischevious. This includes no redirects, so if you wanted to use something like
a hoplink from clickbank or wanted to cloak a CPA offer you're going to be out of luck,
you'll need to do what I did: build an amazing landing page that all but guarantees a 90%
There are also minimum length and minimum bid commitments for Reddit Ads, but they're
surpringly low. You can run, at minimum, a 3 day campaign for just $60. The default
bid and date range is 3 days and $33.33 per day. This is a really low barrier of entry
for a website that gets hundreds of thousands of quality vistors each and every day.
Patrick's Brilliant Idea
I am a master of brilliant ideas. If you ever need to get rich quick just ask me what my
current ideas are. I was reading an article on engaging your audience when a lightning
bolt blasted through my mind. I would engage Redditors using everything I know they
- Rage Comics
- Rage Comics about Cats
I'm still revelling over how brilliant of an idea it was: sell cat products to
Redditors using rage comics! I took a stroll over to cbengine.com (a search engine
for clickbank products) and did a search for products that might be relevent. Success!
I found an ebook that has schematics to build your own cat castle. Double win, Redditors
love to build things.
I carefully constructed a landing page and ad that was centric on both cats and
rage comics. I used campy but somewhat witty language. It was marketing gold. GOLD!
I even recycled a "Y U NO" cat I colored for a previously successful rage
comic. I could not lose. I could almost smell the new Yacht smell from my millions of
cat castle dollars.
Reddit Ads Performance
My ad, as expected, performed extremely well, mostly so at the beginning. You can see
from the included graphs that not only do clicks correlate exactly with impressions,
the impressions slowly waned through out the campaign. Unfortunately you have no
control over other advertisers or total Reddit traffic, you can only estimate, plan,
CPM 58,587 Unique Impressions (106,035 total). This is an amazing
deal for impressions based advertising. Keeping in mind I only paid $100 for the
I only paid less than 2 cents for a thousand UNIQUE
impressions and less than a penny CPM over all!
Correction Feb. 23, 2012
As user Colin pointed out in the comments below, my calculations were off by two decimal points.
The correct CPM for total impressions is actually 94 cents. Thanks Colin!
CPC My clicks (and CTR) were equally impressive.
1,150 unique clicks, and only a small handful of them were me checking my own link.
If you do the math you come up with an amazing 8.7 cents per click. It's like advertising
using 1990s money all over again. My CTR was impressive at
almost 2%. That means redditors are not "advertisement blind", and
do in fact look at the sponsored area. I'd wager this ad campaign got a better click
through rate than some of my finest rage comics.
Of course that's well and dandy, but do Redditors convert? I'm basing my conversion
on Redditors who actually clicked the link on my landing page to go to the product's
web site. After all, it was only my job to presell. I got a fantastic 37% CTR funnelling
Redditors to the product page. The potential for conversion is there, especially
if you're marketing a CPA(Cost Per Action) product.
No, I did not make all my money back, and my dreams of getting rich off of the cat
product industry quickly fizzled into reality. I did however get a great feel for
how Reddit Self Serve Advertisements work.
I successfully engaged my audience by using a topic and visual cues that Redditors
naturally relate to. By using rage comics as my campaign's branding I was able to
get a lot of eyes to my web page for relatively little cost. One person clicked a
google adsense ad, so add another 15 cents onto my profit.
Reviewing my strategy there were a few mistakes that I would have liked to see
before I put my money down. Namely, rage comics don't exactly scream monetary
conversion. Most people looking at rage comics are just looking for a quick laugh
at poorly drawn characters, they're really not looking to drop money. The second big
mistake was the product. No one needs schematics to build a cat castle. Redditors
are a resourceful bunch, and I can pretty much guarantee any one of them that wants
to build a cat castle would have more fun figuring it out on their own for free. Cat
castle schematics are not a product people need by any measure, and my sales conversion
rates reflected that.
So are Reddit ads worth it? Absolutely. Not just as a case study either. Reddit ads
are very strong for building brand identity. It's no wonder Appsumo
spends so much money advertising on Reddit. Dirt cheap impressions, and high click
through rates that are building them an email list chisled in gold. When I figure out
a product that makes even more sense for Reddit you better believe I'll be back. Then
I'll be rich for sure.
Have you advertised on Reddit, liked my article, or just think I'm an idiot? I love
getting comments! If you liked this article please like and share!