Even though I’m a fairly heavy user of Bing and Facebook ads I have never used Reddit ads, but a post by Glen at Viperchill really spoke to me and I decided to dive deep into what makes Reddit tick and how I can make my and your ads more successful.
For my first experiment I decided to promote a new Etsy shop of one of my customers. (I will spend $5 on the first ad, and later on tweak it as I want to find a combination that really works. I was fortunate enough to start my campaign before July 8th when the minimum was $5 per campaign. Starting on July 8th, 2015 the minimum budget per campaign is $20.)
The client’s goal is to get at least one sale so that’s what I will be working towards.
Table of Contents
- 1 A Quick Explanation Of The Format
- 2 Understanding The Audience
- 3 Subreddit Research
- 4 Ad Planning And Creation
- 5 Customer Interaction
- 6 Ending The Campaign And Continuously Experimenting
- 7 The End Results
A Quick Explanation Of The Format
I’m a very analytical person so I decided to read as many blog posts about Reddit ads as I could find and I developed a step-by-step plan of attack for myself.
I wrote it out on here so you can use it, but since this is my first ad campaign I’m not sure how effective it will be.
I just went off from what I know about Reddit from using it for a year and from what I learned from other people’s blog posts.
As I create more and more ad campaigns, I will refine my “directions” to make it easier for others to follow and hopefully become successful.
Understanding The Audience
Before running any ad campaign it’s important to figure out who you’re targeting.
Would you run Facebook ads without knowing who you’re advertising to?
Understanding your audience on Reddit is even more important than Facebook because you cannot edit live Reddit ad campaigns so I spent quite a lot of time on this.
- Go to Reddit and perform a couple of searches for what you’re selling making sure to note down which Subreddits the results come from. (Consider the relevancy of your product to the Subreddit.)
- Some of the Subreddits you visited might have a Related Subreddits section in the side bar on the right. Open some of them up and write them down in your document.
- Visit each Subreddit and write down how many subscribers it has and how many people are there right now. (This can be done in an excel document)
- You should also look at the ration between the number of people currently there and the total number of subs. We’ll dive into this deeper when doing more detailed traffic research, but for now just keep an eye out for this.
- Go through your list and in another column write down how relevant you think your product would be to the people in each Subreddit, and how closely you are targeting people who might actually buy your product. (As an example, if you’re advertising basketball gear, the /r/sports Sub might be relevant, but you will probably have a higher click-through rate in Subs like /r/Basketball or /r/BasketballTips.)
- While you’re going through the Subreddits you should also write down what sort of content is in the “Hot” section right now. Is it images, videos, links, or text?
Before I did anything, I created a completely new account (Reddit allows unlimited accounts) just so people don’t look at my past posts and get confused about my ads.
I am advertising a shop that sells hand-painted silk scarves so this is what I did:
1. A search for “handpainted silk scarves” yielded no results, so I decided to simply search for “silk scarves.”
That’s not a bad amount of content so start with. The Sub that stood out to me the most was /r/FemaleFashionAdvice as I could right away see how people in it could be interested in the product, /r/Scarf looked like a possible contender, but it was just a spammy self-promotional Sub.
None of the other ones seemed like they would fit the shop.
However, I noticed the Subreddit called /r/frugalmalefashion so that made me wonder if there was a Sub called /r/frugalfemalefashion as that could be a possible choice. (At this point I wrote down and checked out everything just in case there was something interesting I missed.)
2. Next I looked at the related Subs in the sidebar and noticed that /r/FrugalFemaleFashion and /r/FemaleFashion could both be fairly good candidates.
I also looked up if there was a Subreddit called /r/Fashion (which there was) as it would make sense that a one word term would have its own Subreddit and I looked at their list of related Subs.
I wrote down the subs r/Embellish and r/FindFashion. I looked at r/Modeling but their community seemed to small to be worth it.
3. I did this while looking at the Subs so this is what my document looked like after this step:
At this point I realized that I will also need to look at the ration of users here “now” to the number of subscribers because there’s no point in showing the same advertising to 10 people 500 times. It’s better to show it to 5000 people once.
4/5. I looked at all of the Subs and realized that /r/FindFashion wouldn’t work too well because the people in it are searching for a very specific item so they’re probably not in a shopping mindset.
This is what my document looked like after the research:
The Final Verdict For Audience Research
It seems like /r/FemaleFashionAdvice is my best option out of all of them. It has a high number of subscribers, a lot of people visit it throughout the day, and the product that I will be promoting is relevant to the Sub!
/r/FindFashion probably would not be interested in my products as they’re looking for very specific items.
/r/Embellish has too few readers that visit the sub.
Most posts in /r/Fashion are image/video “Oh look at this, it’s cool posts,” but they don’t look interested in buying anything.
Reddit is a very diverse community and each Subreddit has different members and mindsets, so I think researching the Sub that you’re planning on advertising could be an important part of the whole process.
Here you should dive in deeper into the people who inhabit the sub, the content that they like or don’t like, and the rules of the Sub.
- Go to the Advertising section of Reddit, and click on Create an ad. Confirm your account and then “create an ad” with random info. At this point we just want to check if the Subreddit we chose actually has advertising space available in the near future.
- Click on targeting and type the Subreddit name in the box.
- Put in your total budget and look at whether they say that “the campaign you requested is available.” If it isn’t, play around with the ending times of your campaign to see when the ad space is actually available.
- If there is no ad space available for the future insert your time limit here, go back to step one and try to find a different Subreddit or convince your client that he will have to wait for the ads to run.
- Read through the Sidebar of the Sub. Look at all of the information they have in it and decide how relaxed/uptight they are about advertising. Look at some of the guides/how to’s or anything else they have that would tell you what kind of Subreddit you’re looking at.
- If they have a posting schedule look at it to see what topic they talk about weekly.
- Click on Top in the top part of the window to sort the submissions and then click on Links from: all time to find out what the most popular posts on the Subreddit look like.
- Look at whether they are image or text posts.
- Look at how the titles are structured. (Usually on Reddit the titles will be conversational sentences instead of titles That Have Every Word Capitalized Like This. There are exceptions of course, but this is something you should look at.)
- Look at what the topics of each post are.
- Check out what ads are currently running in the Sub by clicking on the Promoted tab at the top of the screen. You can try contacting advertisers to see what their average CTR is like if you’re feeling adventurous.
- Optional: You can analyze the Subreddit traffic on this website to see when the top posts for the past month have been posted. (This could be useful for deciding when to run your ads. Maybe you don’t want them to run on weekends, or maybe you want them to only run on weekends.
1. The r/FemaleFashionAdvice Sub had ads available every day so this part was easy.
2. I looked through the sidebar and read through their FAQ and found the demographics of the Sub. They’re self-reported so they’re not perfect, but still better than nothing!
I also noticed that this sub is very uptight about anything that even closely resembles spam. (Anything with affiliate links or that doesn’t bring value to the end user)
3. I read through their weekly topics but didn’t find any useful information to use.
4. Most of the Top posts have conversational titles.
There are a couple ones that Use Titles Like This, but a majority of the posts is just regular sentences.
This is actually the top post in the sub which shows what type of humor they enjoy.
There are more text posts than images although the numbers are fairly close.
5. I actually added step 5 to the plan after I already went through the whole process of researching the Sub.
6. It looks like a majority of the top posts were posted on Wednesdays and most of them were posted at around 1:00 pm (13:00 for non-Americans).
It looks like having some sort of discount specifically for this ad campaign could be beneficial, but I would have to talk to my customer as I’m not sure if that’s a feasible option.
It looks like they like humor, but I’m not quite sure what I could do to use that. I’ll keep it in the back of my mind during the next stage however.
Ad Planning And Creation
This is the fun part!
Now we get to plan out everything about the ad including the ad type (link vs text), Title, image, possible discounts, and more.
Before we start, I recommend reading through Reddit’s official guide on creating ads.
- Decide which ad type you will use. (Text or link) Links are better at driving traffic, while text ads are better at getting people to talk about your brand.
- Pick the image for your ad. Yes, you do have to use an image as it will increase your conversions. Ryan Luedecke says that it’s good to a selfie as the image, but depending on your product you could use a product image. Be creative!
- You also have to decide on your title. The longer your title is the better as it will take up more space on the top of the page and increase the likelyhood of getting a click. Use the information you got while researching your target Subreddit to figure out What Type Of Format You should use, how you should word it, and what you should talk about.
- Pick where you went to send your customers to. Do you have a “sales funnel” page (I haven’t tried these yet, but I doubt they work on most Reddit users) or are you going to simply send them to your store? This is important!
- Depending on the Subreddit having a discount specifically for Reddit could improve the click-through rate and the number of sales you get.
1. Since my goal is driving traffic and sales I will be using a link ad.
2. I will be using an image of one of the scarves that my client makes.
I zoomed out on the main store page as much as I could and tried to figure out which images looked the best.
You can see what it looked like on the right.
I’m a fan of the color blue for my images as it seems that for my Facebook ad campaigns the blue items seemed to get a higher CTR so I will be using one of the blue images.
The 3 images below were the ones I was trying to decide between.
I eventually settled on the blue scarf with yellow flowers as I felt that the flowers would grab the viewers attention better and fit the current season better. (Summer)
3. The title has a max character limit of 300 and I wanted to use as many of those available characters as possible while still being engaging.
I decided to use a conversational title as they were more popular in this Sub.
After a little bit of thinking here is what I came up with: “Hey there Reddit! Are you looking for a completely unique accessory to spice up your summer wardrobe? My handpainted silk scarves might be the perfect item for you! I make them in a smoke-free, pet-free environment, and some of the scarves have cats on them. I heard Reddit likes cats, right? =)” (295 characters)
For some reason however, Reddit gave me an error that said this is too long, so I changed it to this: “Hey there Reddit! Are you looking for a completely unique accessory to spice up your summer wardrobe? My handpainted silk scarves might be the perfect item for you! Some of the scarves have cats on them and I heard Reddit likes cats, right? =)” (244 characters)
I decided that writing in first person might yield a better result as it’s easier to connect with the audience.
I wanted to mention some product “features” (made in a smoke-free, pet-free environment), but curiously enough Reddit didn’t let my title be 2 characters under the limit.
4. I decided to send the visitors to the main page of the shop as there are plenty of scarves to choose from and I didn’t want to limit their selection only to the scarf displayed on the featured image.
5. I talked to my client and we decided that a discount isn’t necessary as the highest she could go was 5%.
This is what the listing looked like:
It actually looks a bit bigger than I thought it would, but we’ll see how that affects my CTR.
Experimenting And Improving Your Ads
Similar to other advertising platforms, the best thing you can do is try to test out a couple of different things at once to figure out what works best.
This was easier to do when the minimum price per campaign was $5, and testing multiple things when you have to pay a minimum of $20 for every ad can get expensive, but if you’re planning on running a fairly large ad campaign ($500+) then testing different titles, images, and landing pages to figure out the best CTR could be a valuable investment.
The average CTR for ads on Reddit is .2% according to this page, so my goal is to be at .2% or higher CTR at the end of this campaign.
Depending on your campaign you might get comments on your ad with people asking questions about the ad, product, or giving you insights about how you can improve it.
The best advice I can give is: be honest, polite, but conversational. As a Reddit user I don’t like when people try to trick me or try to sound smarter than me and I’m sure a majority of the users would agree.
I recommend reading through the following 2 posts on Reddit Ads to understand what you should do better.
I actually did not receive any comments on the first campaign, so I can’t give an example.
Ending The Campaign And Continuously Experimenting
Here is what my campaign looked like after it ended:
As you can see my CTR was above .2% at .313% but I’m still not very happy with it.
I feel that I could’ve improved my ad somehow and gotten to a higher click rate.
However since none of those visitors converted into a sale I’m going to spend another $5 on a slightly modified version of the ad and compare the two.
I found it interesting that Reddit overdelivers the ad impressions and that my CPM was actually not $1, but $.92 because Reddit gave me an extra 434 impressions.
The New Ad
This time I decided to try something completely different and instead of sending users to the store page I decided to send them to a specific scarf page.
I also decided to run 2 ads at the same time.
The first one is a cheaper blue scarf and the second one is a more expensive product with cats on it.
As you can see, the images are different and I also changed up the title a bit.
Both of the links lead to the actual scarf page instead of the whole store.
I’m experimenting as much as I can right now as I want to learn as much as possible before the minimum cost per campaign is $20.
The End Results
Here were the results for the second pair of ads:
The advertisement with the cats yielded a much higher CTR and a much lower cpc which was the goal.
However the 55 visits yielded no sales and my client told me that the store already started getting some traffic outside of Reddit so I had to cut the experiment short.
I think the “I welcome all feedback line” on the blue advertisement was unnecessary, and the image was also not the best choice as the colors were too dull.
Either way I consider this campaign a success as I learned a ton from it and I gained a fairly solid base of knowledge about advertising on Reddit.