Reddit Advertising

March 10, 2017

Google Using Reddit Ads for Pixel Phone

Google has started using Reddit Ads to promote their new smartphone, Pixel. And it would appear they are running more than one ad to experiment with ad copy and the Reddit Ads platform.

reddit google logo

The First Ad


We don’t have a lot of data to understand how well the Pixel ad running on the front page is doing, but we started tracking it about 2 weeks ago when it had just over 400 upvotes and it now has almost 500 upvotes. Using this we’ve backed up and estimated the ad has run for about 2 to 3 months, or roughly 2 months after the official release date for the Pixel phone on October 20th, 2016.

The ad itself is rather simple and straight forward featuring the new Google icon multicolored G logo many Android and iPhone owners are familiar with. The copy also features a review score from a well known rater of video / camera quality, DxO, stating that Google’s Pixel has the highest ever DxOMark for a mobile device, something the DxO website corroborates.

The ad copy finishes with a display URL typed out, google.com/phone, which when typed in redirects users to: http://madeby.google.com/phone – the homepage for the Pixel phone. This decision is a little perplexing as the url provides no tracking or additional analytics data.

The full ad copy reads: “Meet Pixel, Phone by Google. With a best-ever 89 DxOMark Mobile Score, Pixel’s camera lets you take brilliant photos in low light, bright light or any light. Learn more at google.com/phone”

google's pixel phone reddit ad increased in upvotes

The Other Ads


While refreshing the front page and subreddit’s looking for the Google ad again after a few weeks I noticed what looked like the same ad but with different ad copy on the homepage and across subreddit’s. For example the original ad mentioned the quality of Pixel’s camera but that ad wasn’t the only one showing on subreddit’s like /r/videos that might be more inclined to care about camera quality.

Here are the other two ads I saw running

The Second Ad

This ad’s copy reads: “Meet Pixel, Phone by Google. The Pixel combines hardware and software made by Google, including all of your favorite Google apps, to bring you a fast, seamless, and easy-to-use experience. Learn more at madeby.google.com/phone”

This ad links to this urL: https://madeby.google.com/phone/?utm_source=ads-en-offnet-na-reddit&utm_campaign=pixel&utm_medium=paidsocial-both&utm_term=new-br-pid_143350886-cid_%25ecid!-aid_311020718&utm_content=new-br-pid_143350886-cid_67940415-aid_311020718

google pixel reddit ad

The Third Ad

A yet third version of the ad reads: “Meet Pixel, the first phone with the Google Assistant built-in. Ask it anything. Learn more at google.com/phone.”

This ad links to this url: https://madeby.google.com/phone/?utm_source=ads-en-offnet-na-reddit&utm_campaign=pixel&utm_medium=paidsocial-both&utm_term=new-br-pid_143350899-cid_%25ecid!-aid_311020718&utm_content=new-br-pid_143350899-cid_67940415-aid_311020718

reddit ad for android smartphone

The Landing Page

Google didn’t build out a new landing page for this ad campaign. All three of the ads use UTM parameters to track the success of the ads, but the landing page is the organic landing page anyone would navigate to using Google search.

pixel by google reddit ads landing page

Quick Stats

  • Upvotes: 450-499
  • Length of run: Approximately 2 – 3 months
  • Comments turned on: No
  • Giving away gold: No
  • URL in ad copy: Yes
  • Using custom landing page: No
  • Using UTM parameters: Yes
  • Using brand logo as thumbnail: Yes
  • How many different ads: 3
  • If different ads is subreddit targeting detected: No
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March 09, 2017

Can I Require An Email To See the Landing Page in my Reddit Ad?

Question: Can I Require An Email To See the Landing Page in my Reddit Ad?

This question was posted to the Reddit Self-Serve Ads subreddit by Reddit Ads user askgeorgealonso after their ad was rejected.

Reddit Ads Policy Article IV, Section 19 seems to prohibt this type of behavior for an advertiser’s landing page. Reddit Ads support team member MyNameIzKhan told Askgeorgealonso that his landing page couldn’t require the email be filled out in order to see the content of a landing page.

My guess is that even with an (X) being added to the modal popup Reddit Ads would still reject the advertisement because it impedes how a user interacts with the content on a page.

The relevant article in the Reddit Ads Policy reads:

“For example, landing pages may not be designed primarily to serve advertisements or contain features that inhibit a user’s ability to interact with or leave the page.”

As I pointed out to MyNameIzKhan that doesn’t quite fit the modal lock on a page requesting an email to see the content since it doesn’t inhibit the ability to interact with the page very much or if an (X) to close the modal was added would allow full interaction. I’ve been told this section should be updated soon to better clarify what is and is not allowed on landing pages.

email modal with no ability to exit

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January 05, 2017

What Reddit Means by End Date is not what you think

When setting up your Reddit Advertising campaign you’ll need to select an end date. In many advertising platforms ‘end date’ typically means the last day your ad will run. However, with Reddit’s advertising platform this means that no ads will run on this day, so your last day for the ad to run will be the day before the ‘end date’ you set.

This was brought up by Reddit user /u/auvik_shaun and is a good thing to keep note of when planning out your campaign. Read about it here.

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October 31, 2016

How to Opt Out of Reddit’s Personalized Ads

If you want to Opt-Out of the new Interest based targeting or Personalized advertising on Reddit, they’ve made the process very simple.

  1. Simply visit this url: https://www.reddit.com/adsprefs
  2. Uncheck the box marked “Show me personalized ads from Reddit on this browser”
  3. Then click “Save Options”

The opt-out option is cookie based so it works on a per browser basis. If you opt-out on Chrome while logged in and you log out then continue to browse Reddit your preferences to not be targeted with personalized ads should stay.

This also means that if you clear cookies or use a different browser you’ll have to reset your preferences. Because the system uses cookies if you want to have one account that you opt-out of advertising for and another that you leave opted in and you login to both using the same browser then you’ll notice the last action in the browser is what counts.

User could alleviate this by using one browser to opt-in to the targeting and one to opt out of the targeting.

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October 31, 2016

Reddit Launches Interest Targeting for Ads

On Thursday Reddit announced “Interest Targeting“. This is a new update to the advertising platform that goes beyond “Collections”. Interests are groups based on what subreddits users visit most often. For example if you visit /r/NoMansSky and /r/Gaming you might be considered as part of the Gaming Interest Group and if you visit /r/Enrepreneur and /r/BigSEO you might be considered as part of the Business Interest Group.

Users can opt-out of the new targeting in their user panel. It should be noted that this new targeting is cooked based but only includes Reddit data, so no re-targeting (yet). The Opt-Out options work on a per browser basis and are set for both logged in and logged out users, these are cookie based so users must reset them if they logout and clear cookies.

For now interest groups are only based on the type of content an account visits frequently based on the sub-reddits they visit. That means being able to target things like gender and sexual preference are not possible with this ad type.

One other interesting distinction with this advertising unit is that Reddit will not link various accounts owned by the same person. CEO Steve Huffman himself stated that Reddit wants users to be able to openly express themselves on Reddit and keep different parts of their lives separate on their own will. This runs in stark contrast to Google and Facebook the former of which has spent the last  5 or 6 years trying to combine information across Google accounts about one user.

Interest Groups are only available on desktop for now, it’s very possible that Reddit could release this on mobile soon, but for now they are not.

Here are all of the current Interest Groups

  • Art & Design – art lovers, creators, and designers
  • Books & Writing – aspiring authors, bookworms, and writers
  • Business – business savvy users, from startups to corporations
  • Comics & Hobbies – comic readers, cosplayers, and conventions goers
  • DIY / Crafts – ‘Do it yourself’ and crafty users
  • Entertainment – moviegoers, TV show enthusiasts, and music lovers
  • Fashion & Style – users interested in the latest fashion trends Food & Drink – foodies, chefs, and home cooks
  • Gaming – PC, console, and mobile gamers
  • Health & Fitness – fitness experts and newcomers
  • Home Decor – homeowners and decorators
  • Humor – users who love to laugh
  • Life Advice – users looking to improve themselves and others
  • Music – music makers, concert goers, and all things musical
  • Personal Finance – users learning to invest, save money, and reduce debt
  • Photography – professional and amateur photographers
  • Programming – developers, engineers, and aspiring programmers
  • Relationships – users keen on discussing their relationships
  • Science – users interested in all things science related
  • Shopping – shoppers, savers, and bargain hunters
  • Sports – users who are up to date in the sports world
  • Technology – Reddit’s tech savvy enthusiasts
  • Travel – travelers, bloggers, and nomads
  • Vehicles – automotive enthusiasts

This is what the new targeting looks like inside of the Reddit Ads Editor

reddit-ads-interest-targeting-screenshot

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October 01, 2016

Are Dirty Jokes Allowed in the Headline of a Reddit Ad?

A user wanted to know if they could use dirty jokes or a symbol for the male genitalia made out of ASCII characters as the headline for a Reddit Ad. Reddit Ads staffer /u/MyNameIzKhan was polite in asking the advertiser to keep their ads tasteful, but the reality is that doing such a thing is a violation of Reddit Ads Policy.
The policy stats under Article II, section 6 ‘Obscene, Offensive, or Inappropriate Content’:

Advertisers may not use the Platform to disseminate obscene, offensive, or inappropriate content. Such prohibited content includes content that depicts intolerant or overly contentious political or cultural topics or views, that uses vulgar or sexually explicit words or images, that is designed to evoke visceral reactions, or that is improperly targeted toward minors.

While jokes are clearly fine for Reddit Advertisements or the headlines, writing an ad that incorporates the male genitalia or dirty jokes is prohibited.

Read about this on the Reddit Advertising subreddit here.

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September 26, 2016

The Mystery of the Missing Reddit Ads

Reddit Ads manager shows all of your ads on one page at www.reddit.com/promoted/ when you’re logged in. User ‘flt001’ was having trouble seeing his/her ads on that page. Turns out they were using an adblocker. Note when you setup your ads on Reddit you should turn off your adblocker to test and make sure everything is working fine.

You can read more in this thread on the Reddit Ads subreddit.

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September 15, 2016

Targeting a City or Region not Listed in the Geo-Targeting Selector

With Reddit Ads you can target a lot of different cities and regions, but you can’t always target what you want to. For example if your a service business in Orange County California you’ll quickly discover that you can’t target Orange County in the geo-targeting options. To target your ad correctly instead look for a sub-reddit that matches your target and select a geographic target that fits as well. In this example you could try geo-targeting California and targeting only users of the /r/orangecountry sub-reddit. Or you could try the sub-reddit’s of Anaheim, Irvine, and other cities located in Orange County.

Reddit Ads staffer MyNameIzKhan also recommended that advertisers could target a nearby area with the geo-targeting option, which in this case would be the city Los Angeles. Read this thread on the Reddit Advertising sub-reddit here.

Another plan would be to setup several different ad variations with different geographic / sub-reddit targeting options to see which one(s) work the best for you.

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August 24, 2016

Reddit Changes Ecommerce Advertising Rules

reddit no free ads

Reddit recently announced changes to their Reddit Advertising policies for ecommerce websites. They are no longer going to allow advertisers to use “misleading” ads or ads where delivery times vary a lot. In fact they’ve added 4 rules to their ecommerce advertising that take effect effective immediately, they are:

  • No ‘free’ products or misleading pricing
  • The cost of the item cannot be rolled into the cost of shipping
  • Estimated shipping time must be 30 days or less
  • Estimated shipping time must be clearly indicated at checkout

This means advertisers will not be able to sell products they claim are free but come with a hefty shipping cost, sell a product but wait a long time to ship it, or not provide estimated shipping dates in a clear fashion before the user makes a purchase.

Reddit Advertising staff said about the changes:

Our goal with these changes is to ensure a quality ad experience for our users by promoting transparency. Furthermore, we want to protect advertisers from aggressive or distasteful comments and private messages that revolve around these ads. – MyNameIzKhan

This update appears to impact only “Free Products” that are tangible and not intangible items (i.e. digital downloads) or free services (i.e. free sketches). We’ve asked about things like 30-day trails, free services, free digital downloads, and charging a few cents for a product with shipping to see if those are still acceptable.

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August 22, 2016

A/B Testing and Reddit Ads

reddit ads ab testing

Recently Reddit advertiser IdoQL asked how they would be able to A/B test Reddit ads. It came as no surprise that Reddit doesn’t currently have a built in A/B testing platform for their advertisers as the site only recently appears to have taken selfserve advertising seriously.

Reddit staffer MyNameIzKhan replied that setting up your own A/B test experiment was possible, but unofficially. When an advertiser builds two ads with different creative but identical settings (spend, dates, and targeting) the Reddit Advertising platform will distribute their impressions as evenly as possible resulting in an almost A/B testing like environment.

We do not yet have true A/B testing. To test two different ads on the same subreddit you will need to set identical campaign parameters.

Our system will attempt to rotate these ads evenly throughout your campaigns length. – MyNameIzKhan, Reddit Advertising Staff

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