Reddit Advertising

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.

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

August 18, 2016

Gambling Ads Must Be in Gambling Subreddits Only

Reddit ads allows for gambling related ads to be posted, however, it would seem they require that the ad be targeted only to gambling subreddits. This was unveiled when Reddit advertiser Mzeemaneno tried to post a gambling related ad and was told to make sure they are in only specific subreddits.

This is not something that the Reddit Advertising Policy states. In section 11 the policy covers Gambling:

11. Gambling and Gambling-Related Services

Advertisements for gambling and gambling-related services must:

(i) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and licensing requirements, which may include those applicable to the location of your business, those applicable to the location of your target audience, and those related to responsible gambling;

(ii) comply with industry standards, as may be reflected in the American Gaming Association’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming; and

(iii) ensure minors are not the target of such advertisements.

This appears to be either some new requirement or it could be something the Reddit user themselves decided to do to avoid additional scrutiny.

August 01, 2016

Promoted Posts May Only Be For Big Brands

Reddit’s new advertising format, Promoted Posts, is launching on Thursday August 4th and it looks really neat. The ads allow a website owner / brand to track links from their website or brand mentions shared on Reddit and promote them via the advertising system. If you’re familiar with Reddit you know that Redditors are sharing content and stories about brands and products all of the time.

This new advertising feature will help brands highlight those conversations and interactions with consumers.

In Reddit’s own words from their announcement:

In conversations with many advertisers, we often hear that Redditors have already rallied around brands and products they genuinely like, and advertisers want to know how they can be part of that. But at the same time, we want to ensure that our communities remain free and user-controlled.

We asked if this ad format would make it’s way into the self-serve system, where most advertisers purchase ads. The answer was there were no current plans to do this, but that it could be something they look into in the future.

Right now we are offering this to big brands. This may translate over to self-serve in the future but no current plans. – MyNameIzKhan (Reddit Ads Staff)

This means that to do a promoted post, at least for now, you’ll have to be a big brand or be willing to spend at least whatever the minimum ad buy is for their managed campaigns. That’s unfortunate as many smaller companies, or even those that simply enjoy managing ads on their own, could see really good value in this new advertising format. Hopefully an iteration of this makes it way into the self-serve system soon.

July 15, 2016

How Upvotes Work With Reddit Ads

We’ve gotten some questions about just how the upvote mechanism works with Reddit Ads. Most often when you scroll through Reddit Ads in the carousel (top of the page, arrow is on the right-hand side) you’ll see that most of the ads have a dot instead of a number, but every now and then an ad will have an upvote count. Recently we reached out to Reddit’s advertising team and asked them why this is and we were told that when an ad shows a dot it has negative upvotes, but if the upvote count is above zero the number will display.

If you are not seeing an upvote count next to an ad it means the score is below 0 and will show a dot in its place. We do not have the option to turn off upvotes/downvotes.

– MyNameIzKhan

We’ve reached out for clarification on what exactly this means, if anything. Some advertisers have expressed a concern that not having upvotes could hurt their ad in some way. That seems unlikely but we’re asking to be sure.

There’s also the question of click-through or engagement rates, do upvote counts help that? Currently the answer to this question seems to be no as none of the ads in the Toyota campaign we recently wrote a case study on had an upvote count but gained great engagement with the Reddit community.

EDIT: Reddit Ads staffer MyNameIzKhan replied to our question about what Reddit might use the upvote count on ads for. He told us that they do not help or jurt an ad, but that they could be used in the future.

Currently, they do neither. It is something we are keeping in mind for future use.

– MyNameIzKhan

You can read the thread on this in the /r/selfserve subreddit here:

July 10, 2016

Toyota – Extending TV Ads Case Study

For the last few weeks Toyota has been running a few ads via the Reddit Advertising system. The four ads they have been running share a few things in common; they all use a question as part of their ad title and they all include an embedded YouTube video of a recent Toyota Rav4 Hybrid commercial. Toyota’s team also engaged with users in the comments of each ad and doled out Reddit Gold as a reward for top comments, the title of 2 of the ads included a mention of the Reddit Gold giveaway.

This technique appears to be pretty unique as far as Reddit Ads go and earned Toyota thousands of comments across the 4 ads. We clearly don’t now how efficient or effective of a campaign this was in terms of ROI for Toyota, but it shows a nice blueprint for other brands and businesses trying to drum up engagement on the Reddit website via the ads system.

To try and detect how well a Reddit post or ad performs we use a metric we call Engagement Points. When we calculated the Engagement Points for the 4 Toyota ads we quickly discovered that ads that included the mention of Reddit Gold performed better with the improvement being between 100% and 165%.

toyota rav4 reddit ads engagement points

AD: Who would you take to Mars

  • Comments: 766
  • Top comment points: 528
  • Gold giveaway in title?: No
  • URL:

AD: What would you name a Mars Colony

  • Comments: 2,086
  • Top comment points: 519
  • Gold giveaway in title?: Yes
  • URL:

AD: Tell a lumberjack joke

  • Comments: 695
  • Top comment points: 286
  • Gold giveaway in title?: No
  • URL:

AD: Where would you go as a wolf

  • Comments: 1,235
  • Top comment points: 771
  • Gold giveaway in title?: Yes
  • URL:

This is the first large scale advertising campaign we’ve seen on Reddit by a major brand. We’ve reached out to Toyota to see if they’ll share more details about the campaign and will let you know if there are any updates.

July 02, 2016

Multi-Subreddit targeting and Granular Subreddit Data

Reddit recently introduced Mult-Subreddit ads allowing advertisers to target one message to more than one subreddit at a time. While this new format allows for easier setup of ads that focus on topics relevant to up to 100 subreddits and gets the ad on the frontpage, it apparently won’t give the advertiser granular data on how each subreddit performs.

Reddit advertiser Kaleidoleaf asked about this yesterday and was given the following response by Reddit Ads staffer MyNameIzKhan:

This is on our roadmap, we don’t have a set date for it but we are working on it.
You will need to create campaigns that target only one subreddit to get that granular data for now.

– MyNameIzKhan

This takes some of the reasons to run a multi-subreddit ad away, but the multi-subreddit format is still very attractive for targeting a group of low-trafficked subreddits. For bigger one’s create one off ads so you can better optimize for them.

July 01, 2016

Reddit Ads will get image hosting ‘soon’

Reddit recently rolled out image hosting on their website to all users. Previously to have an image on Reddit many communities required you to use a simplified image host such as Imgur. This feature was not added to the advertising platform though. I reached out and asked the advertising team if this was a feature that was coming and when we could expect it.

The answer was, possibly for good reasons, really vague. Reddit Ads staffer, MyNameIzKhan, said that they are looking into this and that it will be available soon, but was unsure of when it would be available or what it would look like.

Image hosting inside of the Reddit Ads platform would open up a lot of new advertising opportunities for campaigns beyond the current usage of a thumbnail image. We can look at Imgur as an example where eBay is running ads using the gallery format to tell a story and since Reddit is all about deep, meaningful, and somewhat anonymous conversations; this style of advertising could really help marketers drive more engagement within Reddit and paired with geotargeting could be a great resource for small businesses trying to reach a local audience.


June 26, 2016

Advertisers Will Get More Clarification When Ads Are Rejected

Redditor OhByInc tried setting up a few ads and both were rejected by Reddit, but the reason wasn’t very clear and they asked for more information in the subreddit.

Created two self serve ads last night – 4ox84g and 4ox2ox.
I was using the business credit card, not my personal card, so I put in the business name for the “name” field, which BTW WORKS PERFECTLY AND IS NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER.

SO now the two ads suddenly get rejected:

“Optional note about rejection (for special cases): Please fill out name in the payment information

– OhByInc

This particular ad rejection was for an issue with the credit card name field.Having your ad rejected for any reason can be a harrowing experience, so it’s understandable that OhByInc was upset. Reddit staff member HappySharkz responded to the post not only agreeing to help out OhByInc by correcting the issue and getting the ads approved but also stated that Reddit would work on providing more information when rejecting ads in the future.

Hi OhByInc,

We appreciate your feedback! We will adjust our rejection reason to ensure that advertisers have a clear understanding of what they can do to fix their ads.

– HappySharkz

It’s great to see Reddit committed to improving the advertiser experience and fixing these issues that advertisers are having. If you’ve had your Reddit ads rejected we would recommend posting in the /r/selfserve subreddit and asking for help getting your ad approved or emailing them at

June 10, 2016

Multi-subreddit targeting puts your ad on the frontpage

It was confirmed today that when you target your ad to more than one subreddit it will also show on the frontpage of Reddit when users who subscribe to one of your targets is logged in. Redditor SerialAlibi asked the question in the SelfServe advertising subreddit to make sure the ads would not appear on /r/all to irrelevant users. For example if your ad targeted the /r/NoMansSky, /r/diy, and /r/awww anyone subscribed to those subreddits would see your ad on the homepage.

Reddit Staffer MyNameIzKhan replied confirming that ads would indeed appear on the homepage.

Yes, your ad will be displayed to the frontpage of users who are subscribed to your targeted subreddits.

– MyNameIzKhan

Many subreddits can have low pageviews and therefore be difficult to obtain advertising inventory on. Having your ads automatically appear to target users on the frontpage offers a new way to reach them helping avoid odd timing issues or situation where advertising inventory is almost never available.

This isn’t something you can turn off, so be aware that when targeting a subreddit your ad might also be on the home page of the site and may not reach active users in that precise subreddit you wanted to target. While this doesn’t allow for the granular level of targeting some advertisers might want, it does ensure better exposure of your ad to your target audience.