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🦥 Reddit Advertising can work. Here's the strategy | Gil Gildner, Discosloth
Reddit promotion allows marketers to reach 55.79m1 niche, fan-like engaged daily users. But most people are kind of afraid to advertise (or even post) on the platform.
Including me. 🤦
However, some are absolutely smashing it there.
Gil Gildner’s, founder of PPC agency Discosloth (🦥), ads get more positive comments and discussion than many unpaid posts.
Kindly, he agreed to explain how he does this. Below he shares:
The strategy that actually works
How to craft Reddit creatives (with examples)
Application of the strategy to a hypothetical business
How to scale your campaigns
Here are the details:
What can PPC actually achieve on Reddit?
Reddit is a special sort of social platform, and it is notoriously difficult to advertise on. I can’t count how many folks have told me they abandoned Reddit because of poor results, low metrics, dealing with comments/trolls, and overall difficulty in making financial sense of it. But the reality is that you can’t approach ads on Reddit in the same way as you run ads on any other platform. You have to tame this beast with unique tactics. Forget about running an ad just to get SaaS signups or sell a specific product. This is a long-term, brand-focused, community-building platform.
Forget about running an ad just to get SaaS signups or sell a specific product. This is a long-term, brand-focused, community-building platform. - Gil Gildner, Discosloth
However, Reddit is also super under-rated. The secret about Reddit is that high-performing posts will start to appear on Google search results for specific questions, so it’s the perfect place for sharing expertise on specific issues. It isn’t an overnight success, though - an effective Reddit strategy will likely take a year or two before you start having a recognizable brand and getting lots of inbound inquiries.
What is the biggest misconception?
The biggest misconception, I think, is that folks will try to just “run an ad”. And even if you follow best practices for A/B testing…well, if all the ads that you’re testing are bad, then your test ain’t gonna work. You basically cannot write ads for Reddit. They will all fail. You have to tell a story.
Reddit’s a complicated place, so you have to buck the trend. If you are truly wanting to get your money’s worth from your ads, you have to basically use your ad campaign to make friends. Use them to create awareness of you and your brand. You’d be surprised how little it takes to actually start building community around your knowledge and expertise.
How do you target Reddit ads?
Targeting is important, because you want your story to be in front of the right audience, but most important is your brand. Whether it’s your personal brand or your corporate brand, you have to leverage that to build rapport with folks. The great thing about Reddit is that, if you are able to build an audience there, it will be comprised of the absolute most obsessive, early-adopting, and vocal contributors possible. Reddit has a deceptively large reach.
The best way to target on Reddit is by doing placements on subreddits. Most of the demographic/interest targeting is either inaccurate or irrelevant. So it requires a lot of innate, specific knowledge about your niche. The smaller & more niche the subreddit, the better. I think a lot of advertisers make the mistake of trying to target huge subreddits with millions of followers, but a better approach is finding the smaller active subs with 10,000 to 100,000 followers.
How do you create good ads?
It sounds a bit hacky, but honestly you shouldn’t be writing ads. You should be writing “blog post” style posts on Reddit and using those to promote awareness. Posts should be educational, informative, detailed, clearly broken down into bullet points and headings, and offer real insight into an issue that your audience cares about.
Answer every single comment and question. And most importantly, don’t sell anything. My most successful ads haven’t included a single link or even a CTA.
How would you apply this to an example?
If you have a niche product, Reddit is fantastic for this. What I’d suggest is, first of all, start a subreddit involving your product. If you’re selling aftermarket Porsche parts, start a mechanic-focused subreddit about Porsche performance. If you’re selling replica Star Trek uniforms, start a The Next Generation subreddit or something. And boost posts talking about fun, interesting things about these subjects.
Once you start getting engagement on these posts, treat it like a public-facing strategy, recommendation, and support forum. Answering questions, giving advice about your particular expertise, troubleshooting, or simply friendly engagement can build a very solid community around your brand.
In my case, I co-run a small agency doing ecommerce PPC work, and I’ve published a couple marketing books as well. I use Reddit ads to essentially boost my brand. Results are not always super attributable, but if you pay attention to your client’s conversations and ask how folks found you, you’ll be surprised how often they will reference Reddit.
How do you combat bots and fake clicks?
Reddit has bots, but in my mind they’re sort of irrelevant. I don’t really care about clicks…I care about user engagement. And since I’m not posting links, I don’t care if a bot sees a post on Reddit. The super low cost per click, anyway, outweighs the bot problem. It’s still a super cheap option for advertising, way less than you’d be paying on Google Ads. Perhaps there are bots, but when I’m paying $0.07 per click on Reddit versus $25+ on Google Ads…it evens out in the end.
The actual problem on Reddit is actually over-enthusiastic mods. It’s a well documented problem that many moderators have conflicts of interest or are financially incentivized to maintain a certain narrative, so you have to build your own brand on Reddit rather than relying on someone else’s pet corner of the internet. Often folks will pay mods to “allow” them to post and sticky items in certain subreddits. I guess that’s fine, but something I prefer to stay away from as I don’t think it’s conducive to the transparency of your brand over time.
Is it worth remaking an account under your personal name for the purposes of advertising?
Yes. I actually engage only using my real name on Reddit. I’ve found that taking the contrarian approach to Reddit (which is usually anonymous and toxic) makes it really easy for my own personal brand to stand out. I try to be super transparent and helpful, and this really does play out in ad performance.
However, if you don’t want your personal name to be seen on Reddit (which is perfectly understandable) then I’d at least recommend making a brand account. There are multiple examples I’ve seen where folks interact using a named brand account, while still being friendly and helpful enough that Redditors don’t mind. As a matter of fact, as long as you’re not salesy, you can actually develop quite a cult following in certain niches.
How would you scale a Reddit ad initiative?
Scaling on Reddit really depends upon the popularity of the niche you’re advertising in. There’s a natural cap based upon how many people there are actually interested in your “thing”. Over time you will naturally find a cap. And it’ll probably be much smaller than what you spend on other platforms. We have a client who spends $100k/year on Google Ads but hardly spends $8k/year on Reddit, and it would be difficult to spend much more than that in their niche. I personally spend between $300-500/mo on Reddit Ads, and that’s pretty much dominating the specific niche I’m advertising in. But you don’t have to spend that much: you could probably see some pretty decent results starting at $100 a month or so.
Where can people go to learn more about you?
Check out Gil’s PPC agency, Discosloth
See a Reddit Ad Teardown by Kacper Staniul
Learn How to use Reddit to Promote Products with Fed
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