The Simple Guide to Reddit Advertising that will Scale Your Sales and Your Brand

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Be honest, has your business ever tried advertising on Reddit?

The answer is probably no… which is weird because Reddit has 330 to 430 million monthly users, so you’d think more business owners and marketers would utilize Reddit as a legitimate platform for advertising.

The fact of the matter is they don’t. But they really should be.

Reddit is one of the most used social media websites in the world, and it’s more successful than you may think. According to Statista, Reddit even has more monthly users than Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. It may remind some people of the online forum platforms of the 90s and early 2000s, but it’s much more complex than those ever were.

Why Should I Advertise on Reddit?

Other than the fact that Reddit has millions of regular users, it has one very big advantage for marketers…

Reddit is organized into subreddits, which are the different topics of discussion that people post about. By doing it this way, it keeps conversations organized and makes sure one topic of discussion doesn’t bleed over into another.

Reddit calls themselves the “front page of the internet” for a reason. With 2.2 million subreddits, there is a subreddit topic for just about everything. From subreddits about marketing, to subreddits about sports, to subreddits of pictures of bread stapled to trees… there is a thread for every topic you’re interested in or be interested in learning more about.

For marketers, this makes micro-targeting easier than ever before. There is no work that goes into finding qualified leads—they organize themselves into subreddits for you. Essentially, all it takes to master Reddit advertising is finding the right communities. Not even Facebook can promise an advertising method that effective. 🤯

All it takes from there is to know who would be interested in your product (cough, your customer avatar, cough). If you are a someone trying to sell kitchen products and recipes, or get more traffic for your content on a food blog, then r/cooking (and its 2.1 million members) may be the place for you. For us, r/marketing would be the place to go. If you sell tools and appliances or other useful resources, then r/DIY has almost 18 million members that may be interested in what you have to offer. And if you could convert 2% of them into paying customers… well, we’ll let you do the math! 😉

Of course, there is a bit more that goes into Reddit advertising—it’s certainly not as easy as it sounds. It has the potential to change the course of your business, but it also could amount to nothing (as many businesses who have tried have found out). You have to make sure you use the right approach, so it’s good to understand the platform.

What Should I Remember About Advertising on Reddit?

Take the sales pitch down a notch

Reddit is designed to be a bunch of communities that are centered around one common interest. It really is supposed to be a community, one where you talk to your friends about all the cool things that you are doing as it pertains to the topic of the subreddit.

Because of that, lots of Reddit users don’t like being sold to. They think that Reddit should be a place of good-hearted community engagement and not a place where you just insert yourself to try to take people’s money.

The flip side is this: if you are an engaged community member and people like your posts, then they won’t mind checking out your content and what you have to offer. But just going into r/DIY and saying you are offering a sale on your hammers and nails probably isn’t going to net you any new customers…

It takes time

Because of the reason above, Reddit advertising takes time. You can’t just log on to your account and expect to start converting Reddit users into customers—you’re going to have to generate organic traffic by actually become part of the community that you want to advertise to. You’ll have to become known in the community, post a lot, and offer lots of content for free. Going the paid advertising route on Reddit may be easier (more on that later), but organic will certainly help you find leads that aren’t only interested in your product, but are interested in your business.

Offer a lot of free content

This shouldn’t be understated. To get people to really like you on Reddit, you’re going to have to offer a lot of free content to generate interest. People in subreddit communities are genuinely interested in what other community members have to offer, so showing off your skills and offering tactical advice for free will make you really popular. Once you pull them in with your free stuff, then you can start trying to get them to make purchases.

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How Do I Advertise on Reddit?

There are 2 methods to Reddit advertising: organic and paid.

Organic Traffic

It’s important to note that the tips above pertain to organic traffic. Paid advertising will always get you some qualified leads, but organic traffic on Reddit is where you can reach your full potential.

The things said above are true: it’s going to take time. But before we go into the steps of mastering your organic advertising on Reddit, it’s best to understand the stats that quantify your engagement and will prove to people that you’re an active community member that posts quality content.

Upvotes and Downvotes

Upvotes and downvotes quantify how much other Reddit users like a particular post. The more upvotes there are, the more likely that post will be featured on the front page of the subreddit and, in some cases, on the front page of Reddit. When you post something new to a subreddit, it will appear on the front page. The more upvotes you have, the more likely it is that it will stay there.

Reddit post offering free marketing worksheet

This post has 115 upvotes in a day, which is pretty good for 24 hours in a subreddit. Notice how the user is giving something away for free—the community likes that, and upvoting is the way they let you (and everyone else) know. Likewise, you want to avoid getting a lot of downvotes. The best way to avoid that is simple: post good content.


Your karma score on Reddit is the net total of all of the upvotes and downvotes your posts have received.

Reddit profile with Karma score (135,260) and start date

Karma technically has no weight in whether a particular post gets shown at the top of a subreddit—only upvotes and downvotes dictate that. However, because it is essentially a running tally of how many upvotes you have, it shows people that visit your profile that you’re an active member of the Reddit community. It gives you social credibility and makes it more likely that they’ll keep up with the content that you post.

Now that you understand the metrics to track your success, here is how you do organic advertising on Reddit…

1. Find your subreddit communities

There are tons of subreddit communities out there that could pertain to your business. It really is just the process of identifying your customer avatar, and then figuring out what content that avatar is going to like. Once you’ve done that, it’s really as simple as finding the subreddit communities that will work for you.

Here’s a tip: finding the right subreddit communities is just like finding the right keyword for SEO—going big isn’t always the best option. The chances of you becoming a household name in a subreddit with 2.2 million is pretty low, especially with a low karma score. Starting with more specialized and niche subreddit groups will make it easier for you to consistently interact with people, then you can move onto the bigger groups once you have some social credibility.

2. Start engaging with the community

When you’re first getting started in your subreddit communities, the best thing you can do is start to comment on other people’s posts. It’s the easiest way to get to know people in the community, as well as start getting some upvotes. Again, Reddit is very much a community centered social media website, and lots of users don’t like it when random people come in and try to take everything over. Start off by just engaging with your community members over the span of a few weeks, and then you can move on to starting to post your own original content.

3. Post your own content

Once you become more familiar with the communities that you’re engaging in and people start to recognize your name, you can then move onto slipping in your own content. When you start posting your own content, just make sure that you remember to provide content that’s actually going to be helpful or intriguing to the people in the community. Offer something of value and offer it to them immediately. If not, just like any other form of copy, it’s way more likely they’re going to tune out.

4. Play the long game

After a few weeks or months of slipping your own content into the conversation, you’re going to likely become a very recognizable and vocal member in the community. The longer you are active in the community, the more content you can post. Eventually, after a while, you can start making small sales pitches and encouraging people to make purchases. You never want to be overbearing or only promote sales—you should still regularly be posting and providing quality content for free. Even if it’s as simple as linking a blog post on your website, it’s still content that can get people interested in your brand.

This entire process is going to take a while, but it’s well worth it in the end. You can’t just become well-known overnight, and the last thing you want to do is get too promotional too early. If you do, you’re going to lose all of your social credibility (and it will be reflected in your karma score). Above all, make sure you only post quality content. And if you don’t feel like putting in the time, you can always go the paid advertising route.

Paid Reddit advertising

Just like paid advertising on any social media website, Reddit makes it relatively easy to make people see your advertisements. This route is as simple as creating advertisements that will intrigue and captivate the right people. And, with Reddit, you can target where these ads appear.

To get started, make a Reddit ads account. Once you give them all the information that they need, you can start creating campaigns and ad groups. Ads appear on Reddit like this…

Reddit advertising example

They will also give you the option to let your ads pop up in the side bar of the main page of Reddit. All advertisements will appear with “promoted” in the top left corner, so it will be extremely transparent that it is a paid advertisement within a subreddit community.

This is by far the most effective way to reach people on Reddit because it’s directly on their timeline. Whether it’s promoting a post that’s doing well or designing a post like an advertisement and then promoting it, it will definitely expand your reach. But, because it’s linked to your regular account, as well, there’s one more thing that you have to remember…

When doing this method, think of it as a cocktail of organic and paid advertising. People will be able to see your karma, and the last thing they want to see is an account that made a post and promoted it with absolutely no engagement prior to that happening. Being active on Reddit will always yield better results, even if you go the paid advertising route.

The nice thing about promoted posts is you can choose which pricing model you want to pay Reddit with—CPC, CPV, or CPM. This will obviously take time to figure out which method works best for you, but it’s always good to have options. But, no matter what you choose, you will set a particular budget per campaign to make sure you only spend as much as you want to.

Whether you choose to set your budget by daily amount or by lifetime amount is up to you, and your budget can vary based off of which campaigns you want to promote. By the same token, you can customize when and where you want your campaigns to appear. Reddit does not have a one-size-fits-all advertising approach, and the amount of customization you can have is pretty impressive.

You can also do sidebar ads, just like you would see on Facebook or any other social media website. They can be effective, but they’ll only show up in select places. To do these, you’ll have to contact the Reddit advertising team and spend a lot of money (often upwards of $50,000) to get the ball rolling. We’ll leave it at that. 😅

So, what does all of this mean?

When approaching Reddit advertising, you will always have to put in effort. Even the most effective paid advertising route is enhanced with organic legwork beforehand, and the paid-only options would likely be better suited for other platforms other than Reddit.

Reddit’s advertising potential is extremely apparent—the ability to micro-target potential customers by subreddit groups is truly something that no other social media platform can offer. It may be a little more complicated than paying money, uploading an advertisement, and clicking a couple buttons, but it’s worth it if you’re willing to put in the time.

When you’re deciding whether to pursue Reddit advertising, there are two important things you should remember: there’s relatively little competition, and it’s not super expensive. Both of those things are exactly why you should at least try Reddit advertising. Then, if you figure out you don’t have the time or bandwidth to do it effectively, you can always stop. But, if you do figure out a plan that works for you, your potential outreach to qualified leads is as big as the subreddit groups that you can find.

Take a chance on Reddit. You never know what may happen.

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