A couple of months back, we saw Reddit expanding to mid-west with a new office in Chicago. The presence of major brands and advertising agencies in Chicago will give Reddit a straight-forward access to the marketing community in the region.
The senior director of central brand partnerships at Reddit, Rob Sprungman who is also going to be the first employee of Reddit’s office in Chicago, said,
“We need to be a part of the fabric of the marketing community here. The market has incredible talent … but also some great digital tech we can pull from, as well as people moving here to be a part of it all.”
Sprungman is going to start working out of a co-working space for now. The company is hoping to inaugurate a permanent office and recruit nine employees by the end of the year.
Why exactly is Reddit a big deal?
Reddit is popular as the front page of the internet. Many stories first featured on Reddit, received a tremendous number of upvotes from the community and went on to achieve phenomenal virality.
At the most recent estimates, Reddit has about 330 million active monthly users and 138,000 communities.
Redditors can subscribe to different communities. Each community, known as a ‘subreddit’ contains stories, news, and allows discussions on different interests and topics – ranging from hard-hitting journalism to cute pictures of puppies. The platform has it all.
Redditors can post ideas and questions in any given subreddit that catches their interest. A redditor can also follow certain subreddits around what he or she is dealing with at the moment, and personalize his or her news feed. For instance, there’s a subreddit community which only deals with questions related to 401(k).
An interesting feature honed by Reddit is, ‘Ask Me Anything’. Anyone can host ad-hoc Ask Me Anything sessions where users can ask all sorts of questions to the host.
A good balance of anonymity and personalization allows Reddit’s users to post content that they may not post elsewhere. Such an environment makes space for more authentic conversations on the platform.
What’s in it for brand marketers and advertisers?
People on Reddit are extremely passionate about their topics of interest. There is a lot of value to gain if a brand can speak authentically to them.
Close-knit communities with deep engagement in niche communities offer a unique creative space for brands to tell their stories.
In fact, Audi’s advertising agency partnered with Reddit to promote the new Audi Sport performance models in a live Ask Me Anything session. Actors Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks answered users’ questions as they drove around a race track!
However, Reddit still has a long way to go in making its platform more brand-friendly. Brands run the risk of gaining bad reputation if their ads appear on controversial communities (for example, an anti-advertising subreddit).
There have been cases where brands received poor reception as the users felt an idea is being rubbed on them.
In mid-November 2017, Redditors started complaining about Electronic Arts’ pricing scheme. The brand entered the picture to address the controversy and explain the pricing scheme. EA’s response on the subreddit became the most downvoted comment in the history of Reddit.
But, brands needn’t run away!
Redditors aren’t explicitly opposed to marketing. They simply dismiss bad marketing, rather quickly and overtly.
Reddit offers brands access to passionate users who are well-informed and opinionated about products and services. There’s a great potential for creative advertising on the platform, as it is a hugely unchartered territory.
Conventional best practice recommends you to lurk before you leap. Both AdAge and Content Marketing Institute suggest that it is a good idea to spend time understanding the tone and content on a subreddit before participating in the conversations. After all, knowing the inside jokes of a particular subreddit, and reddiquette in general, help you better fit in the community, regardless of the platform. Doesn’t it?
The platform and the advertising brands need to tread lightly and understand how to engage Redditors meaningfully with a brand’s story, without losing the integrity of the platform.
Subscribe to our newsletter