Publishers and marketers take note: Reddit is more than a place to mine for free content.
Reddit calls itself the “front page of the Internet”: anything that strikes a nerve there will inevitably appear on BuzzFeed, Tumblr and countless other sites. That alone makes it worth paying attention to, said Rohit Thawani, director of digital strategy and social Media at TBWA\Chiat\Day, who checks Reddit 10 to 15 times a day. “It gives us on the brand and agency side a way to be part of culture right when it’s happening vs. following it later,” he said.
Reddit is home to over 800,000 topic-driven communities, dubbed subreddits, which are as broad (/r/funny) as they are obscure (/r/counting). Some are also a bit wonky. Going beyond the obvious such destinations as /r/advertising and /r/marketing, here are four that media and marketing people should keep on their radar.
Typical post: “Anyone using a good CRM for easy contract to DFP input?”
Reddit is helping to make the dark arts of ad ops a little more lucid. With the 3-year-old subreddit /r/adops, which has 2,600 readers, Reddit has helped ad ops people on both the buy and sell side share tactics and dish on the industry.
“A lot of people use it just to see if what they’re seeing is normal for other publishers,” said Jordan Woods, ad operations manager at SpanishDict. “It’s easy to get into this echo chamber where you’re talking to four or five contacts that are all focused on the same stuff. The subreddit gives you a chance to branch out and see what’s happening at other companies.”
Typical post: “Those crazy kids sure love their hashtags”
Advertising’s misguided obsession with youth is on display on /r/fellowkids, where users share examples of tone-deaf ads that try to resonate with young people but fall flat. Recent examples include the FBI using the #dontbeapuppet hasthtag when trying to reach out to kids and many questionable brand uses of slang such as “swag,””YOLO” and “OnFleek.”
“Marketers and agencies are sometimes so blind to how out of touch they are and how rapid the zeitgeist shifts that they think they’re successful with a couple hundred likes,” Thawani said. “’Fellow kids’ is an attempt to keep granny marketers in check — and to laugh at them and make them feel bad.
The average Reddit user is young, male and has deep-seated aversion to advertising in all its forms. The interest in /r/hailcorporate, which has 60,180 readers, makes that clear. Reddit users take to the community to call out censorship, corporate shilling and, in general, any advertisement masquerading as real content. Not even Reddit’s own operations are immune to their scrutiny.
While /r/hailcorporate and /r/fellowkids give marketers good examples of what to avoid, /r/TIFU (“today I fucked up”) is where they can get inspired. Posts on the subreddit are typically comedies of errors, some tragic (“TIFU: By failing a drug test”), others amusing (“TIFU by leaving my underwear in my crush’s microwave”). Marketers can learn a lot from the subreddit about how to tell powerful narratives, said Thawani. “Brands should always be learning from real-life situations and how people talk about them,” he said.