To attract direct response advertisers, Reddit adds more performance tools


Reddit is working to lure performance-obsessed advertisers with new tools.

After releasing cost-per-click buying last month, Reddit has launched app install as a campaign objective for CPC buying and an improved conversion pixel. Reddit’s pixel can track eight conversion events, breaks out view-through and click-through conversions and allows for attribution windows of 1, 7 or 28 days. Prior, it only tracked one event and didn’t allow much else.

These moves are part of Reddit’s ongoing improvements of its ad platform as it attempts to attract more ad dollars. Last year, Reddit made some strategic hires like Time Inc. alum Jen Wong as COO and held agency roadshows to help advertisers use the platform. Reddit’s vp of marketing and business development, Roxy Young, told Digiday at CES the company plans to be more “proactive” in its own marketing efforts, as well. Reddit just closed a $300 million funding round at a $3 billion valuation with Tencent, Sequoia, Fidelity and Andreessen Horowitz. Its total funding is now $550.1 million.

Zubair Jandali, Reddit’s vp of brand partnerships, said CPC ads, an app install objective and an improved pixel should further help the company attract more advertisers.

“Any one of these products in isolation isn’t compelling itself but taken together is what makes it especially exciting. It’s not about the piecemeal. It’s the combination of what [advertisers] look for,” Jandali said.

When Jandali joined Reddit in January 2015, the company was focused on brand awareness campaigns as they built out the rest of the ad infrastructure. Reddit launched a new self-serve platform in March 2017 and slowly has made the buying experience more like Facebook, Google and other ad platforms. Last month, Reddit hired Shariq Rizvi to lead the performance engineering team.

These types of improvements are necessary for some advertisers. Gustaf Stenlund, digital marketing manager at analytics platform Nudge, said he had stopped using Reddit because of its lack of tools for direct response advertisers.

“I think Reddit launching CPC ad units, along with more granular reporting, ad targeting and campaign management tools, is a super interesting move. They’re effectively forcing advertisers to look at them as a serious option for their advertising mix,” said Stenlund.

Job search marketplace Hired started advertising on Reddit in June 2014 given the platform’s audience of early tech adopters and has increased its spending there over the years. Hired was part of the beta for CPC bidding.

“Performance marketers in the current age no longer value buying on risky CPMs alone. The CPC bidding structure allows us to reach an audience of engaged users who spend a lot of time on subreddits who we might not find on other social media channels with lower engagement,” said growth marketing manager Chase Gladden.

Indeed, 2018 Comscore data shows that 17 percent of Reddit users don’t use Facebook; 28 percent don’t use Twitter; 33 percent don’t use Instagram; 43 percent don’t use Snapchat.

AccuWeather also was enticed by Reddit’s audience but was less willing to test ads there, until now. AccuWeather’s marketing manager Benjamin Burgess said he told his agency Fetch that he’d like to test Reddit last year to supplement its focus on Apple and Google search. But the agency said Reddit didn’t have much to offer for mobile acquisition. Reddit later approached Fetch and AccuWeather about beta testing its now released app install campaign objective.

“As an app that makes all its money off of advertising, we can’t acquire at a rate like a dating or a gaming app can. We have to be pretty tight with [budgets]. I was excited to try Reddit, and I’d like to go back and figure out how to make it more cost effective,” Burgess said.

Advertisers said they would like to see more improvements from Reddit this year for managing and optimizing campaigns. Hired’s Gladden said he’d like the option to buy on cost per acquisition and be able to use bulk editing tools to more easily scale campaigns.

“Our plan is to make big changes to all the layers of our ad product: the targeting layer, measurement layer, the billing options and so on. We have a really ambitious road map. We want to keep optimizing our ads for two things: the ROI and the relevance of these ads for our users,” Rizvi said.

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