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The Influencers

Hello, Is It Me You're Looking For? An Ode to Reddit

INFLUENCERS: Brands on Reddit need to be where the audience resides, write Digitas' Danisha Lomax and Janelle Williamson

Hello, Is It Me You're Looking For? An Ode to Reddit

Collective community has been part of humanity forever, and platforms that foster online community-building have grown with the pandemic. We know that social drives culture. We also know that platforms are tools for community building, accessibility, collective interest, and conversations about any and everything. Insert a TikTok video of someone on Reddit singing Lionel Richie's "Hello, is it me you're looking for?"

Reddit has been around since 2005 and was built to bring people together around shared common interests. With more than 430M monthly active users in 2020 (a 44% YoY increase), over 100k active communities, and 2.6M subreddits (March 2021: Reddit data), they are the 7th most downloaded social app today. With community numbers and subreddits available for nearly any topic imaginable, brands on Reddit need to be where the audience resides. 

Don’t take our word for it, here are more growth stats

- 52M DAUs + 44% YoY

- 303M posts + 52% YoY

- 2B comments + 19% YoY

- 49B upvotes +  54% YoY

With all of this growth, Reddit’s user base has changed over the years. Now, people age 35+ make up nearly half of the user base, with ages 18-34 having the largest opportunity (58%).

They’ve also expanded internationally, launching in the UK and Canada. Most recently they introduced Reddit Talks - a new audio opportunity that takes on Clubhouse, Discord, Twitter Spaces, and now Facebook. This new product addition gives the platform an advantage, since their moderators will create a safe space for dialogue that seems to be missing somewhat from the Clubhouse experience.   

On this platform, pseudo-anonymity can foster more honest conversations - which attracts users who aren’t present on other social channels. 23% of Reddit users are not on Facebook, 47% are not on Instagram, 52% are not on Twitter, 65% are not on Snapchat, and the list goes on. The pseudo-anonymity empowers people to share real issues in ways they don't feel empowered to on other platforms. Increased honesty on Reddit also enables mutual trust within the conversations, further proving the platform's community attitude unique to Reddit.

With iOS14 changing the game, Reddit provides a unique opportunity. Its native targeting is distinctly immune to Apple’s updates. Reddit does not target or track users' demo, age, or gender, nor do they share behavioral interest data with 3rd parties, and therefore, they don’t violate Apple's definition of private data. Reddit's native targeting capability relies on community and interest-based targeting. Their primary focus on interest-based targeting will now be table stakes across social platforms. 

While brands can feel at ease in terms of data tracking, some conversations on Reddit may still seem sketch. So what has Reddit done to make brands feel safe on the platform, you ask? Great question - we’ll tell you! Get excited because it’s a three-part answer:

• First, brands can only appear in two places on the platform: home feeds and designated communities. The list of communities included are specifically identified to run ads. Ads will never be served in other brands’ or users’ profile pages. 

• Second, Reddit has created a keyword exclusion list and guidelines on brand suitability to prevent ads from running next to content that is adult or sexually explicit, profane and offensive, sensitive related to identity, gory, graphic, or illegal. 

• Last, Reddit also gives brands hands-on control if they choose. Brands can turn comments on/off, create a custom keyword exclusion list, identify a community exclusion list, specify the inventory types it wants to run in, and integrate Oracle content blocking.

So with all of this information, you’re probably asking yourself what's next. There are a few media-specific ways in. For brands still dipping their toes in the water, Reddit offers promoted posts that come with comments on or off -- an opportunity some brands may want to take as they think through community management needs (re-read the paragraph above!). Brands looking to engage more deeply with their fans and super-fans can activate campaigns with engagement prompts, encouraging participation in conversations or using upvotes to involve the community in selecting new ads, new products, and more. And for those brands ready to dive right in, they can do a Promoted AMA (Ask Me Anything), an all-things-go type of Q&A that originated on the platform. All of these options allow brands to understand their place on the platform better while gradually expanding. As brands explore their voice on the platform, Reddit also offers creative & strategy services to help them understand Reddit trends as well as community management, creative workshops, and campaign development. In fact, they’ve just expanded these services through a newly launched in-house creative shop called KarmaLab. Perhaps realizing that Reddit-speak may seem like another language, this group can truly help brands bring paid and organic strategies together on the platform. Syncing paid and organic strategies -- that’s music to our ears here at Digitas!

What’s more, CPMs on Reddit fall in line with auction rates we see on other biddable platforms, hovering around $4-5. With social commerce on everyone’s minds and wallets (Adobe tracked a ~40% increase in social commerce last year), we can see brands using Reddit as a unique way to level up their commerce game - shopping while Beyonce hosts an AMA, yes please!

During a time when many of us are still living and working remotely, a sense of community is key to maintaining positive mental health and attitudes. Reddit provides a virtual community for many and almost all interests, and we’re seeing platforms like Community, Discord, Lunchtable and SFB Society rise up to expand the virtual meeting grounds for communities. Reddit figured out the online community thing early, but watch out, there are some new players entering the chat. 

By Danisha Lomax, SVP, National Paid Social & Multicultural Lead and Janelle Williamson, Associate Director, Paid Social

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