Have you heard that Reddit generates more traffic than Facebook or Twitter and was the third most visited website behind Google and YouTube? And yet many digital marketers have been largely ignoring this valuable channel. In EDGE of the Web Episode 298, EDGE hosts Erin Sparks (Site Strategics CEO) and Tom Brodbeck (Site Strategics Digital Media Director) spoke with digital strategist Ross Simmonds of Foundation Marketing to find out how to leverage Reddit for marketing strategy success and even drive more traffic where you need it to go.
Ross Simmonds: His Background and Experience
Ross Simmonds is the founder of Hustle & Grind, an e-commerce store for entrepreneurs. From coffee and mugs to hoodies and posters, Hustle & Grind is committed to filling offices, individuals and organizations with the Hustler’s Spirit. The site’s “Get Advice” pages features blog posts with tips and strategies for entrepreneurs to succeed. He was also a founder of Crate, a content marketing software solution. Ross also started Foundation Marketing, which focuses on content marketing for B2B brands. You may have seen Ross as he makes the rounds speaking at conferences such as MozCon, the SearchLove Search Conference and many others.
Ross fell into the world of digital marketing by accident. As a big fantasy football fan, he had a blog about it when he was in his late teens. Reaching people all over the world and giving them advice about what to do with their teams made him realize that this thing called the Internet was going to stick around. He studied marketing in university, but the curriculum didn’t include digital marketing at that time. He shifted his blogging from fantasy football to marketing and from there it soon became all about digital marketing to get results for brands.
What Exactly is Reddit, Anyways?
Reddit is like focus groups on steroids. It operates more like the forums and bulletin boards people were using on the Internet back in the 1990s. In Reddit, what you have are very specific sub-reddits on every topic imaginable. Whatever niche topic interests you, there is without a doubt a sub-reddit about it – and that is marketing gold right there, because the people who are spending time in any given sub-reddit are very passionate about the topic. That’s why they’re there. And this means that if you have a brand or company related to that niche topic, you have a very captive and interested audience, if you use it correctly.
But people don’t realize just how huge Reddit really is. It generates more traffic than either Facebook or Twitter. In fact, it’s ranked third behind only Google and YouTube. Why aren’t marketers using it? Many simply don’t get it when they first use it. It’s not the most user-friendly site, and it’s very easy to make mistakes that get you blocked or banned if you’re not careful. But the site is getting used something like 82 billion times a year. It’s a juggernaut that can and should be leveraged into marketing success.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world. Most recently it was named as I believe generating more traffic from Google when talking about a desk op then Facebook, or Twitter, or any other platform. It’s a juggernaut that is oftentimes overlooked because it’s not necessarily the most user-friendly network. It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people when they go on it for the first time. But every single year more than 82 billion times people are visiting Reddit. It is a juggernaut in many ways.
On Reddit you create a username for yourself, and it’s totally anonymous. Most people don’t use their real names. There is no “about” or “profile” area where you say where you live and give your relationship status or any of that. In the early days, that could result in a lot of bullying by people who figured they could just say whatever they want because it’s anonymous, but that’s largely been handled through volunteer moderators who can block users from a sub-reddit.
Users subscribe to the sub-reddits that interest them and then when they log in they’ll see the top content from those sub-reddits in their feed, similar to the Facebook newsfeed. One tip on common jargon you’ll see on Reddit is TIL, which means “today I learned” so you’ll see many posts with TIL at the beginning and the user goes on to give some insights and information on the topic. And people talk a lot about “karma” on Reddit – being authentically engaged in the platform. Marketers who want to make the most of Reddit need to build up their Reddit karma with authentic engagements before they start anything that smells of marketing or you’ll be blocked before you know what happened.
Advertising Opportunities in Reddit
The Reddit ads platform is a relatively new thing, maybe only a year old. And the point is to highly target your ad to the most relevant sub-reddits. The ads blend into the sub-reddit feed in a way that’s similar to how Facebook does it in the newsfeed. There is a kind of line of the left-hand side of an ad post that indicates it’s different from a regular post, and very tiny print at the top that says “promoted.”
Given how easy it is for people on Reddit to get angry about promotional and advertising materials (there is a definite overall anti-corporate vibe on Reddit), some marketers don’t want to see a litany of negative comments attached to their promotional ad. The good news that many marketers don’t realize is that you can turn off comments for post that is an ad. Then you don’t have to worry about the backlash so much.
Posts that are ads can be in a variety of formats, including regular text, images, videos, links and so on. Interestingly enough, my own research has revealed that links are what Reddit users want most when it comes to ads. After that it’s video content they want. Stay away from static text. And don’t be afraid to be fairly informal with your language – Reddit users definitely skew young in terms of age.
If you want to find out more about the how of using Reddit in your digital marketing strategy with Ross Simmonds, listen to the full interview at EDGE of the Web Episode 298.
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