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Knitting Grandmas to Ad Dollars: Reddit’s Big Boy Pants Moment

Ah, Reddit. The digital playground where everyone from knitting grandmas to conspiracy theorists gathers to bicker about everything under the sun. But hold on to your socks, because Reddit is putting on its big boy pants and saying, “Hey advertisers, look at me!”

Yes, you read that right. Reddit, the social media mosh pit, is growing up, and DoubleVerify is here to slap a gold star on its report card with a new media quality authentication offering. This isn’t just a game-changer; it’s Reddit shouting from the rooftops, “We’re ready for prime time, baby!”

DoubleVerify (DV) has rolled out the industry’s first comprehensive media authentication offering on Reddit. Think of it as the digital equivalent of hiring a chaperone to ensure your ads don’t end up in the sketchy part of town. The DV Authentic Ad® metric promises advertisers a layer of transparency, making sure their precious ad dollars aren’t wasted on shady impressions or, heaven forbid, outside the intended geography.

Mark Zagorski, CEO of DoubleVerify, is all smiles about this partnership. He’s practically handing out cigars, saying, “We’re excited to partner with Reddit, to help campaigns meet key media quality criteria while driving impact and performance for advertisers.” It’s like he’s the proud parent at a kindergarten graduation, beaming as Reddit takes its first steps into the world of serious advertising.

And what a world it is. Reddit, with its over 100,000 communities, is the Wild West of user-generated content. One minute, you’re in a wholesome discussion about home gardening, and the next, you’re knee-deep in a thread about the latest alien abduction theories. It’s chaotic, it’s raw, and it’s real – which is exactly why advertisers are salivating at the potential to tap into this goldmine of engagement.

Enter DV, with its brand safety and suitability measurements ensuring that ads don’t end up next to content that would make a sailor blush. Fraud detection? Check. Viewability measurement? Double check. It’s like giving advertisers night-vision goggles to navigate the murky waters of Reddit’s ad landscape.

Harold Klaje, Reddit’s Chief Revenue Officer, is equally pumped, describing Reddit’s unique approach to content moderation as harnessing the power of community, systems, and tools. It’s like Reddit’s own version of crowd-sourced ad curation. “Third-party verification is essential,” Klaje says, “to ensure our clients feel great about their investment in Reddit.” Translation: we’ve got the keys to the kingdom, and we’re ready to let you in – safely.

With DV’s technology, advertisers can now ensure their ads hit the mark, whether they’re targeting the knitting grandmas or the die-hard UFO enthusiasts. And let’s talk about the ad formats – from in-feed and conversation placements to the new Dynamic Product Ads, Reddit is pulling out all the stops. Jim Squires, Reddit’s EVP of business marketing and growth, is steering this ship, explaining that Reddit is inherently commercial. People come to Reddit not just to scroll mindlessly but to seek out recommendations and insights from like-minded users.

But let’s not kid ourselves – it’s not all smooth sailing in the Reddit advertising ocean. This is not Facebook or Google where advertisers can laser-target users based on exhaustive behavioral data. Reddit’s ad model is like throwing a party and hoping the right guests show up. It relies heavily on contextual and interest-based signals, meaning advertisers have to bet that redditors might actually be interested in their products just because they’re hanging out in a specific subreddit. Imagine trying to sell camping gear in a subreddit dedicated to discussing the best ways to survive a zombie apocalypse – it’s a bit of a shot in the dark.

Advertising on Reddit is akin to fishing in unpredictable waters. You cast your line, but you’re never quite sure what you’ll reel in. Sometimes you catch a big one, a customer ready to bite on your product. Other times, you pull up an old boot, a wasted impression with no conversion. It’s this unpredictability that makes Reddit both exciting and daunting for advertisers. The stakes are high, and so is the potential for return on investment if you play your cards right. Redditors are engaged, passionate, and if you capture their interest, they can be your brand’s biggest advocates.

Yet, the gamble has its perks. Reddit’s users are notoriously discerning and vocal, meaning they engage deeply with content and can drive substantial word-of-mouth marketing. When an ad hits the right notes, it can spark discussions, shares, and upvotes, creating a ripple effect that can reach far beyond the initial target audience. This is the holy grail for marketers: genuine engagement from an audience that isn’t just scrolling past your ad but is actively participating in a conversation about it. However, this requires a nuanced understanding of the community dynamics and an ad strategy that respects the unique culture of each subreddit.

Reddit’s journey to monetization has been nothing short of a roller coaster. The platform dipped its toes into the ad waters back in 2006 but didn’t really dive in until a dozen years later. It wasn’t until 2018 that Reddit decided to get serious about ad tech. This late bloomer attitude saw the platform playing catch-up, adding features and tools at a breakneck pace. From mobile ads and pixel retargeting to carousel ads and more sophisticated engagement retargeting, Reddit has been like a startup on a caffeine binge, trying to build an ad infrastructure that can compete with the big boys.

The transformation has been impressive. Reddit’s ad tech evolution reads like a Silicon Valley growth spurt – rapid, intense, and full of innovation. The platform has gone from basic ad offerings to a robust suite of tools that cater to a wide range of advertiser needs. Mobile ads have become more dynamic, pixel retargeting allows for more precise ad delivery, and carousel ads provide a richer user experience. Each new feature has been a step towards making Reddit a more attractive playground for advertisers looking for engaged audiences.

Now, with DoubleVerify in the mix, Reddit isn’t just playing in the sandbox; it’s building a skyscraper. The integration of DV’s media quality authentication and other advanced measurement tools is a signal that Reddit is ready to compete on a level playing field with other social media giants. This partnership means advertisers can now expect the same level of transparency and assurance on Reddit as they would on more established platforms. It’s a bold move, positioning Reddit not just as a quirky alternative but as a serious contender in the digital advertising arena. The gamble, it seems, is starting to pay off.

The platform’s recent partnership with Sprinklr, a customer experience management platform, is another feather in its cap. As Reddit’s first advertising API partner, Sprinklr will help create more effective campaigns, allowing brands to follow conversations, optimize content, and tailor ads for maximum impact. Jonathan Flesher, Reddit’s VP of business development, is optimistic, seeing this as a way for businesses to spot trends and test ideas among Reddit’s daily user discussions.

So, what’s next for Reddit? The platform went public last March, and with its latest earnings showing $243 million in quarterly revenue, it’s clear that it’s not just surviving; it’s thriving. If Reddit’s plans to grow audiences and advertisers gain traction, the projections for ad revenue growth are impressive – a 32% increase this year and another 21% in 2025, according to New Street Research.

Reddit is no longer the rebellious teenager of the social media world. It’s stepping into adulthood, ready to charm advertisers with its unique blend of chaos and community. And with DoubleVerify by its side, it’s poised to turn the wild, wild west of user-generated content into a goldmine of advertising potential. Get ready, folks. Reddit is all grown up.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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