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In recent weeks, including at last month's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity , representatives from a half-dozen ad agencies told CNBC they've been pitched by Reddit within the past year about the company's plans to help brands target users. CNBC also obtained a page presentation that Reddit has been sharing with advertisers, detailing the types of ad units the company is offering, with case studies from clients including Duracell, Toyota , Coca-Cola and JetBlue.
Reddit calls one of its new ad types a "top post takeover," which allows brand content to appear on the coveted front page. In the slide deck, it says companies can "own Reddit's most valuable advertising real estate for 24 hours. When users visit Reddit, your brand will be seen in the top ad slot in their feed and throughout the sidebar.
To date, the business side of Reddit hasn't been much of a focus. Reddit declined to comment on its financials.
For Reddit, luring advertisers makes perfect sense. The company has more than million monthly active users and attracts upward of 18 billion page views per month. Its users comment on current events, share articles and participate in AMA Ask Me Anything interviews with celebrities and influencers. Zubair Jandali, Reddit's vice president of brand partnerships, said in an interview that his team has grown from eight people in to 90 this year, as more advertisers chase opportunities to reach the company's expansive audience, which has doubled in the past three years.
What's going on?
Advertisers are coming to Reddit, rather than vice versa, he said. Not only is Reddit's audience massive, but the company says users spend over 16 minutes a day on the site in niche communities ranging from makeup artists to Toyota RAV4 enthusiasts. For comparison, Twitter users spend a little over six minutes daily on its site, per web traffic data company Alexa.
Facebook comes in at more than 10 minutes. That gives Reddit the kind of engagement that big brands relish, especially as they look for places to diversify their ad spending away from Google and Facebook. The online duopoly controls a combined 57 percent of the U. However, Reddit is a complicated beast. Its forums operate with little control from the company and function as self-moderating groups of "Redditors," who are often dogmatic about the company's laissez-faire approach to content. Big companies with brands and images to protect aren't so enthused by that approach.
They don't want to be linked to hate groups , leaked celebrity nude photos, or vigilante misreporting on breaking news incidents like the Boston Marathon bombing. Reddit has no choice but to grow up and address the tension directly. I think they have an old-fashioned view of who Redditors are. Advertisers are noticing a distinctive change in the company's approach. Last year, Reddit attended the advertising conference Cannes Lions for the first time, and in April the company hired Jen Wong , a senior executive at Time Inc.
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Agencies say Reddit is more aggressively pitching them with new sponsorship and ad opportunities and about trying to lock up bigger deals. The programmatic approach to digital advertising is being replaced by more of a focus on direct sales and branded content. This year, it vastly expanded its program that allows companies to own their own Reddit pages. Reddit's ads are best "when they are driving engagement and starting conversations with its users," Jandali said.
In its slide deck to agencies, Reddit has a section called "ad offerings," which details its "layered targeting approach" of how it plans to weave sponsored content into its forums. The company will launch topics in relevant subreddits or subcategories so ads reach the most specific audience possible. After that, it will widen sponsored posts to other related subreddits.
Reddit — one of the world's most popular websites — is trying to cash in through advertising
The ads that perform the best will then be extended more broadly on the site. To tie everything together, Reddit has a brand strategy team that helps write "Reddit-friendly" posts so sponsored content is placed in the proper subreddits with the right language. In addition to promoted posts on desktop and mobile, Reddit is letting marketers take over the front page of the site or a subreddit for a full day with the combination of promoted ads and banner ads on the top and side of the page.
For most of the year, "science" and "programming" are the most popular subreddits apart from "reddit. They then get displaced by "politics" as the most popular non-"reddit. This year is dominated by the launch of numerous new subreddits. By the end of the year except for a short-lived blip following the Presidential election , no one subreddit not even "reddit. From the beginning of to at least the end of , there is a continual exponential increase in the number of unique subreddits people submitted to each week.
From the beginning to the end of and following Reddit's move to Amazon AWS servers in November , Reddit more than triples in pageviews and bandwidth count. Wong is replaced by Ellen Pao in November Reddit merges with Aaron Swartz 's company Infogami. Reddit adds commenting. Team moves to San Francisco.
Save Money on Amazon With These 8 Sub-Reddits
Aaron Swartz is fired. Reddit decides to let users create their own custom reddits, or subreddits. Reddit becomes open-source. One of the most popular subreddits, "IAmA" I am a , is created. Many famous people would proceed to participate in AmAs Ask me Anything from the community. Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman leave reddit. Steve Huffman helps form Hipmunk, and Alexis helps form Breadpig. Reddit decommissions its last physical servers and moves its hosting to Amazon Web Services.
The online gift exchange RedditGifts runs for the first time. Reddit launches a revamped mobile interface featuring rewritten CSS , a new color scheme, and a multitude of improvements. Reddit introduces Reddit Gold, in order to help raise more money for the site. The Reddit Enhancement Suite is released. Reddit outsourced the Reddit search engine to Flaptor, who used its search product IndexTank.
Reddit is now free to hire a CEO, pick out an ad sales team and figure out its own route to profitability. The jailbait subreddit comes to wider attention outside Reddit when Anderson Cooper condemned the subreddit and criticizes Reddit for hosting it. Following this negative news coverage and the actual posting of the image of an underage girl , Reddit closes "jailbait". Reddit announces that it will start a hour sitewide blackout protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act.