Reddit Homepage Advertising Beta Test Results – What I Got For $40
November 26, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park
It’s every webmaster’s dream to go popular on social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, and Reddit. A front page feature on any of these sites brings a flood of new traffic – thousands of visits in a single day. Of course, that kind of reward attracts a lot of competition and the social sites are thus protected by tough voting algorithms. You not only need good viral content and a large network of friends to help you, but also a lot of luck. Hitting it big on social media does not come easy.
Enter the Reddit Self-Serve Advertising Program. A few weeks back, Reddit announced that it will be opening up its homepage for anyone willing to pay. How does it work? Advertisers bid for the space at the top of the Reddit homepage, where the adverts pretty much look the same as regular Reddit listings, only they’re labeled as “sponsored links” and have a border and blue background. The ads should get a ton of visibility. Here’s an example of what they look like:
The bidding process for the advertising space is actually quite interesting. Advertisers bid a certain amount per day, anywhere between $20 and $9,999.99. All of the money is then placed into a big pool, and advertisers get a proportional amount of exposure based on how much they bid compared to everyone else. For example, if you bid the daily minimum of $20 and there are 9 other advertisers, each bidding $20 as well, then your ad will show up 10% of the time.
Of course it’s be a lot more complicated than that. While this bidding system is great for Reddit’s income, it does add a bit of uncertainty for potential advertisers. How much can you expect to get for your money? There’s a lot of outside factors involved – including how many other advertisers there are and how much they’re bidding.
So how do you know whether or not Reddit advertising is worth your while? You don’t. Like with any other advertising, you just have to try it and see if it sticks. Getting in early while there are less advertisers will likely give you an advantage.
The Reddit self-serve advertising platform is not yet open to the public, but I did manage to get an invitation to the beta. I decided to throw $40 into it for a day and analyze the results. In the rest of this post, I’ll describe the process and outline my findings.
My Results with Reddit Advertising
Setting up a promotion using the Reddit self serve system was very easy. Just fill out a form with title, URL, duration, and bid amount and you’re good to go.
Once you create your ad, the Reddit team will review and approve/reject it. You do need to submit two days in advance of when you want to start.
I decided to promote a recent article I wrote here on Winning the Web called 3 Reasons Why Google Needs to Buy Twitter in Order to Survive. After $40 and 24 hours, these were the results.
In 24 hours, my listing was shown 26,050 times (to 3,187 unique visitors). The link in my ad was clicked 419 times, resulting in a unique click through rate of 13.15%. Not bad – that’s about $0.09 per click.
Let’s take a look at the quality of that traffic by analyzing Google Analytics data for Reddit in the same time period.
As you can see, there does seem to be a discrepancy between the visits in GA and the clicks in Reddit. It could be that the platforms are using different tracking methods and/or some of the clicks are not necessarily being interpreted as visits in GA. Regardless, you can see that the quality of the traffic from Reddit isn’t particularly great – an average time on site of only 19 seconds, although the bounce rate is low and visitors load 2.11 pages per visit. Furthermore, I did not gain any new RSS feed subscribers nor did anyone download my free Internet marketing e-book.
The lackluster results could be because I promoted a rather controversial Internet / tech article on the homepage of Reddit. Something more general and interesting for Reddit’s demographic would probably fare better.
Other Advertisers on Reddit
Since this new program involves a bidding war between different advertisers, the competition does affect prices. See the breakdown of statistics for all advertisers in recent days.
When there were 28 advertisers on 11/19, CPM was $0.92 and CPC was $0.13. However when the number of advertisers decreased to 13 on 11/23, CPM went down to $0.43 and CPC to $0.04. It’ll be interesting to see how these numbers change when even more advertisers come on board.
There does seem to be a diverse set of advertisers so far in the beta program. Here are a few running on the Reddit homepage right now – including a promo for a giveaway, a social media article, an affiliate offer landing page for a free phone, reddit t-shirts, website software, and an ad for a DVD movie on Amazon.
Advertising on the Reddit homepage is a great way to get social traffic to your site fast without having to play the social voting game. The program is still in beta but it’s definitely worth a shot once it launches (in a few weeks). Since you get more for your money when there are less advertisers, it’s best to get in early (as an advertiser myself, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this). Based on my very small experiment, the traffic doesn’t seem very sticky or targeted, but test what works and scale up your campaigns once you find something that clicks with the audience.
What do you think about the Reddit self-serve advertising platform? A good model worth trying out? Leave your thoughts and experiences in a comment here.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.