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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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19 Responses to “Reddit Homepage Advertising Beta Test Results – What I Got For $40”

Affiliate Marketer on November 26th, 2009

nice post, just submitted it to reddit 😉 on November 26th, 2009

To be honest, reddit has had sponsored posts since January and I don’t think they’ve had much of an effect on reddit’s content – at least the site’s traffic growth hasn’t reflected that.
One more problem with Reddit is that it doesn’t really target any specific group of people. The ads will probably be as ineffective as any social network’s adverts. The communities as a whole are still interested generally in technology, and there will soon be an update to target specific communities.

Billy on November 26th, 2009

Really interesting post. Since recently launching a couple of new sites I’ve been looking for new ways to drive traffic, and I’d looked at Facebook’s ads but didn’t realise Reddit also did them – will check it out!

What about Stumbleon’s ads, have you tried those?

Kevin XXL Marketing on November 26th, 2009

Hey Gyutae, Great post. Thanks for sharing. It awesome to get this type of feedback to help make spending decisions with our advertising bucks. Reddit is actually working pretty good for backlinks and visitors. Thanks for sharking and thanks for the ebook. Solid content.

Melvin on November 27th, 2009

I’d say advertising on social media sites won’t really bring much conversion mainly because they are social sites. People there are the usual surfers, people who love to bounce through websites and stuffs.

With regards to reddit, I love them. There was one time last year when they sent me gazillion of traffic. Its just like they’re not easily gamed as opposed to digg and stumbleupon.

Im trying to advrtise with them as well late this weekend and I would let you know my findings.. 🙂

poorblogger on December 2nd, 2009

Wow.. It is good opportunity to try. But a poorblogger like me can’t afford the price..
I must get more money first

Micah | SEO Specialist on December 3rd, 2009

This is a very nice post. I can see you have put hard work on your blog. I’m sure I’d be back here more often. You can come by and visit my site if you have time. See yah!

Lucas on December 4th, 2009

It is good opportunity to try. Thank You!

Chad on December 6th, 2009

An associate of mine linked me to this post and I just wanted to mention that my ad was the “Free Android Phone” affiliate offer. My ROI with that advert broke even, but a few days before launching that ad I showed a car insurance offer that profited me $29. My bid for the day was $50 and I earned $79 from the ad.

Like mentioned in this article, this type advertising is worthless for specific targeting. You basically need to know what type of people the majority of Reddit users are.

I’m sure as they add more to their ad program that targeting options will become available.

Chris Peterson on December 7th, 2009

This is very nice topic. But can you tell me one thing how much cost is taking reddit to display content in its homepage.

xyz insurance on December 7th, 2009

The traffic was great and all but did you convert? Surely that’s the true measure of any marketing activity whether it be a sale or a back link gained!

Suzanne Franco on December 7th, 2009

Hey Gyutae ~ Thanks for posting this. You did a very thorough job explaining it and in giving us the stats and I really appreciate it. Especially on down to the conversion. Traffic isn’t much good to me if they don’t do something/anything else to engage … other than read the post … right? I would hope for subscribers and ebook download for sure … did it get a lot of comments … those are possible return readers? Thanks again for the great post. *huGs* Suzanne

Joe on January 11th, 2010

Reddit has brought me tons of traffic in the past, but it’s returning traffic that I’m really looking for. Reddit users seem to go to a site, stay a minute or two, then back to Reddit and on to another site for a minute or so.

Bilal Sarwari on February 8th, 2010

I am using Reddit from last few months, i am planning to work regular on this BM, thanks for sharing this information

Ingilizce Deyimler on March 12th, 2010

Is it possible to advertise on sub reddits? Targetting problems might be solved with that to some extent.

Dennis Young on June 11th, 2010

I think traffic social media needs to be tested with some split testing. It is not a targeted traffic like we get from search engines and it can be used for branding purpose.

Sarah RN on June 24th, 2010

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this detailed review of their ad service.

I was recently thinking of trying out some social bookmarking sites, just to see if the ads would be profitable to run. It seems that it doesn’t work to well according to your review.

But I may try it anyway, because I am sure it will vary depending on the niche.

Thanks again for the screenshots and detailed stats.

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