Testing Reddit Ads for B2B Marketing

09.08.20 // Skip Reese

I want to start by giving some context about my personality (it is relevant, I swear).

I am cynical by nature. It is probably why I majored in economics in college. Want to hear a terrible joke about economists?

The First Law of Economics: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.

The Second Law of Economics: They are both wrong.

boo this man

Let me tell you why this is relevant: I was a staunch non-believer in Reddit Ads. The platform seemed a mediocre awareness play at best, and at worst a platform that could hurt a brand’s image with any misstep. I assumed Redditors had no interest in downloading technical whitepapers while digesting Star Wars Prequels memes and reading comment threads on Ask Reddit questions. At the end of the day, Reddit just seemed better suited for B2C advertising but not a space for B2B.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

Let us get into some background info: my client was willing to experiment with Reddit due to their decision to boycott Facebook advertising for July. Stashing these funds and pouring money in Facebook for August and September would have created scaling inefficiencies, so what better use of spare ad funds than Reddit experimentation?

There were two campaigns. The first drove traffic to a free sample request form (note – not a free trial, a free sample of a product). The second asked users to subscribe to an informative video series. I used the same targeting structure for both; the general recommendation was to target specific subreddits in lieu of interests.

The experiment structure looked like this:

  • Consistent targeting structure across both campaigns
  • Same conversion event: user submits a Pardot form on the Landing Page
  • Essentially the same ad copy length, around 130 characters
  • The campaign differences:
    • Free Sample campaign leveraged still images
    • Video Series Subscription campaign leveraged 15-second pre-roll videos
    • It should be noted that one is for a free sample request while the other is a subscription. This makes them inherently different in what the user derives from submitting the form.

Both campaigns ran on Facebook and Instagram in June; in July we launched these campaigns on LinkedIn and Reddit. This presented a perfect opportunity to see how Reddit measures up against the bigger social advertising platforms.

The results from the free sample campaign were pleasantly surprising, even with spend restricted to $15/day:

  • Link CTR averaged out to 0.55%, meeting the LinkedIn industry benchmarks for awareness campaigns
  • Click-to-Conversion rate was 4%, lowest among all social platforms
  • Cost per Conversion was roughly $7
    • This was on-par with Cost per Conversion from Facebook and Instagram. More importantly:
    • This Cost per Conversion was 1/20th of the cost from LinkedIn efforts
  • 55 total Free Sample Form Submissions
    • There were approximately 3x more form submissions from Reddit than from LinkedIn

Now I would be remiss if I did not admit that my video campaigns did not perform as well as my free sample campaigns. We received one conversion for the month, and the link CTR’s were hovering around 0.10%. This video campaign did enjoy success on Facebook but struggled to garner conversions on all other platforms (Instagram, LinkedIn and Reddit).

The video campaign efforts present a couple takeaways for future Reddit video ads:

  • Of all video plays, only 1/3 stuck around to the half-way point. Not only that, less than 1% of all video plays were with the sound on. So:
    • Captions are crucial, arguably more-so on Reddit than Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
      • These videos did not feature anyone speaking, so no captions were needed.
    • If you want Redditors to watch your whole video, you better grab their attention early and keep it. Easier said than done, but it is good to understand and internalize this when workshopping your video ad.
  • This also likely points to an issue with copy/creative/targeting rather than Reddit’s inefficiencies for video campaigns. Spend some time on Reddit to understand which communities/subreddits your target demographic is most active in.

July changed my perception of Reddit. If you operate a B2B company, Reddit is more than worth your consideration. It presents itself as a valuable ToFU/MoFU platform deserving of your attention, even if the spend allocation is minimal.

Our team of paid social gurus is more than happy to help get your company started with Reddit ads!

About Skip Reese

Skip is a Paid Social Coordinator here at Obility. He applies his behavioral economics background to understanding an audience as well as how to properly engage them. Outside of work, Skip enjoys tending to his vegetable garden and video games. View all Skip Reese’s posts >