social media how toHave you thought about promoting your product or brand on reddit?

Do you know how to engage the reddit community?

In this article I’ll show you how brands can engage on reddit and create a successful lead generation campaign using Reddit sponsored headlines.

What’s reddit?

Reddit is a website that showcases popular links and information. Reddit’s unique culture can make it hard for brands to navigate.

Redditors expect extreme transparency and authenticity from advertisers. Spam and hard selling aren’t tolerated and using either tactic will damage your brand’s reputation.

It doesn’t matter how awesome your content is. You can’t approach reddit the same way that you do Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. If you jump in and submit content blindly, you could find yourself banned or your websites blacklisted.

How Does Engagement on Reddit Work?

Engagement on reddit takes place in subreddits. Subreddits are niche communities filled with people who are passionate about a specific topic.

Examples of subreddits include:

As a business, you need to learn the ropes and focus on supporting the subreddits you join, instead of marketing to them. Think more about offering solutions, sharing resources or asking questions, and less about selling.

Subreddits are most often created and moderated by reddit community members, but in rare cases a brand creates a subreddit.

For example, last year, Ford Motor Company created the /r/FordPiDayChallenge and worked hand in hand with the reddit team to run a campaign for Pi Day on March 14.

Every 3 minutes and 14 seconds, Ford posted a math question to their subreddit. Each question included a reference to a Ford vehicle.

ford on reddit

Ford found a creative way to get involved on reddit and boost their brand’s reputation with community engagement.

Now that you understand the basics of reddit, let’s develop a lead generation campaign.

#1: Find Relevant Subreddits to Join

First, your brand needs to join reddit. When you create your account, be sure to use your brand name as your username.

Now that you’re officially part of reddit, use keywords to search for subreddits that relate to your brand, product or service. The results of each search will show you a list of subreddits like the one below related to a search on “frugal.”

search results on reddit

Your search will give you a number of subreddits from which to choose.

Click on each subreddit to find out if your brand is a good fit. As you look around the subreddit, check out the right sidebar. This is where you’ll find community stats, a description and rules that are specific to that subreddit.

sidebar on reddit

The sidebar of the /r/Frugal subreddit gives you a quick overview of the community.

Once you find a subreddit that looks promising, sort its posts by Top and All Time. This lets you easily read through the most active posts, so you can better understand the community’s conversations and what content performs best.

subreddit sort

Sorting the posts in a subreddit gives you an idea of what types of content will interest its readers/subscribers.

As you identify subreddits that fit your niche, it helps to rank them by relevance to your marketing needs so you know which ones to join.

Create a spreadsheet with the following columns and information:

  • Subreddit—Put in the link to the subreddit.
  • Avg. Active – Note the number of average active members. To find this number, sort a subreddit by ‘Top’ and ‘links from: Today’. Do some quick addition by adding up the number of comments for each post in the feed. For larger subreddits, it’s fine to round these numbers as your goal is to acknowledge and differentiate subreddits by activity.
  • Best Topics—List the top rated and most preferred content. You found this earlier when you sorted the posts by Top and All Time.
  • Value—Based on the previous data and some looking around, assign a value (1-10) to the subreddit based on time investment. For example, a 10 might be a subreddit where your product or service would be well received, generate a lot of discussion and drive traffic to your content. A 5 might be a subreddit that doesn’t have too many relevant engagement options, but does have a tight-knit engaged community.

A completed row will look like this:

research table

Use the information about each subreddit to rank its relevance to your marketing.

When you’ve rated each subreddit, subscribe to the ones that are the best fit with your strategy.

#2: Create a Multireddit

To easily monitor and search the conversations in your subreddits, you’ll want to create a multireddit.

A multireddit is basically a custom list of subreddits or subjects you want to have quick access to. Creating a multireddit is very simple.

Step 1: Find and open the left-hand sidebar on the reddit home page ( If you can’t find the sidebar, it might be minimized (which is very subtle). This is what it looks like minimized:

multireddit sidebar bar

The minimized left-hand sidebar can be tricky to find.

Click on the bar to expand it and it should look like this:

multireddit homepage

Expand your left-hand sidebar to create a multireddit.

Step 2: Click the Create button and enter a name for your multireddit.

create a multireddit

Enter a name and click Create to start a multireddit.

Click the Create button again and you’ll be able to set the privacy level of your multireddit and populate it with the subreddits.

In this example, I named the multireddit “socialmonitoring.” To add a subreddit, simply click into the Add Subreddit text field at the bottom and enter the name of the subreddit (ex; for /r/frugal just enter “frugal”). Now it’s added to your multireddit!

Add all of the related subreddits you want to monitor.

For the socialmonitoring multireddit, I populated it with frugal-related subreddits:

name a multireddit

Multireddits let you keep track of the subreddits that are most relevant to you.

Once you’re done, the newly created multireddit shows in the left-hand sidebar on your reddit home page.

multireddits in sidebar

Remember, if you can’t see this sidebar, it might just be minimized.

#3: Identify Engagement Opportunities

Now you can find conversations to join by using your multireddit to run a keyword search on multiple subreddits at one time.

Click on your multireddit to see its feed. This is where all of the subreddit feeds you added mesh together.

Locate the search bar in the top right corner.

multireddits search box

Find your search box.

When you click on the search box, the following yellow box appears. Check this box to limit your search to your multireddit.

multireddits search bar

Multireddits let you search multiple subreddits with one keyword.

Tip: Reddit’s search query operators are similar to Google’s search query operators. For example, you can search “savings AND tips AND electricity” for posts that include these three keywords.

Just like with any other platform, set aside 5-10 minutes a day to run searches in your multireddit for keywords that relate to your business. As you search, you’ll find opportunities for marketing and discussion.

Spend another 20-25 minutes redditing—or acting on—these opportunities. Submit appropriate content, provide insightful answers, ask questions related to your industry and respond to people who engage with you.

Remember, engage as a redditor instead of a marketer. Your goal is to align with the community values, social norms and content preferences of each subreddit you participate in.

When you receive comments or respond to users, there’s a little in-box notification, known as an orangered, that appears in the top right corner of your page.

orangered alert

When your mail icon is orangered, it means you have comments and you should respond.

While it’s not vital to constantly monitor your orangered, you should definitely check it every so often so you can respond to incoming comments in a reasonable amount of time.

The entire monitoring process takes a relatively short amount of time (about 30 minutes per day). The exception is if you’re following up with a post or participating in a discussion section. Involved conversations obviously need more of your time.

Tip: Limiting your focus to smaller subreddits lets you reach people with a targeted interest in your niche. Base your content on proper research and the chances of acceptance and engagement increase.

#4: Create a Reddit Sponsored Headline Campaign to Generate Leads

You’ve done your research and vetted your best options for engagement. Now that you’re engaging on reddit, your ads won’t seem out of place when they show up in your subreddits.

Let’s say your business offers something related to frugalness, such as a cheap energy alternative.

After some quick keyword research, you find a recent and relevant post on the subject. In the comment section of the post, you notice there’s a need for an evergreen guide on how to get energy bills as low as possible.

Instead of linking to an existing guide by someone else, create your own. House the guide on your website and use reddit’s self-serve advertising platform to submit it as a targeted sponsored headline to drive traffic to your site and generate leads.

Create Your Sponsored Headline

To create your sponsored headline, head on over to reddit’s advertising page and click on Create an Ad.

reddit advertising page

Go to reddit’s advertising page to start creating your ad.

The following screen appears, where you can customize your ad.

naming reddit ads

Start by naming your ad and giving it a custom URL.

The promotion is broken into three simple sections:

  • Title: This is your headline. You want to tailor it for each subreddit you submit your ad to. For this example, the title “The Eco-Friendly Energy Saving Guide, inspired by /r/frugal” creates a connection with the subreddit I’m targeting.
  • Post Type: You can choose to post a link or text ad. To drive traffic from reddit to your site, you want to select “link.” A text post is hosted on the reddit domain, so all traffic remains on reddit. This is useful for sparking discussions or gathering research/feedback/ideas for a product.
  • URL: This is where you link to your resource or landing page. I linked to the energy saving guide I created. To capture lead information, gate your content with a form that asks visitors to subscribe to your newsletter as a prerequisite to receiving the download.

After filling out this information, click the Next button to reach the campaign dashboard.

Manage the Campaign for Your Sponsored Headline

From the campaign dashboard, you set the following options for how and when your sponsored headline runs:

  • Start: The start date for the ad campaign
  • End: The end date for the ad campaign
  • Duration: The length of the campaign (For this example, it’s 12 days.)
  • Price: The standard CPM price: 75 cents per 1,000 impressions
  • Budget: Your budget for the campaign (For this example, I entered $25.00.)
  • Impressions: The number of impressions you receive for your budget (For this example, I receive 33,333 impressions for $25.00.)
  • Targeting: Reddit sponsored headlines can either run on the default front page of reddit for any user to see or they can be targeted to show in a specific subreddit (For this example, I checked Targeted and entered “Frugal” as the name of the subreddit I’m targeting.)
reddit campaign dashboard

The campaign dashboard allows you to customize your ads.

After you set your campaign options, click the Create button and the campaign dashboard condenses into a table that makes it easy to review your campaign.

reddit ad options

This is your campaign table.

The table also shows two additional fields that let you further customize your sponsored headline.

  • Look and Feel: This is where you upload a 70×70 pixel image to accompany your headline. Larger images will be resized.
  • Options: From here you can disable comments. Remember, your sponsored headline acts just the same as any other submission link on reddit. Anyone can comment and leave positive or negative feedback. Use your discretion, but remember that enabling comments makes your comment versatile and social.

If you’re happy with how you’ve set your options, click the Save Options button and the following screen appears:

ad payment

This is your campaign dashboard.

You’ll notice the image is now included in the preview. To finalize your sponsored headline, just locate the Pay button under Total Budget and follow the basic payment instructions. After payment, your sponsored headline goes through a brief approval process. Once approved, it’ll run for the specified campaign duration.

As the ad runs, you can easily go back and extend or shorten the length of your campaign and increase or decrease your budget. You can also use the Add New button to strategically target multiple subreddits with the same ad.

Tip: You can also use a sponsored headline to run a contest. For example, for a contest to name your new product, make the sponsored headline a text ad, which opens up a thread on reddit where redditors enter by submitting their entry as a comment. You choose the winning name based on the most upvoted comment/entry. This allows the community to publicly engage with your brand, and lets you easily follow up with an acknowledgment to the subreddit for helping you.

Campaign Follow-up

During the campaign, respond to every comment. Demonstrate your expertise by sharing tips and tools and foster a discussion in which you’re seen as a source of reliable information. The result is win-win: You help fellow redditors in a niche community, while driving traffic and leads to your website.

Add “reddit” to your UTM campaigns and you can use your analytics software to monitor exactly how many redditors became leads or completed goals after visiting your website—an easy way to determine your ROI.


Reddit isn’t a social network where brands can post generic ads and churn out propaganda-rich content. It is a place where brands can learn from a targeted community and come away with actionable ideas to generate leads and revenue.

If you take the time to research and monitor subreddits, you’ll find relevant marketing opportunities. Your engagement with redditors drives traffic, generates leads and conversions and increases brand awareness.

What do you think? Have you integrated reddit into your marketing mix? What advice can you offer? Please share below and I’ll see you in the comments!

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  • This reads as a guide for how to use Reddit and how to set up an ad on Reddit. As for getting actual traction using Reddit – I couldn’t find much in your article Jesse. And that’s what I expected to come here and find. Here’s why.

    1. Unless your brand is as massive as Ford and you can actually get the Reddit team to work with you, set up ads, and drive traffic to your subreddit – you may as well opt out of it. You need to be a brand that’s willing to spend big and invest a lot of time and resources.

    2. Reddit is based on anonymity – so no one is scared of saying anything or calling anyone out. If they don’t like your brand, they’ll call you out like crazy and let’s be real, Reddit’s culture is to keep “brand engagements” and things like that out, and for it to be a completely people centric community where real people talk to each other. Each time Dorito’s or Lego or someone tried to play a trick on the community and submit an image to /r/funny that had their brand at the center – they were immediately called out on it (maybe even falsely, who knows) – and therefore, making the brand look bad.

    3. Reddit makes stuff go viral. It’s the front-page of the internet. It can make a bad brand engagement go viral. Remember Amy’s Baking Company? If a small business screws up with their “Reddit experiment” – it’s going to backfire SO bad and you’ll get such amount of negative publicity that it’ll be hard for you to be taken seriously online again. Of course, some would say negative publicity is still publicity, but I don’t think a social media marketer would risk that with his brand.

    4. I’m surprised you didn’t mention /r/IAMA. It’s a place where a noted person of repute goes and answers questions. Of course, this is mostly people like Ellen DeGeneres or Kevin Spacey or whatever, but from time to time you’ll have more “normal” people – people who work in an interesting place or have an interesting job or have been through an interesting period in their life go and answer questions for the community. Of course, you can’t go there claiming you’re a marketer who grew a newsletter list by 300%, because they don’t care. If however, you are a social media marketer who helps say, an auto-garage with their online presence, you can probably try and find a veteran auto-mechanic, and your AMA can be about the mechanic. A mechanic from ABC auto-garage who has worked on some very special engines in his life and still uses old-school ways to fix cars. That MIGHT pique the interest of some people, I’m just thinking off the top of my head here. AMA is the only place where a specialist company/brand might find some sort of traction and actually get recognition for it and some engagement, rather than a fleeting presence for a while.

    5. If you ask me, absolutely honestly – brands should stay off Reddit. I created a brand account on there and I post very sparsely, offering help, guidance and tips from time to time, but I am never too in your face otherwise they get annoyed and there’s backlash. It’s the only way that works. Be a human, help people out there, 1 out of your 10 comments can be about endorsing your brand as long as those other 9 comments help establish some credibility in the field you’re about.

    And to be fair, we can let Reddit be untouched. It’s an amazing place with intelligent people who enjoy having good discussion, there’s no need for brands to force themselves into it, because eventually it just ruins the experience for the users.

  • Akash Agarwal

    Today reddit uses as an valuable social media site. For it’s very important to make reddit leads. Thanks for sharing such useful topic.

  • Ben Greenfield

    If I were interested in hiring a Reddit marketing ninja for my business, do you have recommendations for where to find good and trustworthy people for that?

  • ScarletFire

    So if you’ve written some great articles on your site that you know should add value to a particular subreddit, how do you go about posting links without being seen as a self serving spammer (even if the content is really relevant)?
    I was given the distinct impression that posting links to one’s own site is not cool, after I did just that in an attempt to be helpful (the content I was linking to was after all, my most popular post on that subject)

  • Jesse Aaron

    No problem, thanks Akash!

  • Jesse Aaron

    In the self-promotion guidelines it states that no more than 10% of your submission should be from the same domain. If you have a really relevant article for the right subreddit and you submit it once that should be fine. But in terms of organic submission, if you have great content and redditors are aware of your site (via self-serve), you may earn organic submissions from others.

    If you create something valuable on your site that is beneficial to a subreddit and use a self-serve ad to promote it that’s completely aligned with the rules.

  • Jesse Aaron

    Hey Avtar thanks for sharing your opinions! Let me try to address your points:

    1) Many brands that have performed well (Fathead, Bridgford, New Relic, authors, musicians, etc.) in the self-serve space are nowhere near as large as Ford.

    2) Oreo and Old Spice have done that effectively. Just because a few brands aren’t successful, doesn’t mean every brand has no idea how to create clever and timely memes. In regards to anonymity, if you’re interacting on your own self-serve it’s common knowledge you’re an employee of that brand. Marketers are completely aware there’s a chance of receiving criticism, it’s the internet after-all, but if you’ve taken the time to study a subreddit (social norms, preferred content, etc) and tailored your content to that criteria, it should be well received. And nothing is wrong with constructive criticism.

    3) Brands screw up on Facebook and Twitter as well. They can have a PR crisis on any social media platform. I’ve noticed reddit is a great medium to remedy any type of communication/marketing mishap (check out the Fathead campaign).

    4) You’re right, AMA has a ton of potential if a non-celebrity has an ‘odd-enough’ occupation. However, there is CasualIAMA as an alternative route. Also, it might make more sense for a mechanic specialist to host the AMA in a more niche subreddit like /r/cars. I think AMAs should not be thought of as a primary or sustainable marketing avenue though, as the best ones arise from genuinely interested people. Now, you could run a self-serve AMA for a product you created, such as an author writing a book (see H.A. Goodman who ran a self-serve for a 99c kindle and had over 450 comments)

    5) A lot of brands, small and large, have many positive experiences. I’m not sure what your brand is or the type of content your submitting, so I can’t speak to that point. I do agree with your note about helping each other, offering insight, and establishing credibility. Also, there’s a difference between ‘forcing yourself’ and gradually assimilating into a sub-reddit and providing valuable/timely/relevant content that aligns with the rules of reddit.

  • Jesse Aaron

    I’m not aware of any reddit marketing ninja breeding grounds but I think if a marketer allocates some time to learn about the self-promotion and self-serve policies & the social norms and preferred content of relevant subreddits, they should be able to craft some creative ideas 🙂

  • Reddit is a great online community, BUT before you start Reddit marketing initiatives make sure you have a solid understanding of how the community works and how members interact. It’s a very unique community that can be hostile towards companies that don’t understand how the site operates and solely see it as a marketing grounds.

    Avtar Ram Singh has some very valid points in his comment. I suggest reading his comment.

  • ScarletFire

    That’s really helpful, thank you. I guess I was just unlucky and encountered a really stroppy reddit user. He didn’t leave a great impression, but I’m now tempted to go back and lurk around a few subreddits to see if I can pick up the subtle intricacies of reddit etiquette. Many thanks, Alan

  • Jesse Aaron

    No problem! Yes, I’d have to know more details about your encounter to provide a circumstantial suggestion, but you have the right idea to consult reddiquette (they have a whole page dedicated to it). If you’re submitting something that is aligned with reddit’s rules and the subreddit’s rules I would bet you’d see less ‘stroppy’ redditors for starters. Try to identify content patterns and preferences. I think that’s a common thing to overlook when we have expectations, but the results don’t match up.

  • Jesse Aaron

    Thanks for the comment! You made an important point. In the very first paragraphs of this article I explained: “As a business, you need to learn the ropes and focus on supporting the subreddits you join, instead of marketing to them. Think more about offering solutions, sharing resources or asking questions, and less about selling.” There are educational links included as well to reddit’s official FAQ, self-promotion, and reddiquette for readers to reference.

    Also, I responded to Avtar’s opinions below.

    What has your reddit experience been like?

  • Thanks for your response to both mine and Avtar’s comment. We use Reddit, but more so for news updates and content curation. Occasionally we chime in about our services, but only when it’s appropriate. In essence you have to be very careful and selective with your marketing on Reddit.

  • Barryrbarber

    Thanks for the information, Jesse. As a fan of Reddit, I hope it remains a community free of most traditional marketing and advertising. Your suggestion to first become a part of the Reddit culture is invaluable, and I plan to create a multireddit of my own following your instructions. Thanks, again.

  • I’ve been considering using Reddit for such a long time, but never find the inspiration. Now your article has put me in the right path, so BIG thank you.

  • Interesting points from @beta21:disqus and interesting responses from @jesseaaron:disqus, thanks to this open discussion from both I’m getting a much better understanding of how Reddit works.

  • Thank you for sharing your insights, Jesse! I’ve learned a lot about reddit both in your article and in your comments here.

  • Thanks for the response @jesseaaron:disqus. I’m on board with the whole brands performing on Reddit from time to time and being able to pull it off, but having been a regular on there for a couple of years now, I’ve seen a ton of people do it wrong and get called out for it. Sure, one could say that the effect is the same as that on Facebook/Twitter – but on Twitter / FB at least they’re doing it on their own page in their own space and it’s people who have opted to follow them and get their updates who are being exposed to the same.

    On Reddit however, they’re going out onto a public platform and doing so – and therefore the pressure of performing and not looking silly is extremely high. And since you seem like a Redditor yourself, I’m pretty sure you know that if anything, Reddit is never about constructive criticism. 😉 Sure – you’ll have a couple of voices in the crowd who might give you some, but on the whole it will be a wild ride.

    Agree with you on the points about AMAs and how niche subreddits can also be picked, I was just trying to bring up the AMA format in itself. Perhaps I’m the cautious kind, but when it comes to my brand I’d much rather let it organically get to Reddit and then spread through a regular user, rather than trying to force the issue and get a result. But no risk and no reward I guess, and each to their own. 😉

  • Jesse Aaron

    No problem Cindy, reddit is always a fun topic – thanks for having me on SME!

  • Jesse Aaron

    Awesome! Good luck Antonio and let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

  • Jesse Aaron

    Anytime Barry and thanks for highlighting that part. It’s definitely a vital perspective to have and while it may seem like a balancing act of respecting communities & tailoring content, I think it can also be seen as a test of adaptation as SMM evolves. And good luck with the multireddit, feel free to ask me any follow-up questions!

  • Wow! This is an amazing post, Jesse. I’ve been a Reddit browser for a few months. Initially, I was turned off by the 90’s looking design…but the more time I spent there, the more I loved it!

    About a week ago, I started contributing to some of the subreddits. I’ve been trying to think of ways to market my company there but was afraid of being burned at the stake, haha. Like some of the other comments have said, the community can be brutal towards brands and marketers.

    These are some really great tips. Can’t wait to try them 🙂

  • Shared this guide all over the shop, one of THE best guides to Reddit I’ve ever come across, Jesse I’d be honored to have you do a followup post with me on this! – Do an actual case study using this kind of content creation and delivery method 🙂

  • Hey Jesse,

    Thanks a lot for sharing that valuable info about Reddit!
    I never used that social platform before, but after reading your post I
    might give Reddit Ads a try.

    So far I’ve been using the paid advertising of facebook,
    twitter, and linked in. My results were mixed. The best ROI I had on linked in
    (which I expected so) because I am promoting an ebook written on a very
    specific niche – in other words I am the only one that write such an ebook for
    my particular province (I’m in Canada). But the thing is, since it is too
    specific, it has a limited number of people interested. Still the ROI is about
    15% for Linked In, but for facebook and twitter is much lower than that. So
    that being said, what % of ROI you get through Reddit – if you had experience
    with selling products or services in a very unique niches?

    Thanks again Jesse, you can keep my email in your newsletter