Note: This was featured as part of our Web Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:20 am ET for your dose of social media & digital marketing news.

According to Amazon’s analytic service Alexa, Reddit is the sixth most visited website globally, and the second most visited site in the United States. These astounding numbers should make Reddit a gold mine for marketers, but the site has struggled to gain traction despite several updates to its advertising platform.

Reddit has steadily been building up advertising capabilities on their platform for the last couple of years. With over 330 million users, Reddit has moved from the “dark corner of the internet” to its “front page.” However, Reddit’s users are notorious for attacking public figures and advertisers who post on the site, and brands are wary of the bad publicity.

The advertising potential of Reddit is huge. The site hosts hundreds of thousands of subreddits that are dedicated to niche interests and run by passionate users. While these subreddits are an exciting opportunity that brands can tap into, not all of the posts on Reddit are strictly PG. The users have a reputation for posting “not-safe-for-work” content, using profanity, and trolling other users. Brands are concerned that their advertisements will appear next to inappropriate or controversial posts which will tarnish the company’s image. Last year, many companies abandoned YouTube after realizing that the site was playing branded advertisements alongside highly undesirable content. This has left corporations wary of advertising on a site with the same potential for a PR disaster.

Self-Serve Ads Platform

Reddit has responded to brand concerns by launching a new “self-serve” ads platform last March and another update this month. The redesign features included a new, visually appealing interface, post-pay billing, and improved analytics software. After the update, advertisers were able to allow multiple creatives to be used per campaign, as well personalize the date ranges for ads, view ad spend, and analyze the impression click metrics.

Native Promoted Posts

Earlier this month, Reddit announced the launch of native promoted posts for its mobile app.

The mobile app could prove to be lucrative to advertisers, since it is the most popular way its vast user base accesses content. Logged-in app users also spend 30 percent more time per day than users who log in from desktop, and 80 percent of app users don’t access Reddit on desktop. Reddit’s promoted posts will run in-feed on iOS and Android apps.

In-app promoted posts will have all the elements of a standard Reddit post, including upvotes, downvotes and comment threads. The native mobile ads will also include comments, which was not possible before on the mobile ads.

Ads on Reddit can be targeted by user interest, subreddit, location, device and time of day. Locations and subreddits can also be excluded from targeting.

Native promoted posts became available on iOS on March 19, and have rolled out to Android in the following weeks.

Alleviating Safety Concerns

The company has also developed a “whitelisting” software that will choose and monitor safe Reddit threads. Advertisements will only populate on the clean pages, and the software will stop an ad from posting if the integrity of the thread is compromised. Reddit hopes that this feature will encourage advertisers to place their trust (and their money) on the safety of the website.

All of these behaviors indicate that Reddit is giving advertisers a way to reach its app users with native in-feed ads.

Do you think Reddit can convince brands that its platform is safe for marketing?

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