The Flying Developer

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06 Feb 2012
Reddit Advertising: It Went Okay

Back at the start of January I promised a follow-up post on how my dogfooding experiment went. Sadly, the business model I went with (taking pre-orders to fund a print run) didn’t work out as well as I hoped. Even though I avoided the up-front cost of getting the shirts printed, I hadn’t factored in how much I would have to reasonably spend on publicity/advertising to make the project a success. Seeing as it was an all-or-nothing deal, spending hundreds on advertising that I might not see anything back from turned out to be too much of a risk. I did run one campaign though, and I think it’s worth talking about here.

A quick recap: My plan was to sell t-shirts to Starcraft 2 fans. My primary audience for this was /r/starcraft, which has 80,000 members. To this end, I looked into Reddit’s self-serve advertising service.

Reddit advertising works on a proportional bidding system. On any given day, you can place a bid to get your ad shown. 48 hours before the start of that day, they total up all the bids and give your ad a proportion of pageviews equal to your bid’s fraction of that day’s total from all advertisers. So if I bid $50 for a day and so does one other person, we get half of the pageviews each. It’s good in that you get to set your own budget, but the downside is that you don’t know the totals and therefore can’t predict how much exposure your ad will get beforehand.

For my own part, I decided to set up a campaign that ran over a weekend on /r/starcraft with a budget of $50 a day. Here’s how it went:

You can see from the graph on the left that I got on average 5k unique impressions every hour. Not bad! What’s more interesting is the number of clicks. Initially the clicks were very high indeed, but each subsequent day they decreased. I imagine this is because the same redditors come back every day, and so the ones that have already clicked on an ad won’t do so again next time. I don’t know if this pans out for a longer campaign, but I’m inclined to stick to the short format to combat the risk of stagnation.

I got 12 full coversions (i.e. people placing orders) from the campaign, which if I’d actually converted to sales would have covered the costs of the advertising and netted me some profit to boot. Overall, definitely worth my money.

I have some plans for reviving my shop in the next few months, and when I do I’ll definitely be advertising it on Reddit again. I’ll be posting about it on here if everything goes well.

Thanks for reading! If you like my writing, you may be interested in my book: Healthy Webhook Consumption with Rails

David at 10:00


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