Providing Audience Insights to the ‘Front Page of the Internet’

Reddit is known by its community as the “front page of the internet” and is one of the top 10 most commonly used sites. It provides a topic du jour for readers to engage with other Redditors for information, entertainment and comradery. If something has gone “viral” lately, there is a good chance that it started within a Reddit thread (or “subreddit,” as the communities are known). From pop-culture, to parenting and the popular “Ask Me Anything” interview content, Reddit is a place for communities to gather and discuss the things they care about.

When Reddit was looking for a solution to help it better understand the diversity of its audience while still protecting its data privacy, it turned to Q for Publishers

The Challenge:

With over 330MM active monthly users, Reddit is the perfect place for consumers to connect and for advertisers to engage their target audience. However, Reddit does not collect any personally identifiable information about its community members, and wanted a different way to help advertisers understand the value of the audiences visiting Reddit’s active communities.

Why Q for Publishers?

Reddit is home to more than 138,000 active communities — it’s such a volume that Reddit employs an in-house cartographer whose job is to understand the types of discussions taking place within its network of communities, map them, and categorize them. As culture and current events evolve across the world, communities form around every topic imaginable. The volume and real-time nature of that change makes it important for Reddit to understand those shifts in the conversation.

In this complex, high-volume and ever-changing environment, Reddit was looking for an audience intelligence tool that could help it match advertisers to audiences they wanted to reach on the site. At the top of Reddit’s consideration list for the insights tool were key factors:

  1. Ease of use — the tool had to be intuitive enough to give direct access to the front-line teams responding to advertiser questions and RFPs.
  2. Near real-time data — with the pace of change on Reddit, they couldn’t rely on traditional audience platforms that could only deliver reports 30-45 days after the fact.
  3. Granular segmentation of the data — with the size and volume of its communities, Reddit needed a tool that could directly measure audiences down to the page or content level.

Q for Publishers checked all the boxes.

“In addition to its ease-of-use for account coordinators and managers looking for user-friendly tools to help respond to RFPs quickly,” said Roxy Young, VP of Marketing at Reddit, “Q for Publishers gives us the ability to analyze continuously fresh data. We use it to cut the data at extremely granular levels to understand the behavioral characteristics, demographics, and interests of our massive user base — all while keeping consumers’ data completely private. It’s an extremely valuable tool for us.”

How Reddit Uses Audience Insights to Increase Sales Revenue:

Reddit gives advertisers the opportunity to reach the right audience in a contextually relevant place, enabling them to align with and activate their most passionate advocates.

Identifying the most relevant Reddit communities and audience for a given advertiser to engage with is where Q for Publishers comes in. When Reddit suggests that brands join a conversation, they leverage the Audience Planner tool to help characterize an audience in terms of size, geographics, themes and content that might resonate. “We can say this community has grown X amount in the last 6 months, the audience looks like this, the nature of the conversation is this, and it would be a huge opportunity for you, advertiser, to join this conversation,” said Young. “Further, Reddit’s Brand Partnerships team uses our audience intelligence tools to develop pre-sales pitches and respond to RFPs with turnaround times as tight as a couple of days.”

Without Quantcast’s solution, Reddit would have limited demographic information to share with advertisers. With Q for Publishers, the team can characterize their audiences in terms of size, geographics, themes and content that might relate to a specific partner.

Reddit has scaled the deployment of Q for Publishers to support more than 80 direct ad sellers.

Speed and Efficiency:

When you are chasing advertising RFPs, the ability to respond to inquiries within the hour or day is mission critical.

Reddit has found that with Q for Publishers, it can understand its incredibly diverse audience in an operationally efficient tool that reduces the workload significantly, allowing Reddit to respond to advertiser inquiries faster than ever before. “One of the more valuable aspects of Q for Publishers for us is the ease of use and its regular update on consumer data,” mentions Young. “With it, we can look at the data and pull exactly what we need without having to run 20 queries on other platforms, which reduces the workload significantly.”

Surprising Results?

One example of how Reddit has used Quantcast’s solution was an effort to better understand and highlight its larger female-oriented communities — helping advertisers shed perceptions that the site skews mostly to a male audience. This granular approach to insights has also enabled the sales team to tap into new verticals. Young says, “Q for Publishers helps Reddit penetrate verticals such as FinTech by proving we can reach non-endemic audiences — we wouldn’t have been able to win those deals otherwise.”

Reddit’s ad business has more than doubled year-over-year, with 5x growth in revenue over the last three years. Using an audience insights tool like Q for Publishers that uses pseudonymous data has enabled Reddit to balance the need to protect the privacy of its users while helping characterize the composition and value of that audience to potential advertisers.