Reddit to let advertisers sponsor its user-generated content

Reddit to let advertisers sponsor its user-generated content

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reddit, the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet”, has taken an interesting step in native advertising this week, announcing that it will soon be allowing companies to sponsor user-submitted posts.

To date, the phenomenally successful online community of 240 million has made very little money from its user base. But in a bid to change that, as of 4th August, Reddit will debut a new type of ad called Promoted User Posts.


A Reddit administrator explains on the site: “In conversations with many advertisers, we often hear that Redditors have already rallied around brands and products they genuinely like, and advertisers want to know how they can be part of that. But at the same time, we want to ensure that our communities remain free and user-controlled.”

How Promoted User Posts will work:

  • A Reddit user creates a post with brand-relevant content
  • A brand notices the post and indicates to the Reddit sales team that they’re interested in promoting the post
  • The sales team contacts the author of the post to get explicit permission to use the post as part of a promoted user post
  • If permission is given, a promoted user post is created by copying over the content and votes of the original post into a new promoted user post (the comments will link to the same thread).
  • The original post will remain where it was originally uploaded. The promoted user post comment section will link to the original comments section.

What’s critical is that posts will only be promoted with the explicit consent of the creator. Should they accept, they won’t be paid, but will instead receive a lifetime subscription to Reddit Gold; a paid feature that brings with it extra benefits on the platform.


Currently, brands can create native advertising on Reddit in the form of posts containing a ‘promoted’ tag, but the opportunity to sponsor organic user-generated posts will give advertisers a fresh approach to authenticity with potential consumers.

Speaking to Ad Age, Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, explains his reasons for wanting to monetise organic posts. “Reddit is a platform where you can call people out on it. And a lot of traditional advertising feels like we’re being taken advantage of and nobody likes that. But when advertisers come with honest intentions we see a much higher level of engagement with the brand. We don’t see hostility and we have valuable connections.

“This isn’t traditional display advertising,” he argues. “This is different and more personable. You have to bring your A game here and if you do, it works amazingly.”

Reddit says it is putting together a team of content strategist, to alert brands to relevant sponsorship opportunities.

The announcement is likely to be met with some resistance from the Reddit community, but for advertisers, Promoted User Posts could represent a very interesting opportunity.

You may also be interested to read our earlier post on native advertising.