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Omar Oakes 

Reddit doubles down on UK with first ad campaign and country lead

Reddit doubles down on UK with first ad campaign and country lead

One year after UK launch, Reddit launches first consumer ads

Reddit has tripled its UK ad sales team a year after launching a London office and has appointed a marketer as its first UK general manager.

The social media platform has hired Laurelle Potter, the former marketing director of dating app Tinder, to be Reddit’s first UK general manager.

Potter, who joins in October, was formerly marketing director at Snap and led the EMEA launch of Snapchat Spectacles. She is tasked with leading Reddit’s UK team and setting the overall strategic direction for the country.

Potter’s early priorities include continuing to build out Reddit’s user base with a focus on marketing and partnerships, as well as help to scale Reddit’s Ads business and attracting more UK brands to the platform.

First consumer ad campaign

The company is investing significantly in the UK, which is its fastest growth region (UK active users were up 48% year-on-year on 2019) and the second-highest user base for Reddit outside of the US.

It has also launched its first consumer marketing campaign in the UK, created by Interpublic Group agency R/GA, called “Maybe Together We’ll”. There is a video ad (below) that will be shown on addressable TV, YouTube and social media, as well as out-of-home ads across London, including at Waterloo Station and 26 Tube stations.

Reddit launched a UK office in September 2020 as part of its first international expansion in 15 years.

Since then the London office, based in Holborn, has tripled its sales team from three to 20: nine people who service large advertisers and 11 on the Mid Market and Small-Medium Business teams.

The company is also creating direct selling relationships with the major advertising networks outside of the US. It has hired Susanne Schmid from Facebook to be Reddit’s global agency lead for WPP (based in London). John Baylon also joined this month from Verizon Media as head of EMEA agency development.

Harold Kljae, executive vice-president and president of global advertising at Reddit, told Mediatel News that the UK operation is planned to grow by another 50% in terms of headcount by the end of 2021.

Reddit’s “invoiced” ad revenue for the UK and EMEA has increased by more than 250% year over year, and its active advertisers in the region have increased by 55% year over year.

Advertisers big and small

The UK Government was one of the first advertisers to join the platform following its market launch last year and has been running consistent public health messages during the pandemic. Since then Reddit has also added Octopus Energy, Bitstamp, and Huel to its client roster.

Reddit did not disclose exact figures but said its ad revenue has more than tripled (up 250%) year on year.

“Even though we’re in this pandemic, based on the way our communities have connected in the UK, our user growth and the reception that we’ve had in the UK market, our hiring and our build has gone very well,” Klaje said.

Klaje would not be drawn on whether Reddit was adopting a similar playbook to fellow US tech media such as Snap and TikTok that have grown significant London-based operations in recent years.

He insisted it is “not an either/or strategy” when it comes to trying to grow ad revenue from large advertisers (most of which would buy Reddits ads via media agencies) and so-called “long-tail” smaller business who normally buy directly.

The company has also experimented with charging users for an ad-free Reddit Gold option, but Reddit still makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising.

Not safety first, but safety and

Members post content to the site that is voted up or down by other members and posts are organised into message boards known as “subreddits”, which typically comprise discussions about news, politics, gaming and a vast array of interest topics.

“We’re a community of communities,” Klaje added. “From the very start we’ve been a community based platform… we see this interaction of community members – more than 10,000+ communities – means there’s a community for everyone and for every topic.”

Also like other social media platforms, it has faced controversy over brand safety and user safety. Earlier this month it shut down a community on its site called r/NoNewNormal, in which users dismissed face masks and vaccines, for breaking Reddit’s rules on community interference.

Klaje said the issue of brand safety is “a larger topics that is happening right through society and across all platforms.”

“I don’t think [brand safety] is the number-one discussion point for us with potential new clients in the UK market…. One of these [discussion points] is a across-the-board education, about our passionate communities and product launches.”

Last month Reddit launched a Conversation Placement ad format, which sits within a conversation thread, under the original post, and above the first comment, enabling advertisers to scale reach beyond Reddit feeds and connect with users where they are the most “leaned-in.”

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