The car manufacturer's "Think Faster" campaign featured stars such as Elizabeth Banks and Liza Koshy answering questions from Redditors live – "Ask Me Anything" style – while zooming 120 mph or more in an Audi sports car. Reddit says the redesign of its website and native video ad offering have significantly increased engagement from users.
The data from the campaign (more on that in a bit) is significant because it shows metrics for Audi before and after Reddit redesigned its website and native video player. More importantly for Reddit, the figures hint that its grand plan for attracting more ad dollars from Madison Avenue after securing $200 million of funding from investors might be working.
Audi initially signed up for two episodes for its "Think Faster" campaign in September 2017 and featured Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks; it reupped for two more episodes in December with Issa Rae and Olivia Munn. And in May, the company returned with YouTube Liza Koshy (fastest person to hit 10 million subscribers) and renowned chef David Chang; the last two episodes were shown on Reddit's new website and new native video player.
"Reddit is a bit of an unusual platform because there is a live audience and it's almost the heart of social; there has to be a conversation," Ken Bracht, director of brand marketing for Audi, says. "And yes, it's a buzzword, but authenticity is important. We knew if we wanted to do interviews and have it live that the most authentic way of asking questions on the internet was to use Reddit."
Previous "Think Faster" episodes required users to click-to-expand the promoted post in order to watch the AMA. Views for the first two episodes stood at about 1.3 million; the next two saw 2 million views. The last two, which were shown on Reddit's redesigned website, saw some 3 million views, the company says. Those posts also saw 4,000-plus comments, or three times more than episodes one through four.
Episodes five and six also saw 8-times more engagement on desktop, and 17-times more engagement on mobile, the company says. Muhtayzik Hoffer handled the campaign for Audi.
Bracht says the goal of the campaign was to drive awareness, not sales. "This campaign was never meant to drive immediate consideration," he says. "This initiative was meant to reach out to new audiences that may not know much about Audi, whether it is one year, or 10 years from now, we wanted them to have exposure to the brand."
He adds that Chang was selected because "he fits more in our core buying audience," which is between the ages of 30 to 50. "The reality is when you're doing an effective social campaign it's going to skew younger, so we look at someone like Liza Koshy as a long term play against younger millennials and the generation after them."
Zubair Jandali, VP of brand partnerships at Reddit, says "Think Faster" was initially rolled out to subscribers of Audi's Reddit page, adding that it then targeted other subreddit's such as "Cars" and "Food."
"We target the audience that aligns with the brand's passion point," Jandali says. "Chang is not your classic Hollywood talent, he is a chef, so we made sure we targeted food focused communities. As the momentum builds with comments and votes, we move up the funnel … to broader and broader cross sections of the site."
Redesigns don't always translate to improvements. Snapchat's, for example, drew ire from prominent users such as Kylie Jenner. It's stock also tumbled and, reports that users were leaving in favor of rival Instagram eventually trickled out.