Reddit rolls out native video ads in attempt to woo Madison Avenue

By Published on .

Nintendo's Zelda is among several launch partners
Nintendo's Zelda is among several launch partners Credit: Reddit

Fresh off the heels of a new redesign from its former Web 1.0 layout, Reddit announced Tuesday that it's rolling out native video ads that will appear in-stream and automatically play without sound.

Companies such as Nintendo, Netflix and Audi have already bought in.

"Because of our scale, and as our video inventory continues to grow, we believe our native video product provides a material pocket of efficient reach for marketers," says Jen Wong, Reddit's chief operating officer. "We're bringing a lot of reach to the market."

Reddit, which now sess more traffic than Amazon and Facebook, is the No. 3 most visited site in the U.S. and has some 300 million users, according to Amazon-owned Alexa. Reddit says it can provide marketers with an audience not found elsewhere online.

"About 57 percent of Reddit users aren't on Twitter," says Zubair Jandali, VP of brand partnerships at Reddit. "Reddit is a very video consumptive audience; we aren't just a huge audience from a reach perspective, but we have over 800 active communities dedicated to video entertainment."

Reddit's made it no secret that it's trying to grow up, and it's aggressively expanded both staff and its advertising capabilities as it attempts to woo Madison Avenue for more ad dollars. Although Reddit offers some targeting capabilities for its native video product – i.e. people who subscribe to its "movies" subreddit are likely to see ads for a new Disney film – the company says it intends to work with third-party data management platforms that will allow advertisers to upload CRM data and expand on that with look alike audiences.

The improved targeting capabilities should be rolled out next month, says Jandali.

A new metric

In most cases, video on Reddit previously meant linking to YouTube, but that changed in August of last year, when the company rolled out its own ability to host video. The company didn't provide specific figures, but says native video views have more than doubled since the start of the year, growing 23 percent month-over-month.

Reddit adds that more people are watching videos on its own player than via YouTube links.

And in a first, the company will be offering its video ad units on a cost per view basis, or CPV. Historically, Reddit only sold ads per thousand impressions, or CPM. Jandali says views will be based on MRC guidelines, which are 50 percent in view and seen for at least two seconds. It adds that it's "willing to work with partners" such as GroupM, which has a significantly different opinion of what counts as a "view" (the media buying giant want viewers to press play, have the sound on, get at least halfway through and keep the player entirely on-screen.).

"This is a big deal," says Jandali. "Our video ads perform three-to-four times higher on engagement when compared to our static offerings. We're really excited about this because of the value we bring."

Mobile video generated $6.7 billion in ad revenue last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, up 54 percent year-over-year and topping desktop video ($5.2 billion) for the first time. Overall, the format is up 33 percent to $11.9 billion, the IAB says.

Most Popular