A business guide to Reddit

February 25, 2021

Reddit hates marketing.

In fact, the entire platform and karma system is designed to reward value and discourage people who are simply there to ‘sell’.

This approach has helped turn Reddit into a trusted space where people go to get information and advice from others. With more than 400 million active monthly users Reddit’s influence continues to grow and so do the opportunities for businesses.

How Redditors are reshaping business

Most are familiar with the famous r/WallStreetBets subreddit and how it took on Wall Street via the gaming store GameStop. In Canada, the r/PersonalFinanceCanada subreddit has been quietly growing and turning into competition for the Canadian financial advice industry.According to the Globe and Mail “Younger people are far more distrusting of institutions. They value transparency, and would rather rely on crowdsourced opinions than talk to a salesperson. They also happen to be a large contingent of r/PersonalFinanceCanada. “

This doesn’t mean that r/PersonalFinanceCanada or Reddit is off-limits to all businesses,  Questrade and Wealthsimple, two companies in Canada offering zero-commission investing are thriving on the platform – specifically in this subreddit.

The reason for this is that they have the right product for the right audience. They don’t need to sell, they are there to provide advice – which drives trust.

But Questrade or Wealthsimple didn’t become Reddit all-stars overnight – they, like other businesses with successful strategies worked hard to first understand the platform.

Reddit facts

Reddit is the 7th most visited website in the world and is seeing huge year-over-year (YoY) growth:

  • 52 million daily active users – up 44% YoY
  • 303.4 million posts – up 52.4% YoY
  • 2 billion comments – up 18.6% YoY
  • 49.2 billion upvotes – up 53.8% YoY

(Source: Statistica)

Reddit user demographics:

  • 25-29 yrs (23% use Reddit) compared to 79% on FB
  • 18-24 yrs  (21% use Reddit) – compared to 79% on FB
  • 30-49 yrs  (14% use Reddit)compared to 79% on FB
  • 50-64 yrs  (6% use Reddit) – compared to 58% on FB

(Source: Statistica/Sprout Social)

Reddit has a young, highly engaged audience that many businesses are trying to engage. But before you can start marketing to this audience you need to first understand how Reddit works.

How does Reddit work?

Reddit allows users to create anonymous user names to protect their identity. The platform is divided into independently run communities called subreddits (r/). Each one focuses on specific content or discussion and has its own rules.

Reddit uses ‘karma’ to determine the reach/promotion of all posts/comments. Karma is a score a user gets when they post or comment and receive an upvote (gain karma) or a downvote (lose karma) from other users.

Reddit introduced karma as a method to combat spam and bot activity. It’s essentially a reputation system or a measure of your contribution to the larger Reddit community – somewhat similar to ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ on other platforms. The higher your karma, the higher your reputation and the more freedom you are allowed on the platform.

Benefits of karma:

  • When you are new to Reddit, you have limits on the number and frequency of posts you can create. But once you have earned enough karma, this limit is removed.
  • Karma is often seen as a proxy for trust – more karma often means people are more likely to support your posts.
  • When you have good Reddit karma, rules will be flexible for you. For example, the chances of getting you banned for promoting yourself are lower.
  • If your karma is low, you may find that comments and posts get removed either automatically or manually by moderators. Some subreddits (communities), will only accept comments and posts from those with a minimum amount of karma.

How to create a successful Reddit presence for your brand

To start marketing your business on Reddit, it’s helpful to follow this roadmap.

  1. Create an Account: Register for the platform and try to secure a username that represents your brand.
  2. Set up a keyword tracker: By setting up a Reddit keyword tracker  (i.e. TrackReddit or similar) you’ll be notified when your brand or associated keyword gets mentioned so you don’t miss out on conversations or opportunities.
  3. Find your audience: By searching through existing subreddits you’ll begin to find where your brand or keywords are discussed most. Once you discover these areas you’ll want to join those subreddits so you can monitor, upvote and become part of the conversation.
  4. Create a piece of content solely for your target Reddit audience (the next section covers what types of content are popular on Reddit), but don’t be upset if it doesn’t get a lot of attention. Just as every Facebook post doesn’t go viral, not every Reddit contribution will become a mega-hit. If you get a few positive comments and a few upvotes, that’s a start.
  5. Start engaging: Here are the key strategies to follow when getting started
    • Ask questions: A Reddit post that asks a question produces 2x the number of comments than a post that’s phrased as a statement. Ask your potential audience questions that show you want to get to know them and their interests/opinions – it’s also great market research for future products or marketing campaigns and brand awareness. ‘Ask me anything’ (AMAs) are popular with large brands or celebrities but you’ll want to avoid them in the early stages.
    • Respond to comments: Make sure to stick around and respond to comments – keep the audience interested and engaged.
    • Use video: Videos posted to the platform create the most upvotes. Overall Reddit averages over a billion video views per month – 70% of those are on mobile devices. If video fits your brand, test out some video posts and monitor the response.
    • Make it fun: One of the main reasons people visit Reddit is for the fun – the memes, the videos, the stories. Users are often there to be entertained so find a way to leverage that.
      • These types of posts aren’t for all brands – consider Ikea’s offering below that they published on Valentine’s Day a few years ago.
    • Promote your brand or products (a bit): As stated in the first line of this post “Reddit hates marketing.” However, once your brand has established its presence on the platform you may find opportunities to offer unique, Reddit-only offers to the audience.  Users tend to be okay with special offers, upcoming deals or even unique Reddit-only promotion codes.

The main thing – don’t overdo it. Monitor your posts – see what the reaction is and adjust accordingly.


If done correctly, Reddit can be a goldmine for brands looking to drive awareness and engagement.

However, you need to put the time and effort into growing your brand on the platform – don’t expect immediate results.

If you’re looking for more tips on leveraging other social media platforms check out our handy guides or contact us.