Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
My Duck Duck Go reddit ad by the numbers (gabrielweinberg.com)
224 points by epi0Bauqu 2586 days ago | hide | past | web | 65 comments | favorite

Reddit doesn't allow targeting sub-reddits yet does it?

I'd be interested in advertising but even at $20 there doesn't seem reason to advertise on the main reddit page when I know my target audience will be on a subreddit and can get much better quality clickthroughs.

Please stand by. It is our most requested feature, and should be ready soon.

Sweet! I'll be trying that out as soon as you launch it.

What does "targeting sub-reddits" mean?

putting ads only in a specific sub-reddit (or a category/sub-forum if you prefer)

i actually ran an ad this saturday too...but I actually wanted to test how it'd work for selling something so I used an affiliate link.

So for $20 I got 19,303 unique views, 63,473 total views, 199 unique clicks, 215 total clicks. And a grand total of 1 sales.

The click numbers were different though, the affiliate program I used reported lower click #s.

I'll make a proper blog post about this later today, since I've been waiting for the 24 hour window for reddit to finalize their numbers.

Edit: here is the post with all the numbers/screenshots. Surprisingly I had a lower CPM than Gabriel which is weird since he was spending a lot more money than me.


I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience. One thing to bear in mind is that we (reddit) also run affiliate links, so you were competing directly with us. If they clicked on our link first, you won't get credit for it. They may also not count the click from that user twice, which could explain your lower numbers.

Our traffic numbers come from the same system we use to track our own website traffic, so we work very hard to make sure it is as accurate as possible, since we sell our own advertising based on those numbers, and if they were over-inflated, our other advertisers would complain vociferously.

I suspect the error lies in the affiliate program, who has an incentive to under-report.

However, if you'd like to provide us with the numbers you got from your affiliate program, we would be love to take a look and try to figure out what happened.

Edit: I forgot to mention that AdBlock blocks a lot of affiliate trackers, but a lot of reddit users specifically disable adblock for reddit, so that might also be a source of the discrepancy.

Reddit is one of two sites that have AdBlock exceptions on my computers; and it's largely because the ads are usually pretty interesting on reddit.

The self-serve advertising system has been a win for me, both as an advertiser and as a reddit reader; so until Coca-Cola and Viagra ads start showing up in the ad boxes, I'm sure that lots of redditors will still keep the AdBlock exception on their machines.

(I guess this is a roundabout way of me saying that I like the way ads work on reddit, so I didn't mind turning AdBlock off personally.)

The self-serve advertising system has been a win for me, both as an advertiser and as a reddit reader; so until Coca-Cola and Viagra ads start showing up in the ad boxes, I'm sure that lots of redditors will still keep the AdBlock exception on their machines.

Advertising from people and companies you perceive to be your peers or "at your level" are surprisingly tolerable aren't they? (The Deck's inventory is another great example) It's the ads from megacorps and bottom feeders that are annoying.

For example, I'd love to see ads from other HN members (ONLY) here on HN, and I'd even pay to run some myself.

For example, I'd love to see ads from other HN members (ONLY) here on HN, and I'd even pay to run some myself.

I agree! Maybe make it require a certain karma level to buy an ad. The revenue could help make HN a bit faster.

I would say even a minimum karma to even see the ads, in order to stop people from driving traffic here just to increase ad views.

Paying out to be advertised to... ?

...people who want to see the ads, HN readers. Don't know if it's a great idea overall, but personally I wouldn't mind an option to see ads from HN members. Add voting for the ads just like posts and comments and bad ones would go away quickly.

It depends on how many HN readers "lurk" - i.e. read but never post or register.

hence the reason for minimum karma.

I have wondered whether the poor response to online ads isn't simply because the ads are so bad. There might be many people like you who don't mind the ads per se so much as the flashing, annoying ads for stuff you don't care about.

So a site that made "interesting ads" part of their brand and actively rejected boring and obnoxious ones, could potentially be valuable. Maybe reddit is consciously doing this.

> Maybe reddit is consciously doing this.

Maybe. :) In fact, we use reddit quite a bit, and the flashy ads annoy us just as much as the rest of you. We do our best to keep the ads relevant and non-annoying.

If we could afford it, we would just turn the ads off, but sadly, we have to pay the bills somehow.

jedberg, I'd first like to say thanks for weighing in on these conversations. It adds a great deal to these discussions having an insider to clarify things and offer a unique perspective.

> "If we could afford it, we would just turn the ads off, but sadly, we have to pay the bills somehow."

This comment, however, isn't helpful, and obviously isn't true. Reddit built a really cool, useful site for sharing and discussing interesting things, and nobody begrudges them for trying to turn a profit. Reddit wasn't acquired by Condé Nast because they are interested in having a cool service, it was acquired because they intend to make a lot of money off of it.

The fact that Reddit has found a way to do this while keeping the ads relevant and non-annoying definitely impressive, but we're kidding ourselves if we call these ads a necessary evil instead of the core of the business model.

> This comment, however, isn't helpful, and obviously isn't true.

Sure it is true. We would love to run the site without ads. There are other business models besides straight ads, and we are working on moving towards those.

They just aren't profitable yet.

Can't you have a standard for reddit ads? I would like to support reddit and view ads, but I feel you broke your covenant with users when you allowed flash-based blinky and moving ads, so now unfortunately your site is adblocked.

Related: I've often wondered why no one has found a successful way to brand opt-in ad targeting. You'd have to be big enough for it to matter (Google?), but it would have a tremendously positive effect on both the end-user experience, and on ad revenues.

Because people would just opt-out (or not opt-in at all), therefore leaving you with an Internet with no ads, and Google with no revenue.

That's probably why.

For me it's just reddit and google. Reddit because I like the way they work. And Google since I want to see what kind of sites advertise for a particular keyword

well I wouldn't call it a bad experience, I know the reddit crowd so I wasn't expecting much. + that 1 sale, made me back the money I spent, so no loss on my part.

Yeah that's one of the reasons I didn't go for the Amazon affiliate link, since I figured it'd get overwritten quickly by someone else's code.

I think it is pretty helpful how HN has members from so many sources (in this case jedberg w/ reddit) so that we get great responses like this so quickly. This type of effort is the best advertising anyone can get.

"...reddit specific discount code (I went with diggsucks)"

Proving you don't know reddit that well. That will appeal to the 13 year old digg converts. The people with money to spend will just see it as immature, and therefore perceive your produce as being unprofessional.

OK. I just found your ad - http://www.reddit.com/comments/bgb99. You might want to consider the fact that A Small Orange were advertising pretty heavily recently. That would have cut down on people looking for entry level hosting. Or, perhaps you are right in saying that redditor's are cheap.

well it was just in the link, so most people never even saw that.

That might have affected the CTR, but shouldn't have affected the conversions.

Well, affiliate programs are known to under report. Plus, some international visitors might not apply for the offer and so on. It would have been better to have a separate click counter in between.

> It would have been better to have a separate click counter in between.

I second this. You always want a way to track your actual clickthroughs so you can compare to your affiliate stats. If you're doing enough volume you can sometimes be credited for leads/sales that your affiliate network missed, but only if you can provide them with your own tracked numbers. And really only if the network values your traffic.

A dreamhost ad? Well, I guess reddit users are a bit different than the usual guy looking for webhosting. I've been actively un-recommending Dreamhost at Reddit for very bad service I endured for two years and many others regularly do so too. Redditors might have a bad impression of Dreamhost so they might be less inclined for it.

Indeed, I saw this ad, and though I can't remember anyone saying something bad about Dreamhost exactly, the name conjures up bad connotations. However I strongly thought about buying A Small Orange hosting when it was advertised but don't have a need for it at the moment. It is bookmarked however.

Branding is a fickle matter.

Between the affiliate peeps and reddit, I'd def give more trust to reddit and reserve suspicion for the affiliate program.

As an aside, everyone should definitely try switching to DDG as their default for a day or two- in-line wikipedia info and the !bang system are really killer.

I've switched to it full-time, and just do !google blah when I need to do an image search. The !bang flexibility makes it fantastic, and !twitter searchterm and !flickr searchterm makes it feel like you have a half dozen search engines at your fingertips. Because you can still execute google searches, it's not really 'switching from Google'- it's just an improvement, plain and simple.

And a recent new feature let's you abbreviate !bang searches even more. For example, !g lets you search Google. I find that 9 / 10 queries work better for me on DDG and it's easy to use Google if necessary.

Does DDG have a cognate to the google "site:" keyword?

Yup, site: should work.

I did that and documented my experiences with short comments over several months. Unfortunately I used XFCE's notes plugin, reinstalled my system and cannot find the text anywhere on the old system's disk. :-(

My experiences have not been so great. Sometimes yes, but mostly not.

I'd appreciate you emailing me your thoughts.

Excuse but, aren't search shortcuts already a feature of firefox ?

Possibly, but it's slow as hell in OSX compared to Safari.

I also had a fairly solid experience with a Reddit ad.

My main problem came in that the first 48 hours (out of 96) that I ran the ad were great. A ton of impressions, comments and traffic. Yet the last 48 hours or so I got almost no impressions or clicks on it. For anyone at Reddit I can provide my account information (its all under 'tibbon') for you to see what I'm talking about.

What I personally took away from it was that you should run your ad for two days, and then not run similar again for a month or so.

> What I personally took away from it was that you should run your ad for two days, and then not run similar again for a month or so.

Yeah, we try to tell people that. The problem is that once someone acts on your ad, we don't show it to them again. So your impressions are expected to drop off rapidly.

We need to do a better job of communicating that.

Tangentially, a big, red circle with a face and some green and yellow in it is probably one of the most effective things you could possibly put in an online ad.

I ran an ad about a month ago. Paid $20, got 81,196 total impressions and 2,922 clicks. Definitely a success.

...wow, that is really, really high. I've run a few ads on reddit and got clicks in the hundreds for that price, not the thousands.

That's less than $0.01 cpc...which, from what I understand, is completely unheard of.

I will blog about this later

Yeah, let me know about this too if you don't mind...

Please send us the link when you do!

will do!

It's interesting that reddit provides both good numbers, in _addition_ to a number of hard to quantify but tangible benefits.

I've got several ideas now on how to broadcast the availability of a side project to a wider audience once it's ready.

  Reddit Ad
  Friends & Family
Other suggestions are welcome :) (Not the side project in my profile)

Some of my ideas from 2008 were quite popular here :-) http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=341138

I would still recommend Twitter, Reddit, Delicious, and the like, but would also focus heavily on guest blogging nowadays - its effectiveness has been proven a lot in the last couple of years.

Where are the best places to guest blog?

Edit: for something for consumers that is broad-based, like a search engine.

That depends on what you're trying to promote. Your best bet is to find blogs ready by people who would use your service.

For example if you wanted to launch a site that listed the best places to rock climb, then you'd want to do some guest posts on popular rock climbing blogs.

I came across the site http://fiverr.com a few days ago. Under advertising there are several people selling tweets to however many followers they have for 5 bucks. There are also some other "creative" methods of advertisment available as well.

I have not used them yet but I'm planning on it. I'm not sure I have found the down side at 5 bucks.

The downside is that they're selling tweets -- you have to wonder about their followers.

Duck Duck Go must have a pretty good ROI per user if it is worthwhile to pay people to come to the site.

Has anyone outside the US had any luck running an ad yet? The T&Cs say you have to be in the US but I've signed up OK.. just not run an ad as I have nothing to promote yet.

We (reddit) are not currently able to take credit cards with addresses outside the United States. Hopefully soon we will be able to do so.

It's interesting you say that, as a sibling poster says they've been able to (not that we know all the details or if they have a US based card - I'll ask!).

That said, several years back I got around these restrictions a few times by putting in my valid address but then selecting, say, NY and zip 10001. Some card validation systems back then obviously just used the first line of the address and ignored the zip if the card wasn't actually a US one. I couldn't believe it worked either and hope payment systems are a bit more robust now ;-)

Didn't work with US address and Russian card :-)

I've run a couple of ads from the UK with no problems.

Given what was said by a sibling poster, was that with a UK credit card or do you have access to a US card, etc? (Or was it the old spoof the state and zip code trick that's known to work from time to time?)

No, UK card and UK addresses. This was when they'd just released the ad platform though, maybe things have changed?

I love the logo. I'm going to use your duck. (the site, I mean).

Interesting info. We sell advertising and based on my experience, the Reddit offerings seem to be well priced and attractive.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact