The biggest issue is of course that their monetization is horrible. Like 95% lower per user than the other socials. So the real question an investor should ask is whether this is fixable? Or is there something intrinsic to Reddit traffic that makes it difficult to monetize? Either way, Reddit should be throwing an insane amount of money and equity to get a Sheryl Sandberg like executive with a track record of juicing monetization.
If you are a PC components retailer, users of /r/buildapc seems like an ideal audience to target for advertising. Camera retailer, where better than /r/photography? Cookware - advertise in /r/cooking. Repeat ad infinitum across every niche interest on the site.
They should be able to enable advertisers to do really effective targeting of campaigns. Is this not possible with their current ad tools, or are they not selling the capabilities to advertisers well enough? Or is there not actually that much money in targeted ads, is all the money in generic ads like Coca-Cola & cars?
For some reason, reddit wouldn't let me advertise to 3 of the 4, and the 1 that they did let me advertise was very low volume (less than 100 members). I couldn't even get reddit to show a single ad, let alone have anyone click on it.
Facebook brought in way more traffic, and some of it did convert, but I feel like my advertising costs were too high there, since you can only specify more general interests. It seems like reddit, had their advertising platform actually worked, would have been the perfect place for me.
Perhaps not. Honest question though: Have you tried, at scale?
Why pay when you can get the same for free?
I put up a reddit ad for that submission and Reddit took 4 weeks to approve it. At that point, there was no point running the ad anymore.
Another time I wanted to advertise to a new game that had a brand new subreddit to match but it was huge - 100k plus users in a week. Reddit simply wouldn't permit me to advertise to it because it was new.
In my (limited) experience it feels like Reddit isn't making the money it could be because it doesn't want to.
Make a special class of commercial account, include some 'verification' badge thingy. Let subreddits ban all commercial content, unpaid commercial content, or leave open (for commercial-specific subs).
Let mods profit share in commercial posts. (And fix the moderator system so "first to register controls the sub" is no longer the case)
This is a complex proplem.
Only really works for the in-depth subreddits, I guess it's not going to get you far on image or other media-based subreddits...
I'm currently trying to build this but I'm not a programmer so it's slow going. I'm interested in your thoughts as I'm sure I'm missing something obvious.
The main issue is the more difficult sign up is, the less people sign up. It's a balancing act.
With any voting system you have to detect the validity of the votes, even upvotes.
My experience is mostly with Google Voice, but I've not found that to be true. Years ago that was the case, but these days, I've encountered by few that don't work.
Imo, moderation logs should all be public. Lobsters does it well:
It's even open source!
Voting? Who has the right to vote? Anyone? Any socketpuppet account? Only verified real people? (would be a different reddit)
The base problem is called politics.
And yeah, this would cost Reddit some in admin labor, but they should be able to use some of this revenue stream towards those few hires. I'd imagine a team of 6 would be plenty for this purpose, maybe could get away with 2 or 3.
A million little HNs.
Why do you consider that a problem? As a heavy user of reddit, I don't consider that a problem at all. I would be interested to hear what problems you think exist with that system and what other solutions exist.
I'd be pretty pissed if I created a subreddit, put effort into growing it, and someone could just come along and steal it.
People are going to those specialized communities to get real information from real users, not lies and misinformation (ads and marketing).
As for other users, they are already seeing incredibly random and irrelevant ads. Seeing actual photography themed ads on a photography themed forum doesn't seem that bad IMO (provided that they are clearly marked as ads, of course.)
Now their new mobile app video player… ho boy…..
1. Images open by default on my feed and videos and gifs autoplay as I scroll. It's a massive distraction. I'm trying to find content I might be interested in, but here I'm forced to scan pretty much every post out there.
2. On similar lines, showing a (cropped) summary for text posts. Again a distraction when you're trying to find content. The cropping makes it worse since you have to change the page after reading halfway through.
3. Having to click on view discussion to open the comments each time. This is a forum. The only reason I go there is to discuss.
4. Lack of borders for comments. It looks like one continuous feed and reduces grouping between individual comments.
5. Large avatars, icons on the reply bar compete for attention on every single comment. The reply bar on old reddit is so nicely blended away into the background. You don't see it unless you want to reply.
6. Hover popups on the large icons trigger unintentionally all the time. Very rarely do I need to see somebody's karma. What's the point of this feature even?
This is basis design considerations for a discussion forum. I completely understand where they are coming from though. They are not interested in this being a discussion forum. They want to optimize for post views. The more views a post gets, the more they will be able to monetize. Engaging in discussion is time consuming and that time could be better spent in viewing more posts.
I use Reddit Enhancement Suite and the old design and I find it far superior. It feels more compact and efficient, like HN.
I'm curious what you like better in the new design? I personally find the floating bar at the top annoying. Not to mention the fact you have to click another button to actually see all the comments. Not to mention my biggest annoyance, clicking on the empty space on the sides when viewing a post will navigate to the subreddit?? Why?
A/B testing shows it generates more engagement
Those specialized communities will cease to exist without something funding them.
Either users get ready to get out their wallets or get used to ads and marketing (which are not wholly lies and misinformation). And more importantly remember it's Reddit's choice how users pay, not the end users.
For niche topics I tend to add "reddit" to google search queries, because there's a high likelihood of finding actual information. If those subreddits move to other services, they may not even show up in the sea of blogspam results.
And this very article embarassingly shows that after 16 years it is still investors who are funding those specialized communities.
Advertising is diametrically opposed to information sharing.
I agree that advertisers would pay reddit more for better ad space (also called "inventory") but that doesn't just happen automatically.
Right now, I would assume they are integrating with some third party ad network and probably use fairly generic targeting information.
The cost in time and money to either deepen that integration or rip it out and make a custom ad network is probably significant.
It makes total sense to be able to target communities and I think they need to just stick a banner on the right hand side and be done with it. Let moderators maybe even take a small cut in exchange for providing info and meta data on their community.
It does seem like a huge missed opportunity.
The trouble with those types is they all have very strong opinions and think most products are crap. They're not opposed to buying things, just shitty things.
On Facebook or Google, you've often got to spend at least $5-$10 per mille to be competitive in most verticals. $25 to $50 in some verticals like insurance. And it converts.
The reddit userbase just isn't as monetizable.
Their default subs are utter crap and full of influence campaigns accounts; in addition to being nearly impossible to post to without punished in some way.
Just at a very high level:
- no offsite tracking (so no retargeting - the follow you around the internet ads)
- no separate ad network (you can't buy ads on Reddit that show up on 3rd party sites)
- limits on how granular targeting can be (it's by sub-reddit but they exclude many based on size+sensitivity)
- no demographic targeting (you can't pitch your product to males 18-35)
- no fine grained geographic targeting (lowest they go is major metro areas of millions of people)
Remember those little snooheads where you could 'reblog' about something? or vote on a site while on it?
Seeing the reddit bugs/icons/badges was about when the site started engaging in data collection. You bet your ass they do everything they can to determine a general profile of each user now based on visited subs and patterns.
Reddit is more forum than social network, they'll need to get creative to make more revenue from users. Winning strategy for them might be to try and get more older users who don't care about ads so much and have lots of money
Almost every subreddit I see bans any kind of promotion and even posting of links.
Isn't the most sought-after demographic 18-35 because they have the most disposable income? Afterwards disposable income drops off because of kids and/or retirement.
For whatever reason, maybe just because they've seen more ads, older demographics are harder to reach.
Fascinating - in my experience older generations are much, much easier to beguile online.
My guess would be the Reddit demographic is much less receptive to ads than the average, say, FB user.
Imagine the person saying "don't believe everything you read in the news" Is that an older person talking to a younger one, or vice-versa?
Lots of college students are spending their parents money for these kinds of things.
Won't be easy getting older users on a site where "boomer" is a slur.
Reddit is mostly cat pictures and funny memes at scale, even calling it a "forum" is a stretch. More like a glorified image board.
There are a lot of good niche communities that have deep, meaningful conversation on Reddit.
As far as "most cat pictures and memes", maybe it is, by volume. But that doesn't diminish the substantial corpus of more substantive, forum-like, discussion hosted on the site.
Reddit is also home to an enormous amount of porn and nsfw content in general which probably hurts this. They only just started preventing sexually explicit subreddits/content from appearing on r/all six months ago
As for an official paid feature: as soon as they start collecting money for video related features, the video creators will start circling for their cut of the revenue.
Not anymore, they've banned it.
NSFW content can work perfectly fine to get users on the platform, even if it can't be monetized.
I mean, the town hasn't banned the strip club, and you can still visit it any time you want.
Why do you care what's on r/all?
is there a market rational reason why this hasn't occurred, or are the primary places that happen to also have adult content just assuming advertisers won't use their platform
sure, big fortune 500 ad spends are lucrative, but so is the aggregate of every single half baked idea that has to test the waters with targeted ads
Can you elaborate further? why is this the marketer's problem?
why isn't the ad campaigner completely agnostic on where the ad network sends it?
to me, it seems like widespread conjecture. out of the things I've seen people talk about boycotting a brand for, showing up in a banner on a porn site hasn't been one of them. People know how targeting works, their session and the ad networks.
is there a case study supporting marketer's skittishness?
> People know how targeting works, their session and the ad networks.
People in your network maybe. If that were widely true you wouldn't see people swearing that FB is listening to you for showing a mattress ad after you spent an hour searching for it on your computer. The average American has no idea what the hell is going on.
I liked it around 2008 because it did not have profile pages and a fairly simple, straightforward interface and did not attempt to couple one's real life identity to one's post and encouraged throwaway accounts by allowing users to sign up without providing an email address.
Much of that is changing, and I also find that websites that encourage a link with one's real life identity tend to have an ever more annoying culture.
It also feels like more excessive Americana as time goes on. It did not seem like idiosyncractic U.S.A. social issues were as common in 2008, as well as the typical user that assumes every other user is from the U.S.A..
I'm thinking vintageaudio, lv426, subs like that.
It helps with growth(more options for users to be on reddit) , but definitely hurts ad inventory, ad targeting insights etc.
You mean that they should spend as much money as they can on ruining Reddit.
(What a blessing that HN isn't run to make a profit.)
Most people have one Snap / FB account and one, maximum two Twitter accounts... but throwaways are the norm on Reddit (as well as HN), which means Reddit's user count is inflated by quite a bit. Additionally, Reddit has large nsfw communities that draw lots of members and visitors (again, most with separate accounts!), and these can't be reasonably monetized at all.
It's the dark patterns and having to reload pages multiple times to finally see the content.
> and time on site
Again, break your site so addicts have to try harder to get their dopamine hit
The reddit "engagement" numbers are false.
Results: longer time and the user will now actually engage, because they had to "work" to get there.
Complete dark-pattern to "juke the stats". And it's too complicated for their stupid investors to understand why the numbers are bullshit.
This usually applies to what posts are in an algorithmic feed, but I guess not having the feed show up at all is a fresh innovation. Twitter and Reddit both do a lot of just giving up and saying "woops, couldn't load that link you just clicked" as if that was a real problem. Really? what, the database wasn't there when you looked? Try again yourself, why make me click refresh?
Another anecdata - search on facebook doesn't work for finding stuff in someone's timeline, so I've spent many minutes scrolling down someone's page trying to find a post. It's frustrating but I don't quit, and I'm sure metrics and impressions look great (no click through tho)
Most of the data I have is about heroin and cocaine. And folks are very reluctant to like physically addictive things to these technologic addiction things.
But human nature is very consistent regarding these dopamine releases. We're all fienders.
That's far from a perfect way to measure this, but it's around the statistic that 30% of the internet is porn. My intuition tells me Reddit probably reflects the internet as a whole pretty well.
and i think reddit is beyond the point at which a digg-style fuckup could kill them. at worst you might see cadres of ideological users depart for something like lemmy, which is already happening to an extent, but there is a lot of space to flee internally, so most users don't feel the pressure. and diffusion to federated media is in the future for every mass audience. reddit has such a huge and active userbase it will dominate for the foreseeable future.
The difference is that when Digg made their mistakes, Reddit was there for the taking.
Nowadays, there's no alternative to Reddit. All the new sites appear to be focused on hateful communities banned from Reddit, and that will never attract the mainstream.
Mobile Apps are important for monetization because they are much less vulnerable to ad blockers, people are used to ads taking up more of the screen in scrollable content and in most cases carry more traffic than desktop versions.
I think the disastrous experience buying and targeting ads is bad too, but the lack of a decent mobile app is a huge factor.
- younger user base (so less disposable income)
- loose concept of user identity, so can't tailor ads
- more corpoarate and mainstream advertisers tend to stay away due to the nature of the community and content shared
- primary usage is on web rather than mobile apps
All of these are fixable, but the question is can they do so without alienating their use base.
By most, I mean the vast majority (hence my perplexion and need to comment and confirm my understanding)
>The biggest issue is of course that their monetization is horrible.
It's possible that these two things are pretty tightly linked.
Cause they’re always one drama away from losing tons of people. The platform seems to attract drama involving the platform and decisions made more than say Twitter does
1) Valuing the company in the hopes of making a profit on the IPO
2) More conservative than public markets
This is correct but also bittersweet.
TikTok and Instagram have been able to grow larger and larger audiences despite the pressure of ads (and honestly I know when I tried TikTok last there weren't any ads yet, I wonder what portion of an hour is taken up by ads and how long is it til it reaches television levels of ~25%) - as long as audience growth outpaces users losing interest, you can keep introducing ads, but you can't do it forever.