Three months ago I started a Japanese candy subscription service called Candy Japan. It is growing well from word of mouth alone, but I was curious to see if it could grow even more through ads. My friend Nick who runs the site Meme Stickers suggested experimenting with Reddit as a possible source of traffic that could convert for me. In this post I will show how I set up ads there and what the results were.
Reddit Self-Serve Ads
The Reddit self-serve ad system is a bit different from Google AdSense. Instead of bidding for clicks or conversions, you decide on a bid for a certain dayspan in the future. If there happen to be multiple bidders on those days, you get your share of ad views based on how much you bid. There is a minimum bid which depends on whether you target all of Reddit ($20/day) or a certain subreddit ($30/day) to show your ads to people with specific interests.
I wanted to target the "snackexchange" and "japan" subreddits. The minimum bid is $30 per day for subreddit targeting, which seemed very high to me considering that the two subreddits I wanted to experiment with were quite small. Still I decided to go ahead as discovering a profitable ad channel could be worth risking some money on (another part of me fears that the whole of online advertising relies on naive people like me).
I went ahead with setting up the ads. After confirming my email address it was straightforward. Here is a screenshot of basically the only screen you need to interact with when setting up the ads.
I did run into a problem though, which was that I am a Finnish guy living in Japan and Reddit only allows paying with a US / UK / Canadian credit card. I went to complain about this on the IRC channel #startups on Freenode. User EvRide graciously stepped up to help me. I sent him the money over PayPal and he then set up the ads for me. Thanks a lot EvRide!
The ads cost me $240 to run. I had 63148 pageviews, 419 clicks and 4 subscriptions = $60 / gained customer.
The cost per conversion was too high to continue advertising on Reddit for the current service. I need to improve the ad or get my landing page to convert better before another attempt. Still, it was encouraging that some customers did find the service through Reddit and it would be an interesting channel if the minimum bids were lifted and international credit cards were accepted.
More to read about Reddit ads