- Reddit established its first in-house creative agency as it looks to quickly scale its ad business and attract a wider swath of brand marketers, according to an announcement .
- KarmaLab is a full-service creative strategy shop with offerings around social listening, community management, informational workshops and campaign development. It is overseen by Will Cady, Reddit's former head of creative strategy. Reddit's broader Creative Strategy practice will transition to KarmaLab as part of the move.
- KarmaLab is already available to Reddit partners, with Samsung, Snickers and meal kit delivery service EveryPlate applying its tools in recent campaigns. Reddit is among the digital platforms angling to provide brands with more bespoke marketing services to capitalize on a surge in digital media engagement.
Reddit is aiming to help brands feel more comfortable marketing on its platform with a dedicated in-house agency that assists with a range of creative services, including fashioning the right tone and language in campaign messages.
Reddit is comprised of tens of thousands of enthusiast communities, called subreddits, that draw 52 million daily active users interested in participating in forum discussions around particular hobbies and topics. Cracking into those insular groups — some of which are averse to traditional advertising — can prove a challenge, meaning marketers might need to be more delicate and targeted in their approach. Some advertisers have also been warded off using Reddit in the past due to toxic communities, a problem the site has tried to rectify by investing in content moderation.
Other platforms have similar offerings to KarmaLab. Facebook, for instance, has operated an in-house agency called Facebook Creative Shop since 2011. Reddit buying into a similar concept now speaks to its ambitions to build out a more formidable advertising engine that can act as an alternative to digital's long-standing duopoly.
"KarmaLab is a long term investment in industry-leading creative strategy for all Reddit advertisers, and will allow us to serve clients with more dedicated resources and diverse skill sets as more brands find their home on the platform," Jen Wong, Reddit's chief operating officer, said in a press statement.
Samsung recently worked with the KarmaLab team to deploy a campaign explaining the benefits of 5G, which has been the subject of some confusion and even conspiracy theories online. The company tapped into Reddit's /r/explainlikeimfive subreddit that seeks simple answers to complex questions and subject matter. The community, which has been active for a decade, has 19.4 million members, according to its sidebar. Samsung received hundreds of responses to its initial posts and then flipped some of the most compelling messages into promoted ads to run across the wider Reddit site.
Mars Wrigley's Snickers recently launched an effort drawing on nostalgia from gamers, a major Reddit cohort. The candy label developed a series of custom creative tailored to subreddits like r/gaming and r/xbox that depicted Snickers in scenarios closely emulating famous gaming titles.
"The creative allowed Snickers to exist within the culture of the communities' conversations in a very authentic, relevant way," Michael Italia, head of Mars Wrigley's social and digital content in North America, said in a press statement.
The KarmaLab reveal follows other recent Reddit initiatives aimed at creating a more legitimate, well-rounded ads business. The company in March teamed with ad holding group Omnicom in its first enterprise partnership agreement with a media agency. The deal provides Omnicom clients deeper access to the Reddit platform, including its creative strategy team and early looks at new ad products.
While Reddit is best known for its community discussions, the platform is also betting bigger on digital video, a channel that has experienced a spike in engagement since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Last December, Reddit acquired Dubsmash , a short-form video-sharing platform that shares qualities with TikTok and touts a diverse creator base. Dubsmash claimed to draw around 1 billion monthly video views at the time of the acquisition.