Reddit Unveils New Ad Inventory Options With a Nod to Brand Safety

New protections stem from the platform’s partnership with Oracle

Reddit logo
Reddit added new targeting options Thursday to fit advertiser needs. Kacy Burdette/Reddit
Headshot of Scott Nover

Reddit added new inventory for advertisers Thursday, giving them more options for targeting and brand safety. 

The company rolled out the so-called Expanded Inventory option for “advertiser choice,” letting brands and agencies choose the best approach for each individual campaign, Jen Wong, Reddit’s COO, told Adweek.

The new option allows advertisers to reach 20% more subreddits.

Reddit tested the new inventory options with 30 brands from various sectors in recent months—the company did not give specific examples—and found they had a tendency to use different inventory options for different campaigns. Notably, performance marketing efforts, such as app installs, were interested in the expanded inventory options, Wong said.

Meanwhile, Reddit’s new “Limited Inventory” offering offers “more controlled reach” and improved brand safety through a partnership with Oracle Data Cloud, using its Contextual Intelligence product for an “extra layer of third-party filtering” for brand safety. This offering is best used for a “very specific message [advertisers] want delivered in a very specific backdrop,” Wong said.

Brand safety is a nagging issue on Reddit, known for its brutally honest and often crass user base, though the company has tried to make its platform more advertiser friendly in recent years. In 2016, Reddit introduced programmatic buying and search-based targeting options. Last year, it debuted cost-per-click ads and its Oracle brand safety partnership. It also added a 24-hour trending takeover product in March for wide-reach campaigns.

The website has a set of standard rules, which it recently expanded, but individual subreddits rely on volunteer moderators with varied standards for acceptable speech. Facing pressure from users, Reddit finally banned hate speech in its sitewide rules and removed harmful subreddits like r/The_Donald, a Donald Trump supporter community that consistently trafficked in racist rhetoric and bucked Reddit’s efforts to rein it in.

Media buyers and analysts told Adweek they were heartened by the ad features.

Jed Meyer, managing director for North America at the media consultancy Ebiquity, said that Reddit has “a high degree of engaged users, but brand safety concerns have impacted its potential for ad sales growth.” Meyer said the new options “should help assuage” some of these concerns. 

Meghan Rao, account director at Nexstar Digital, said the added brand safety control “elevates Reddit to a more level playing field compared to other platforms.”

Jason Pope, svp of biddable media at Havas Media, said the new features give buyers “flexibility we need to strike the right balance between scale and brand safety.”

Oracle has been front and center in other social media news lately. After the Trump administration forced TikTok’s owners ByteDance, who have roots in China, to sell or spin off the popular app over unspecified “national security” threats, Oracle stepped in as TikTok’s “trusted technology partner” in the United States and are set to acquire a 12.5% stake in the new U.S.-based company alongside Walmart and other investors.

“It’s interesting that Oracle is working with Reddit to ensure brand safety,” Rao said. “Looking at the TikTok partnership, Oracle seems to be carving a space for itself in the industry for helping social platforms protect brands and user data.”

Wong said that in recent months, brands and agencies have asked more about Reddit’s corporate values than more granular brand safety questions, though questions of adjacency never go away. 

In addition to Reddit’s ban on hate speech, other platforms like Twitter have taken tougher stances on misinformation and harmful speech while Facebook faced a massive advertiser boycott over its own policies. 

@ScottNover Scott Nover is a platforms reporter at Adweek, covering social media companies and their influence.