Reddit is a social bookmarking platform with hundreds of millions of monthly visitors (Redditors). They came to Kevel looking to scale their native ad product and build a self-serve interface so advertisers could buy the ad units directly.
Reddit knew that their community was special - and vocal. The discerning community of Redditors were willing to engage in conversations and feedback around a variety of topics, from futurology to movies to showerthoughts on a daily basis.
At the same time, anything that came across as inauthentic was dangerous to marketers, as seen by this Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Woody Harrelson, which led to Redditors angrily realizing it had to be someone from Woody's PR team and not Woody himself answering.
Because of this, Reddit had already built a native ad product for displaying user-friendly ads on their site, allowing them to monetize without resorting to obnoxious ad experiences their users would hate.
These sponsored posts appear at the top of each community forum (called subreddits), looked like standard organic threads, and could be targeted to specific subreddits. In order to buy, advertisers worked directly with Reddit's ad operations team and were provided manual reports.
They even created a separate subreddit for Redditors to see the most popular sponsored posts.
However, Reddit realized that while their initial native ad unit technically worked, advertisers did not enjoy its lack of features, reliability, and scalability.
"We had an in-house system that we built, but many advertisers found that targeting didn't scale. Pricing and delivery also fluctuated highly by day, and the system allowed for very little flexibility around ad delivery."Jena Donlin, Sr. Product Manager
To improve their native ad product, Reddit came to Kevel, whose ad serving APIs could help them scale and add new features to their ad product.
After integrating Kevel's APIs into their tech stack, Reddit improved their product with some additional new features that their advertisers loved:
"Kevel's API allowed us to centralize our ad serving information and avoid having to reinvent the wheel on creating the ad delivery logic that wasn't available within our earlier house system."Jena Donlin, Sr. Product Manager
"We use the Management API to create Kevel representations of all Reddit promotions. Whenever a link or campaign is created or modified, we use the API to update the objects on Kevel's end."Brian Simpson, Staff Engineer
The core of Kevel's tech is the Decision API, a RESTful endpoint. When a web client calls the API (which could be a browser or a standalone application), the Kevel Decision Engine chooses a creative, and returns a JSON object containing the contents and all the metadata of that creative.
In Reddit's case, the server would make a request to the Decision API including the user's IP (for location targeting) and the subreddit they were currently on. Reddit would then take the information in Kevel's response (such as the image URL, the headline, the advertiser name, and the up/down voting links) and insert it into their client to be rendered.
Now that Reddit's self-serve platform is running off of Kevel, the team has noticed some definite improvements.
"We've seen growth everywhere - in the number of onboarded advertisers, the number of campaigns being run, and the number of subreddits being targeted."Jena Donlin, Sr. Product Manager
If you're interested in scaling your own ad product, Kevel is happy to schedule a free demo to talk about next steps.
Alex is a QA Engineer at Kevel and a former product specialist and support engineer. He's passionate about building and testing software that solves real problems for users.