Reddit Introduces 'Free-Form' Ads Inspired By User Threads

As Reddit prepares its first public offering (IPO), the forum-style social media platform is introducing a new ad format made to resemble in-app posts made by its users.

According to the company, “free-form ads” are designed to help advertisers interact with the platform in the same way as its user base.>

The free-form layout, which the company is calling its “most native ad format yet,” invites advertisers to share information with Reddit by combining multiple media types, including image, video and text using ready-made templates.

“Free-form ads are inspired by one of our popular user post types, the megathread, a post type known and beloved by redditors as a one-stop-shop for discussions about popular topics,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Just like the megathread, free-form ads encourage multiple users to come together, get the information they need and deep dive into the topic at hand.”



To compliment different types of creative, Reddit has added new capabilities within the Ads Manager, including topic templates like “brand introduction” and “product deep dive.”

While advertisers will likely enjoy the opportunity to run ads that blend in seamlessly to the platform, users might find it difficult to welcome the change when navigating their feed. Despite appearing similarly in the app, users will still be able to differentiate between free-form ads and regular posts via a “Promoted” label displayed beside the company's name on a post.

When testing free-form ads, Reddit found that the new format outperformed all other ad types in average click through rate (CTR) by 28%, as well as increased community engagement when comments were enabled.

Free-form ads, which became available on Thursday to all advertisers across the globe via the Reddit Ads Manager, come days after the company announced Reddit Pro, a suite of tools meant to help businesses grow organically on the platform. Seeking more paying advertisers, Reddit Pro marks the first time in its almost 20 year history that it has offered free tools to help brands devise social strategies.

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