It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Redditors respond to this.
Looking to capitalize on its growth, and maximize its ad potential, Reddit has this week launched a new Trending Takeover ad unit, which will feature prominently on various surfaces within the app.
As explained by Reddit:
“Fads, trends, and movements get their start in Reddit communities every day. And as we invest in highlighting those trends for user visibility and participation, it presents a huge opportunity for advertisers looking to align with conversations in real-time. […] With this new offering, brands looking to position themselves at the center of discussion on Reddit now have premium venues in two of the most commonly visited areas of the platform: Reddit’s Search tab and Popular feed.”
Trending Takeovers will last for 24 hours, and as you can see in the images above (desktop on the left, mobile on the right), they’ll take up a major block of space at the top of the Reddit feed.
Takeover listings will also appear in ‘Trending’ searches on the platform:
And will be highlighted in the smaller Trending tiles along the top of the mobile app listings:
That is indeed prominent space.
“Users can see the Trending Takeover ad unit in the second slot of the Trending Today module on Reddit’s Popular feed, as well as the second slot of the Trending Today drop-down in Reddit’s Search tab. Similar to organic trends on Reddit, clicking on a Trending Takeover ad in the ‘Trending Today’ module within Search or Popular will drive users to a landing page featuring conversations, posts, and communities relating to handpicked advertiser keywords.”
No doubt that will be appealing to certain brands, and no doubt that will get their messages seen. But as noted, Redditors may not be too happy about the intrusion, especially given the app’s long-standing resistance to overt promotional messaging.
But Reddit needs to evolve. Last year, the platform hit a new milestone of 430 million active users, which puts it ahead of Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn TikTok and Snapchat in comparative usage. But even with that growth, Reddit is not considered as significant an ad platform due to the nature of Reddit ads, which can easily be overlooked, and aren’t as advanced as those on other platforms.
Reddit’s been working to improve in this respect, with new video ad options and updated formats and tools, but it hasn’t yet become a key consideration for ad spend, with Reddit ads still seen as an intrusive, non-engaging element of the app.
Trending Takeovers could change that. For one, their more prominent placement will get attention, but it may also usher in the next major shift for the app in this respect. Yes, Redditors are going to be upset about it, they’re going to voice their displeasure at the intrusion. But Reddit will be hoping that, once that opposition dies down, Redditors get more used to ads. And if users are more comfortable with these ad units, that could open up more opportunities for Reddit to display even more promotions. It’s almost like a band-aid approach, with this being the rushed rip-away, leaving the temporary pain. Then users will, ideally, be more open to other ads in future.
But there will be backlash.
How significant the response from the Reddit community will be is tough to say, but Redditors are very protective of their space, they won’t like facilitating virtual billboards in their streams. But that’s the price of using a free platform – you will, eventually, have to pay in ad exposure. And Reddit needs to boost its ad space in order to maximize its performance.
In testing with 15 partner brands, Reddit says that its Trending Takeover units have seen 2x above average click-through rates.
It’s big, it stands out, it could end up producing results. But more importantly, it may well end up being a major advance for Reddit’s broader ad and revenue ambitions.
Trending Takeovers are being sold only on a reservation basis. To learn more about the option, you’ll need to contact Reddit’s Ad team.
Iran ‘throttling’ internet to limit protest footage: activists
The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 but have caused a reduction in the video footage shared – Copyright Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/File John Randeris HANSEN
Iran is imposing increasingly severe restrictions on access to the internet, albeit still short of a total shutdown, in an apparent bid to limit the sharing of footage of protests which have erupted nationwide, activists charge.
Campaigners and Persian-language television channels outside Iran have noted a reduction in the posting of footage of the protests filmed on mobile phones, almost two weeks into the movement that erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini.
The authorities have already restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp — until now the last remaining unfiltered social media services — and have now clamped down on apps like the Google Play Store as well as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that seek to circumvent local access restrictions.
“It’s still not an internet shutdown, and it’s hard to even describe what they are doing to the network as ‘shutdowns’. Perhaps extreme throttling is the best simple term for it,” said the Iran researcher for freedom of expression group Article 19, Mahsa Alimardani.
“But the disruptions are heavy,” she told AFP, saying disconnections were hitting a peak from late afternoon to midnight when most protests take place.
The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 when a crackdown on less than a week of protests, according to Amnesty International, left at least 321 people dead.
Videos of protests and alleged abuses by the authorities are still filtering out onto social media channels, but not in the same volume as when protests first erupted following the death of Amini who had been arrested by the morality police.
“The authorities seem to have learned how dangerous this is for their economy or overall public relations,” commented Alimardani.
– ‘Massive hurdle’ –
Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR), which says 76 people have been killed in the crackdown so far, said internet access has either been “severely disrupted or completely cut” over the last days.
“Internet disruptions continue to cause delays in reporting” deaths in the protests, it warned.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said: “Twelve days after the beginning of the protests, the internet network is still down daily throughout the country.”
In response, social media giants have sought to offer assistance to Iranians, the United States has even agreed sanction relief on some software, and tycoon Elon Musk has offered his Starlink satellite internet network.
But how much such measures can help, especially in the short term, remains unclear.
“Internet outages are happening more frequently worldwide, including in parts of Iran this week,” Google said in a statement on Twitter, saying its teams were “working to make our tools broadly available” following the eased US sanctions.
“We hope these changes help, in some small way, people safely access information at this important time,” it added.
Iranians have long used VPNs to access sites blocked in Iran — even government officials including the foreign minister have Twitter accounts despite the network being blocked in the country.
But Alimardani described using and accessing VPNs right now as “hit and miss” for Iranians with the blocking of the Google Play Store, a major blow when most Iranians are using Android mobile phones with their Google operating systems.
“This is a massive hurdle to downloading safe and new VPNs that work,” she said.
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