Alexis Ohanian Reveals How Brands and Publishers Can Thrive on Reddit. Reddit can be a dangerous place for brands. Should industry leaders be more outspoken? What’s the future of internet communities like Reddit? We’ve seen many huge brands come to Reddit to engage in a human way. Is there anything publishers can do to get their content to take off? How would you engage with them? This is exactly how you should think about engaging on Reddit. Is the proliferation of a mobile, app-based internet a threat to Reddit? It was an opportunity because we didn’t have a native mobile app.
But as Fortune explained in a big profile of
Reddit earlier this year, that danger has dissipated as the
platform has focused its latest ad efforts on native content.
Instead of leaving brands to their own devices, internal teams have
used their intimate knowledge of Reddit communities to help brands
build campaigns that pop off. The strategy appears to be working. A
Coca-Cola campaign, for instance, asked Reddit users to choose
which Marvel superhero matchup would make the best Super Bowl
over 400 people responded. Reddit reports that advertising
revenue is on the rise, with 70 percent of advertisers staying on
quarter over quarter.
Since returning to the company as executive chairman in late
2014, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has played a hands-on role
in the company’s turnaround. Leading up to his keynote speech at
Web Summit in Lisbon this
week, Ohanian and I chatted over email about his activism, how
Reddit is changing for brands and publishers, and the future of
You’ve been pretty outspoken about Donald Trump during
this election season. What’s your take on the relationship between
the tech industry and politics? Should industry leaders be more
Technology and social platforms like Reddit have given everyone
an opportunity to have a voice in the national conversation. As
creators of these platforms, it’s important that we have a
relationship with Washington since many of the decisions they make
can have serious consequences for the future of the open internet
and our industry.
I’ve had a long history of being outspoken on these issues that
affect our industry (e.g., SOPA, PIPA, startup visa, net
neutrality, etc.), but leaders in tech should at the very least be
engaging with their representatives because it’s a lack of
communication that often gets us into problematic situations.
What’s the future of internet communities like Reddit?
It seems like there’s a huge financial gap developing between
feed-based platforms (Facebook, Instagram) and communities built on
one-to-one interaction (Reddit, Twitter).
Reddit is the internet’s largest example of a community
platform, which has no peers, but does have an opportunity that the
world hasn’t seen before: insight and access to the word-of-mouth
conversations that influence us all. We’ve only started to see the
potential of it with our native ads—these sponsored conversations
have been huge successes for small companies and large