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The President & Reddit: Does the Channel Matter More than the Message? [CHART]

Egan Cheung
Manager, Revenue Performance Analytics

When President Obama launched the first ever presidential AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit this Wednesday, he did not make any big policy splashes but it still crashed the site despite Reddit adding 30 (and then 60) dedicated servers in preparation for a comment thread which surpassed pageviews as of this morning.

Now, I know from previous chart of the week research that Reddit is a surprising juggernaut, but when I first caught wind of this, I thought “Really?  Reddit?”.  Rather quickly, though, I began to see this not just as a novelty, but as a uniquely successful social marketing campaign.  I took a look at Reddit on Quantcast and it suddenly became clear that the Reddit audience hits an influential niche group of males aged 18-24 with no kids and lots of disposable income. Not only that, but according to the data, Reddit’s audience has grown 43% in the last 4 months!


This group was so enthused that the President took part in their community that one user wrote ONE OF US, ONE OF US before anything had even really been said.  So - the campaign team obviously understand segmentation and the power of community.  Also - the channel was relatively niche yet it still drove attention from traditional news outlets.  Sometimes doing something differently can become the reason for news coverage.


The timing of this event was something every keen marketer should pay attention to.  This was a week for the president’s top competitor to dominate the news.  What better week to try something fairly risk-free, but guaranteed to garner lots of social and press attention?

Finally, It should not go unmentioned that the event was unannounced; or, more specifically, it wasannounced on Twitter just moments before the actual event.  Surprise is something that has been used to varying degrees of success by marketers, but when it works, it works.  Marketers can pull off surprising ways to reach their audience in all kinds of ways, as well - you need not be the POTUS - check out a more individual surprise campaign pulled off in KLM’s Schiphol Experiment.

Interested in getting started with Reddit?  You may be interested in checking out http://www.reddit.com/r/AutomatedMarketing/, Eloqua’s home on Reddit.com.

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