Harold Klaje is on a Mission to Demystify Reddit for Brands
November 4, 2020
Advertisers know Reddit is huge, and its users are passionate. But, they don’t always know what to make of the site known for reaching hyper-engaged fans – and some of the frontier corners of the web. Reddit’s Vice President of Global Advertising, Harold Klaje is looking to educate CMOs on just who this unique audience is, and how to channel Reddit’s distinctive energy for their campaigns.
Mike Shields (18s):
Hey Guys. This is Mike Shields. And this week on Next in Marketing, I got to talk to Harold Klaje, Vice President of Global Advertising at Reddit. We talked about how he explains Reddit to big advertisers, who may not be familiar with the community rich platform, including many, who are worried about brand safety. Klaje also spoke about the unique data available through Reddit, and how more brands are going to have to get more comfortable with employing a wider variety of attribution models. Let’s get started. Welcome, Harold. How are you?
Harold Klaje (44s):
Very good. Thanks, Mike. Great being here. It’s good to catch up with you.
Mike Shields (48s):
Yeah, I know I’m excited to talk about Reddit, which I feel like it’s one of those properties in this industry where, if you’re on it, you know all about it and you know it well, but if you’re in the marketing business, you know it’s important, but you might not actually use it and you have probably a lot of some preconceived notions, I’d love to get into the world of Reddit with you. Give me a little, you’re very new to the company, correct? Only the last few months?
Harold Klaje (1m 11s):
Yeah. Correct, Mike. So, first of all, yeah, I mean like Reddit is a big platform and it has a lot going on, but yeah, it’s probably good just to, you know, to have to go into the details of the ins and outs about that. And secondly, yeah, to your question, yeah, I joined Reddit about four, four and a half months ago. I’ve been in the digital media industry for quite a while now. I had a couple of successful years, about eight years or so at Google and up to two years at Pinterest, helping build out a lot of the global businesses for those two companies. And when the opportunity came to join Reddit, you know, with what Reddit has going on and the uniqueness of Reddit, I was super interested in joining. I’m super happy to be here.
Mike Shields (1m 49s):
Right. And you started dead in the middle of the height of a pandemic, which just got to be…
Harold Klaje (1m 54s):
Yeah. Yeah, it was kind of interesting. I was meeting up with, you know, when, when I was chatting to Steve and [inaudible] and others, I think it was somewhere, October, and the world looked different. You know?
Mike Shields (2m 7s): Certainly.
Harold Klaje (2m 7s):
And then slowly, you know, things change and then yeah, I joined during the pandemic.
Mike Shields (2m 11s):
So, give me, if you can, and I know you’re really new there, but give me a little bit of the brief history of Reddit. Cause when I remember, tell me if I’m wrong, I believe it was one of the, like, not unlike the early days of Pinterest and Google, where there is very little if any, advertising and I wanna say it was owned by, Condé Nast, or controlled by Condé Nast at one point, but what’s the, give us the history of the business and how it works right now.
Harold Klaje (2m 34s):
Yeah. So, in short, right, so, Steve Huffman, who’s the CEO, he is also the founder of Reddit. And you’re right. After a while, there was a time that Condé Nast owned, I think it was a majority of the Reddit, but what happened is like five years ago, Steve came back to Reddit. And that’s probably when things really started going to the next level, when it came to the ads business part of Reddit, you know, we are really focusing on building out our ads product roadmap and making sure that we’re always kind of like needing, meeting the needs of our customers out there in the market. And so, we currently today, like in these last five years have made this evolution in the ads business.
Harold Klaje (3m 17s):
We now have a really strong foundation that allows us to work closely with, you know, Fortune 500 companies, as well as, the smallest, you know, start-up’s and the, the S&P companies. So, it’s a full [inaudible] of product offering that we have across every industry and every company size, to put in that way. And that’s what we really built out in these last five years. And we’ve kind of set up our organization also to kind of mimic that, so, we have recently announced, just prior around my joining, a new sales model as we call it, whereby we have a large customer sales team, which was really focusing on those top 500 clients and making sure that they are close to them.
Harold Klaje (3m 58s):
We created this mid-market and [inaudible] team, but that goes after, you know, disruptor kind of brands, app install, gaming brands, but also our, the smallest companies. And we created this activation [inaudible] team, that really is very powerful, and maybe going back a bit to your first point, right. Reddit is unique and we love being unique, and there if we have like a creative strategy team and enablement teams to really work closely with our brands to make sure that they get the best out of our uniqueness and have the right strategy to be as successful as possible on our Reddit platform. So, that’s the kind of like the, you know, what happened these last 15 versus these last five years.
Mike Shields (4m 37s):
Right. Does that structure that you are describing, is that sort of, does that mirror the playbook that you’ve seen rolled out at Google and Pinterest in your different stops where, you’d have to kind of, if you do a little holding for the brands that don’t know what to do with this thing in the early days, and then eventually you build out a base where they can kind of graduate to buy ads and managing campaigns themselves, is that kind of what you’re looking at?
Harold Klaje (5m 2s):
Yeah, I mean, the structure itself to a point, I don’t think it’s, yeah, it’s a structure that many successful companies have, right. So, having a large customer sales team, a mid-market team and a [inaudible] team and an activation and enablement team, there’s, I think there is nothing out of the ordinary there, and there’s a reason for doing it, especially in a large customer sales environment, you probably want to have more vertical knowledge, right? You want to go really deep with some of these accounts, whereas in the mid market space, yes, you want to go deep with your accounts, but you’re more wanting to understand their business challenges and their go-to market model.
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