How Does Reddit Make Money?

How Does Reddit Make Money?

Reddit is a popular social media platform that has gained widespread attention for its diverse user-generated content, vibrant communities, and engaging discussions.

It has become a go-to platform for news, information, entertainment, and discussions on a wide range of topics.

But have you ever wondered how Reddit, with its seemingly simple interface and free access, generates revenue?

In this in-depth article, we will delve into the business model and revenue streams of Reddit, exploring how this online community generates income.

Introduction to Reddit

Before we delve into the details of Reddit’s revenue generation, let’s first understand what Reddit is and how it works. Reddit is a social media platform that allows users to post, share, and discuss content in various topic-based communities called “subreddits.” Users can subscribe to these subreddits based on their interests, and each subreddit has its own moderators who enforce community rules.

Reddit was founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, and it has grown exponentially since then. As of 2021, Reddit boasts over 430 million monthly active users, making it one of the largest social media platforms on the internet. Reddit has a vast user base, diverse content, and a highly engaged community that fuels its popularity.

Reddit’s Business Model

Reddit’s business model revolves around a combination of advertising, premium membership, and other miscellaneous revenue streams.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these revenue streams to understand how Reddit generates income.


Advertising is one of the primary revenue streams for Reddit. The platform offers various advertising options to businesses and brands that want to reach Reddit’s large and engaged user base. Reddit’s advertising options include display ads, sponsored posts, and video ads, among others.

Display ads:

Reddit allows advertisers to purchase display ad space on its platform. These ads are typically displayed in the right-hand sidebar of the desktop website or in the feed of the mobile app. Advertisers can target their ads based on various factors such as subreddit, user interests, location, and more.

Sponsored posts:

Sponsored posts, also known as “promoted posts,” are posts that are paid for by advertisers and are displayed at the top of a subreddit or in users’ feeds. These posts are designed to look like regular user-generated content but are clearly labeled as sponsored. Advertisers can target their sponsored posts based on subreddit, user interests, and other criteria.

Video ads:

Reddit also allows advertisers to run video ads on its platform. These ads can be in the form of short videos that play automatically in users’ feeds or longer videos that users can watch by clicking on them. Video ads can be targeted based on various factors such as subreddit, user interests, and location.

Apart from these standard advertising options, Reddit also offers custom advertising solutions for businesses that require more tailored campaigns. These custom solutions may include options such as sponsored events, branded content, and partnerships with influencers or subreddits.

Premium Membership

Reddit also generates revenue through its premium membership program called Reddit Premium. Reddit Premium is a subscription-based service that offers enhanced features and benefits to its subscribers.

For a monthly fee of $5.99 or an annual fee of $59.99, Reddit Premium subscribers receive benefits such as an ad-free experience, access to premium-only subreddits, custom avatars and emojis, and other perks.

Reddit Premium is designed to provide additional value to users who are willing to pay for a premium experience on the platform. While it is not a significant revenue generator compared to advertising, it does contribute to Reddit’s overall revenue stream and helps support the platform’s operations.

Miscellaneous Revenue Streams

In addition to advertising and premium membership, Reddit also generates revenue through other miscellaneous sources of income. These may include:

Reddit Gifts:

Reddit Gifts is a program where users can participate in gift exchanges with other users based on common interests. Users can sign up to participate in various themed gift exchanges, such as Secret Santa, and purchase gifts for their matched users. Reddit charges a fee for participating in some of these gift exchanges, which contributes to its revenue.

Reddit Coins:

Reddit Coins are a virtual currency that users can purchase and use to award posts or comments they find valuable or interesting. Users can buy Reddit Coins with real money and then use them to award posts or comments with different levels of “awards” that come with special perks. Reddit takes a percentage of the revenue from the purchase of Reddit Coins.

API Access:

Reddit provides an API (Application Programming Interface) that allows third-party developers to access and use Reddit’s data in their own applications. Reddit charges fees for API access, which can contribute to its revenue.

Data Licensing:

Reddit also licenses its data to businesses, researchers, and other entities for market research, data analysis, and other purposes. This can be another source of revenue for Reddit.


Reddit has an online store where users can purchase official Reddit merchandise, such as T-shirts, stickers, and other items. The sales from merchandise contribute to Reddit’s revenue.

It’s worth noting that while Reddit generates revenue from these miscellaneous sources, they may not be significant compared to its advertising and premium membership revenue.

Challenges and Criticisms

Like any business model, Reddit’s revenue generation methods are not without challenges and criticisms. Here are some of the main challenges and criticisms associated with Reddit’s business model:

Advertiser concerns:

One of the challenges Reddit faces is maintaining a balance between advertising and user-generated content. Reddit’s user-generated content is often known for its authenticity and can sometimes be controversial or even offensive. This can pose challenges for advertisers who want to ensure their ads are displayed in a brand-safe environment. Reddit has faced criticism and controversy in the past for hosting controversial content, which has led to some advertisers pulling their ads from the platform.

User backlash:

Reddit’s decision to introduce advertising and premium membership has faced backlash from some users who view it as a departure from the platform’s original “free and open” ethos. Some users have expressed concerns about the impact of advertising on the platform’s content and community dynamics. Reddit has had to navigate these concerns and strike a balance between generating revenue and maintaining its user base.

Monetization challenges for users:

While Reddit provides opportunities for users to make money through premium membership, sponsored posts, and other means, it may not be easy for all users to monetize their presence on the platform. Making money on Reddit typically requires a significant following, engaging content, and adherence to community rules. This can be challenging for many users, especially those who are just starting out or have niche interests.


In conclusion, Reddit’s business model revolves around a combination of advertising, premium membership, and other miscellaneous revenue streams. Advertising is the primary revenue stream for Reddit, as it offers various advertising options to businesses and brands to reach its large and engaged user base. Premium membership through Reddit Premium provides an additional source of revenue, while other miscellaneous sources such as Reddit Gifts, Reddit Coins, API access, data licensing, and merchandise sales also contribute to Reddit’s overall revenue.

However, like any business model, Reddit’s revenue generation methods are not without challenges and criticisms. The platform faces concerns from advertisers, backlash from users, and challenges for users to monetize their presence on the platform. Despite these challenges, Reddit continues to be a popular social media platform that provides a space for diverse communities and discussions, and its revenue generation methods play a significant role in supporting its operations and growth.

About the author

Hi, I'm Lisa. I went from losing everything in my divorce, to beating all odds and becoming a financially free, independent Woman. My blog is about gaining financial freedom. Thanks for supporting my journey!

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