Marketing Adtech Data & Privacy

Why Reddit acquired contextual advertising firm Spiketrap


By Kendra Barnett | Senior Reporter

September 1, 2022 | 4 min read

Social platform Reddit is bringing Spiketrap’s audience contextualization technology within its own walls in a bid to bolster its advertising efforts, per a new announcement.

Reddit logos repeated

Reddit is leaning into the promise of contextual advertising / Adobe Stock

What happened

  • Reddit is acquiring Spiketrap, whose technology enables intelligent ad placements based on context rather than user identifiers such as cookies. The San Francisco-based adtech company claims its proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) tools, used in conjunction with its knowledge graph, enable contextual targeting, media measurement, brand suitability, safety evaluation and more

  • Reddit noted in a blog post today that Spiketrap’s technology will help to improve ad relevance, quality scoring and prediction models for automated bidding. The company said that Spiketrap was the right fit due to its track record of enabling advertisers to better understand and engage audiences using AI-powered contextual analysis tools

  • “The richness of conversation within our 100,000+ active communities is what makes Reddit so unique and so valuable for advertisers. We believe targeting relevant audiences based on interests and with the context of the conversations they are engaging in helps ensure advertisers are reaching the right people in the most efficient ways,” said Reddit’s executive vice-president of ads monetization Shariq Rizvi in the announcement. Rizvi noted that Reddit has been “actively investing in solutions to this end for some time.”

  • Though the details of the deal were not made public, Reddit did note that the Spiketrap team is coming onboard and will head up various projects within the company’s advertising arm

  • Kieran Fitzpatrick, co-founder and chief executive officer of Spiketrap, said in a statement: “Our goal has always been to contextualize language at scale and in real-time to help creators, brands and platforms genuinely understand and meaningfully engage their audiences. We’re looking forward to scaling these efforts even further as part of Reddit.”

Why it matters

  • The acquisition comes amid a widespread reckoning within the advertising industry over targeting and measurement models, which have for some time relied on user-level identifiers and users’ personal data. Now, under pressure from consumers, tech companies and policymakers are moving away from personal identifiers. Instead advertisers and publishers are increasingly investing in new privacy-preserving approaches such as contextual targeting

  • This is the latest in a string of recent acquisitions by Reddit. Last month, the company announced its purchase of natural language processing firm MeaningCloud; the news came just weeks after the company said it had acquired machine learning platform Spell. All signs point to growing investments in the platform’s AI and advertising capabilities

  • Indeed, the company said in today’s blog post that its acquisition of Spiketrap serves as “the latest example of our commitment to evolving our algorithms and recommendation engines in ways that don’t merely optimize for engagement and attention, but for value – the value Reddit’s content brings to individual redditors, their communities and our advertising partners (both on-platform and in real life).”

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