Reddit is about an hour away from hitting its massive goal of getting 200,000 of its users to sign up for the annual Secret Santa gift exchange program, which is actually really good news for the company’s bottom line. (The exchange has nearly 199,700 signups at the time of publication.)
Oh yeah, we're going to have a serious elf party later tonight. GUYS! It's happening!
— Reddit Gifts (@RedditGifts) November 30, 2014
Why, you ask? Well, I suppose it might be a bit presumptuous to say it’ll increase Reddit’s revenue, but what I can justifiably say is that it’s setting up a beautiful long-game strategy — something the company is known for doing.
Over 200,000 people participating in a program that requires them to comb Reddit for ideas for a gift that’ll essentially go to a stranger means that 200,000 engaged consumers are spending money. Thus, the program should gain attention from big-name advertisers willing to buy native ad campaigns on Reddit proper (the community news-sharing service). Reddit may also see some revenue from purchases made through the Reddit store. And finally, former Reddit general manager Erik Martin in a previous interview told me that the gift exchanges were important to the company’s overall strategy because it brought in new users that ended up sticking around and engaged those that were already actively using Reddit. (On top of all that, Reddit even recently promoted Reddit Gift’s lead Dan McComas to SVP of product — underlining how important Reddit Gifts is to the company.)
Technically, we won’t know if Reddit will see 200,000 users participate in the Secret Santa program until after it happens. Last year the company saw over 85,000 people participating, so there’s a good bet it’ll at least exceed that for 2014. Signups officially end Dec. 1, so there’s some indication that it’ll exceed the goal. If successful, Reddit will have broken its own Guinness world record for the second consecutive year.
That said, Reddit probably hasn’t had to spend much money marketing/promoting the event (beyond operational costs), and the “breaking the world record” theme is a perfect goal that most users — even those that aren’t very familiar with Reddit’s robust, active community — can understand and get behind.