With the launch of the sequel book, Computer Engineering for Big Babies, on Kickstarter, I posted a video walk through of the book on a couple different sub-reddits. I wanted to do this because when I launched the original Computer Engineering for Babies book, the /r/arduino subreddit pretty much funded my entire campaign on the first day. If I remember correctly, I had raised about $2,500 with my email list and personal network. Then, feeling frustrated and not knowing what to do next, I posted a short video to /r/arduino, hoping for a miracle. Which was granted! The post went on to get more than 7,000 upvotes, and by the time the first day of the campaign was over, the had raised $12,000.
So this got me thinking, How much is a Reddit upvote worth?
Obviously, the answer to this question depends on a lot of factors. I'm sure that peddling books is going to be very different than if you're sharing videos on Reddit about armed military drones, but I thought it would be fun to explore anyway.
Here are the data points we have, some more exact than others:
1) Original CE for Babies post to /r/arduino.
I don't have exact numbers, but as I said before, this post brought in about $10k the day it went live. I imagine that with follow on days, it might be closer to $15k total. But we'll say this post had a rate of $10k/7k = $1.42 per upvote.
2) Big Babies posted to /r/ECE.
I posted a link in the comments to the Kickstarter page, and according to Kickstarter, this link brought in $930. I would say this is a minimum, as a lot of people I'm sure end up finding the campaign without clicking through my link and immediately backing it.
So this post equates to a minimum value of $1.74 per upvote. And equates to $0.017 per view.
3) Big Babies post to /r/arduino:
And the Kickstarter tracked pledges:
So this has a rate of at least $0.92 per upvote. Which seems a lot less than the other two estimates. But also, check the view count. The view count isn't much higher than the post in /r/ece (data point #2), and the value per view is $0.02 per view, which is better than #2.
And then there's this post:
4) So someone screen recorded my original CE for Babies video and re-posted it to /r/nextfuckinglevel several months later. I don't have an exact number of how many books it sold, but we can see a spike in my sales data.
Again, the data is fuzzy here. The post went live on October 29th, but the day previous was already an out of the ordinary sales day. My best guess is that something was taking off the day before, and /u/EvaRaw666 jumped on the trend and re-posted this to Reddit.
So it's I don't know how much of the days' revenue was due to this reddit post vs whatever was happening the day before.
So between Oct 29th and 30th, I'm thinking we'll call this one somewhere between $8,000 and $14,000 in revenue. This gives us a range of $0.38-$0.66 per upvote. I feel like this can be expected as the viewers in /r/nextfuckinglevel are not going to align as well with my target market as the viewers in /r/arduino or /r/ece.
As expected, there is a ton of variability, and four data points isn't exactly strong. But I think if you post to a relevant sub-reddit, then it seems the value of an upvote can be anywhere from $1-$2.
Your mileage may vary. The most common advice for trying to promote a product through reddit is to know and understand that sub before your start posting there. I first posted to /r/arduino because I had followed that subreddit for a few years prior, and I felt like I had a good feel for what kind of content that subreddit looks for and appreciates. I hate to admit it, but when I was new to reddit, I got banned from r/frontend for oversharing. But that's a story for another post.
Any comments or suggestions, then feel free to reach out!