Q&A with People’s Choice Award Winner Ashleigh Rankin

Ashleigh Rankin works in Brand Partnerships – Performance at Reddit, and she is also the People’s Choice Awards winner for the 2020 MGS mBolden Women of the Year Awards. As her nominator says, “Her expertise in the mobile app and performance advertising space has played a key role in fostering successful campaigns across our gaming, entertainment and fintech clients. Ashleigh has been a star player in spearheading strategies and gathering results for Reddit’s performance ads team. Her drive, insights, and client wins, showcase her trajectory as a rising star at Reddit and in the advertising industry. We hope MGS feels the same way.”

It’s for this and so much more that MGA would like to congratulate Ashleigh on winning the MGS mBolden Women of the Year People’s Choice Award. We chatted with Ashleigh about her early career, which subreddits she loves, and her surprising connection to “Game of Thrones.” (If you want to know more about Ashleigh and Reddit, check out our podcast with her!)


Q: Congratulations on winning the MGS mBolden Women of the Year Award! Can you tell us a little about how you got to where you are now? Did you have any mentors that helped you along the way?

A: Thank you! I feel so honored to be included in the amazing group of women who were nominated. As for how I got to where I am now: I moved to San Francisco in 2012 and started my career at a small mobile advertising agency where I was employee #3 in the San Francisco office and handled our biggest accounts. A couple of years later, we were bought and had 75 employees by the time I left.

I spent most of my career on the buy-side and when I left after seven years, I was the Head of User Acquisition. My close friend (and prior vendor!) Ryan Angerami had just founded the Performance Team at Reddit and ended up convincing me to be a Sales Manager to help build the East Coast team. That was December of 2018 and we’ve come such a long way since then. I moved my life from San Francisco to New York and my career moved from the buy-side to the sell-side in one fell swoop!  It was the best professional decision I’ve ever made.


Q: Can you tell us about the Women of Reddit Group and how it supports you and other women at the company?

A: Reddit’s mission as a platform is to bring community and belonging to everyone in the world, and it really shows. Reddit values diversity and inclusion and makes a huge effort to ensure everyone feels support and belonging. The “Women of Reddit” employee resource group was started to make certain that women in the office have a safe place to discuss all manner of things related to thriving in the workplace, have peer-to-peer conversations about how to handle common situations and also to have some fun. Truly, it is the most supportive group of women I have ever had the pleasure of working with. 


Q: Right now your growth team is focused on disruptors, mobile-first, and DR-heavy clients. How does that impact your strategies?

A: Reddit is a fairly new platform for direct response advertising. We launched CPC in early 2019 and spent a lot of the year building products for advertisers to make life easier to reach new users and track performance campaigns. Similarly, 2020 is also shaping up to be a huge year for us with many products on the roadmap. 

Our team works in tandem with the Ads-Eng and Product team and therefore we have an amazing feedback loop to ensure we’re building the correct tools and products for our advertisers. The beauty of Reddit is that we have a huge unduplicated audience and people self-select into their interest groups so you’re truly reaching a new audience of people who are interested in what you have to say. Ultimately, our goal is to verify that advertisers are getting the best results in terms of ROAS from Reddit campaigns, so our priority is having everything set up to make that funnel as easy as possible for advertisers.

Q: If you could share just one tip with other mobile growth marketers, what would it be?

A: TEST EVERYTHING. So many times I see people get locked into the same media mix and strategies because that’s what they have always done and that’s what has worked before. I recommend always setting aside budget for testing new channels, new audiences, and new formats. On Reddit specifically, I always tell clients not to give in to the self-fulfilling prophecies—just because you believe your audience is a certain demographic with specific interests doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test outside of that. For example, if you have a game you want to advertise, don’t just exclusively target the Gaming Interest group and gaming subreddits. We’ve observed that other interest groups can surprise you and work well—like parenting for example. You don’t know what you don’t know, so always be willing to test and learn.


Q: When you’re exploring Reddit, which subreddits do you spend the most time in?

A: I have been a redditor since I moved to San Francisco, long before I took the job here and I absolutely LOVE it. I have a few different subreddits that I peruse, but more recently I’ve been spending a lot of time on r/ShowerThoughts, r/BritishProblems and of course r/adops!


Q: Let’s end this on a fun note! Tell us a little about yourself outside of the office. What do you do in your spare time?

A: I just moved to New York this time last year (actually the day after MGS19) and therefore am still exploring this wonderful city. I’ve been trying to check out live music venues and a lot of comedy shows. I love to cook and I’ve started a Sunday Dinner club with some other women of Reddit! I also travel back to Ireland a lot as well to spend time with family and fun fact: they live right beside what is known in “Game of Thrones” as Kingsroad.