ConsumerInsights | 7 min read

Understanding the Power of Reddit Data

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We’re proud to have recently added Reddit to the list of social data sources available for Linkfluence customers in our consumer insights platform. We’re continually seeking partnerships with the most relevant and important social platforms, to ensure our customers are able to access the most comprehensive range of data available.

But what is Reddit, and why is it such an important source of social data?

If you don’t really know much about Reddit, you’re not alone. Despite being one of the most popular websites in the world, it doesn’t seem to share the public visibility of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Reddit currently has around 430 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) which, in the ranking of popular social media platforms, puts it in between Twitter (396 million MAU) and Pinterest (459 million MAU). So in terms of sheer volume of users, Reddit is a pretty big deal.

Launched in 2005 as a kind of discussion forum designed for content sharing, the site has built a loyal, highly engaged audience over the past 16 years. It started life as a place where a small, highly tech-savvy, community would share interesting and funny online content, and what made the idea so compelling was the ability of other users to vote on each submission.

So if the audience liked a piece of content, and ‘upvoted’ it, that item would rise to become more prominent on the homepage, whereas items that didn’t get votes would be less visible. It quickly became a handy place to find out what was cool online on any day.

The second key element of Reddit’s appeal is the ability of users to comment on submitted content. Under every interesting link, image, or other kind of post, you’ll always find a lively, funny, informative discussion, which is subject to the same upvote/downvote mechanism as the main content. This helps maintain a good quality of discussion. The best comments are always found at the top of the discussion thread, while poor quality contributions fall off the bottom of the page.

This recipe for success helped the site attract a growing audience, but what really helped the platform reach its current peak was the ability for anybody to create their own community focused on any topic they liked. These ‘subreddits’ now cover almost any niche interest you can imagine; at the most recent estimate there are over 2.8 million of them.

From broad free-for-alls such as /r/funny, /r/pics, or /r/todayilearned, to more focused, special interest subreddits like /r/ProgrammerHumor, /r/MovieDetails, and /r/MakeupAddiction, whatever you’re interested in, you’re likely to find a thriving community on Reddit, full of people who share your passion for the subject.

Why Reddit Data Matters

Reddit is a place where a lot of good quality online conversations take place, so it should already be of interest to consumer insights researchers. But the subreddit system makes it even more powerful, because many of those conversations are pre-categorized.

For example, it’s a safe bet that any cosmetics brand is going to find a lot of value in analyzing data from discussions in /r/MakeupAddiction with its community of 2.7 million makeup lovers. Likewise, the British motorcycle manufacturer, Triumph, would probably be keen to understand what the 26,000 members of /r/Triumph are talking about, not to mention /r/motorcycles, /r/MotoUK, and the various other motorcycle related communities of Reddit.  

Whatever you’re interested in as a consumer, there’s somewhere on Reddit for you, and the same is true for businesses. Millions of conversations take place every day on Reddit, and many of them will have some value for businesses who want to understand how consumers really feel about their brands, products, and any number of other topics.

Conversations on Reddit are unprompted and spontaneous, and accounts are mostly anonymous with very few users posting their real identities. This means people there are far more likely to share their honest, heartfelt opinions on a topic than they would in a market-research survey, where they can more easily be influenced by the way a question is presented, or the circumstances of the survey.

The addition of the full Reddit firehose to Radarly means that our customers now have access to all of this rich data, and can immediately begin using it to uncover high-value consumer insights on the topics that matter to their business. As well as analyzing conversations to extract insights, our customers will be able to identify both individual Reddit users and communities which are influential in a specific topic area. 

Example Use Cases

Alcohol Industry

Alcohol brands need to show industry regulators that they are serious about promoting responsible drinking and providing alternatives for people. The Reddit community /r/stopdrinking is a great place for them to build a deeper understanding of how consumers seeking sobriety are sharing their journeys. With these insights in hand, they can better craft their messaging and placement in ads and inform development for no-alcohol products.

Entertainment Industry

When planning and launching new content, marketers and production companies can dig into the thousands of dedicated fan subreddits to gauge reactions and feedback so they can fine-tune their marketing programs. For example, it would take hours to turn /r/thematrix into insights but Radarly AI helps analysts and marketers quickly identify trends. This allows you to speak to fans with authenticy.

Fashion Industry

Video game publishers are collaborating with artists and fashion brands to create unique in-game experiences for their players. If we take a look at Nintendo Vans, we can see how consumer insights can enhance and AI can accelerate their launch analysis. 

Sometimes fashion brands will develop in-game fashion exclusives like an outfit that players can buy for an avatar, and other times they will create real-world products that also provide a bridge between interests like gaming and sneaker culture. There are multiple subreddits that analysts and designers can visit during product development including /r/Vans and /r/Nintendo to collect insights. 

More mature brands go beyond this initial research and will put several subreddits side-by-side in Radarly. They use Linkfluence AI and data structuring to make sense of vast amounts of data and focus on the conversations that matter.

For example, consumer insights professionals do not have time to search, explore, or read all of these subreddits but they could compare the data sets easily to pick up on trends that are relevant to their new product directly from consumers.

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