Why Reddit Data Matters for Consumer Insights

Reddit offers deeper conversations that brands shouldn’t ignore

What are consumers saying about your brand online? Most brands would answer that question with data from top social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but they are likely missing a hugely insightful chunk of data: consumer conversations on Reddit and other forums.

Brands’ lack of attention to Reddit may be a result of a lack of access to the data or lack of understanding of the value that the data can provide. Reddit data can and should be analyzed just like the rest of social media, but conversation on Reddit has some key differences and advantages.

In this post we’ll go through some of the key benefits of analyzing Reddit data and why it’s so powerful for uncovering consumer insights. First, we’ll provide a quick overview of Reddit.

What is Reddit?

Dubbed “the front page of the internet,” Reddit is the home for conversation online. It just surpassed Facebook to become the 3rd most-visited site in the US, has over 330 million monthly visitors, and is known for being the source of trending content and conversations. Aside from its reach, Reddit hosts some of the most passionate, engaged users on the internet who come to  the site to discuss everything from video games to personal finance.

Governed by a universal content policy and organized around hundreds of thousands of subreddit communities with their own moderators and rules, Reddit welcomes conversation around every topic imaginable. Anyone can start a community, and within those communities anyone can start a discussion or post. The community can engage with those discussion threads by commenting, upvoting or downvoting. This determines which threads and content (and which comments within those threads) rise to the top.

Why Reddit (and other forum data) matters to brands

When analyzing online consumer conversations to uncover business insights, having more data is always a good thing. But beyond the fact that Reddit offers a massive amount of conversations to analyze, it also offers very different types of conversations. Redditors delve deep into the topics they are discussing to seek answers and advice in addition to sharing personal opinions and funny memes.

Here are a few of the reasons that Reddit data is different, and why brands should take a closer look:

  • In-depth discussions
  • Subject matter experts
  • Trends start on Reddit
  • Higher conversation volume on specific topics

In-depth discussions

The in-depth discussions found on Reddit can be a gold mine for brands looking to understand how consumers think about and use their products.

For example, a thread in the “Ask Reddit” subreddit entitled “What restaurant have you sworn to never return to and why?” contains thousands of accounts of bad restaurant experiences. An analysis of the thread shows that Applebee’s took the largest share of criticism.

Potential brand crisis aside, the hundreds of detailed descriptions of bad customer experiences at Applebee’s could be useful to the restaurant for determining how to improve their brand perception.

Subject matter experts

As seen from the restaurant example in the “Ask Reddit” subreddit, Redditors love to ask and answer questions. With thousands of subreddits about specific topics, many pose questions seeking advice from subject matter experts.

For example, the “Personal Finance” subreddit (with almost 13 million subscribers) is full of conversation about specific financial brands and products with community members seeking and giving financial advice. This subreddit shows a major difference from other sources of online consumer data like Twitter and Instagram.

The structure of Reddit makes it an excellent place for people to get useful answers to questions from subject matter experts. Those answers are then available for other interested parties to browse to learn about the subject without needed to ask the question themselves. The voting system also makes the “best” answers easy to find. Moderators also do their best to keep the conversation free of spam, self-promotion, and other issues that impede discussion.

Trends start on Reddit

If your brand is about to experience a big PR success or crises, there’s a good chance the conversation will start on Reddit. For example, Apple’s recent “batterygate” crisis all started with a Reddit post entitled “PSA: iPhone slow? Try replacing your battery!”   in the iPhone subreddit, where the original post shared the images of the performance benchmarks from his iPhone before and after battery replacement.

While posting the same content on another social network might not have gotten the same attention, posting it in Reddit’s iPhone subreddit ensured that this insightful information from an iPhone expert would be seen by other iPhone experts and fans. This helped the post gain the attention it needed to break out of Reddit, onto other platforms, into the news, and eventually to cause Apple HQ to release a statement.

Keeping a close watch on the Reddit conversation around your brand helps ensure that you’re aware of any potential brand wins or crises before they reach the rest of the internet and the mainstream news. Additionally, if there are specific topics, products, or competitors that matter to your brand, tracking them on Reddit can help you pick up on trends early.

Higher conversation volume on specific topics

While Reddit (and other forums) definitely aren’t always the largest source of conversation about a brand, product or industry, they can be. For example, in a recent analysis of online conversation about credit cards, we found that 63% of the conversation took place on Reddit and other forums since 2015.

If a credit card brand wanted to understand that conversation and wasn’t looking at Reddit and other forms, they would be missing out on over half of the conversation. Beyond being a big chunk of data, Reddit conversations often possess depth and expertise that makes them more insightful than an average collection of social posts. Any brand that wants to understand trends within a market (like credit cards)  can’t ignore Reddit data.

Want to learn more about how brands can leverage data from online forums? Download our free guide:

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