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Natasha WilliamsDecember 06, 2023

Decoding Reddit: Why Brands Should Pay Closer Attention

To track what's being said about them on social media, brands often focus their social listening efforts on the usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, and LinkedIn. While these social media giants have long been at the forefront of marketing and communication strategies, one platform seems to have quietly amassed a dedicated and influential user base that often goes overlooked: Reddit

Reddit’s unique community-driven structure and 55.79 million daily active users present a vast and untapped potential for brands to engage with diverse audiences, spark authentic conversations, and foster brand loyalty. And, with 40% of Gen Z preferring to discover information on platforms other than Google, the strategic inclusion of Reddit in social listening efforts can prove instrumental in crafting targeted and resonant marketing campaigns.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of Reddit, exploring the untapped power that this platform holds in shaping online discourse and consumer perceptions.

Reddit’s Unique Ecosystem

Reddit is a unique and multifaceted platform celebrated for its extensive array of user-generated communities, known as “subreddits,” each dedicated to a wide range of topics and interests. Within a subreddit, users engage in discussions, share content and links, ask questions, provide answers, and vote on posts and comments related to the specific topic or theme of that subreddit. Unlike many other social media platforms, Reddit’s ecosystem is decentralised, with these subreddits acting as microcosms where users come together to discuss, share, and explore subjects that resonate with them. 

From niche hobbies and passionate fandoms to in-depth discussions on world events and complex scientific phenomena, Reddit is a digital mosaic that caters to virtually any interest or curiosity one can imagine. This fragmented structure enables users to engage with like-minded individuals, fostering authentic conversations and making Reddit a remarkable hub for in-depth discussions and information sharing. 

Reddit as a Hub of Genuine Conversations

‘Redditors’ are renowned for a no-holds-barred willingness to openly share their opinions, experiences, and feedback, making the platform a treasure trove of unbiased and unfiltered insights. 

Unlike other social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, Reddit offers a greater degree of anonymity. Users feel empowered to express their unvarnished opinions without the need to reveal their personal identities or adhere to a specific online persona. This anonymity fosters a culture of transparent and honest exchanges, where individuals share their personal experiences, both positive and negative, without the constraints imposed by real-world consequences or the need to maintain a carefully curated online image. 

In July 2023, Elon Musk rolled out a new ad revenue-sharing initiative on Twitter/X, targeting frequent posters with content generating high engagement. This move, however, inadvertently triggered a rise in ‘engagement farming,’ a practice wherein users intentionally share content that is provocative or incendiary to stir reactions among other users, and artificially boost their engagement metrics. This trend has sparked concerns about the diminishing authenticity and honesty on Twitter/X, as users increasingly prioritise eliciting reactions over fostering genuine communication. In stark contrast, Reddit’s effective downvoting system acts as a deterrent, discouraging such behaviour and championing a community-driven ethos that places value on meaningful contributions rather than mere engagement numbers.

Subreddits: The Heart of Realtime Targeted Insights

Subreddits hold significant importance in the realm of social listening due to their role as highly specialised communities of like-minded individuals. Brands can leverage this by tapping into relevant subreddits to gain deep insights into their target audience’s opinions and preferences. According to reporting from Mumbrella, nearly 25% of posts on Reddit are recommendations, and with over 100,000 active communities, that’s a substantial opportunity for building brand awareness and fostering authentic connections with potential customers.

For instance, a tech company interested in understanding consumer sentiment about a new smartphone release can monitor and participate in subreddits dedicated to smartphone enthusiasts. By actively engaging in these communities, brands can connect directly with niche, engaged audiences, identify trends, gather unfiltered feedback, and even conduct informal market research, enhancing their marketing and product development strategies.

Streem Social offers an invaluable tool for brands seeking to monitor and analyse Reddit conversations. By harnessing Streem’s capabilities, businesses can gain real-time insights into discussions within specific subreddits, allowing them to track sentiment, identify emerging trends, and respond promptly to user feedback. Streem Social empowers brands to navigate the vast landscape of Reddit, turning it into a strategic resource for understanding consumer opinions, refining marketing strategies, and fostering genuine connections within these highly specialised online communities.

The Challenges and Risks

Social listening and learning from user discussions without direct posting can be a more prudent strategy for some brands on this platform, as posting on Reddit presents a unique set of challenges – primarily due to its stringent self-promotion rules and demand for genuine engagement. Unlike some other platforms where promotional content is readily accepted, Reddit’s community values authenticity and frowns upon overt marketing efforts. This necessitates a delicate balance between participating in discussions as a genuine community member and promoting one’s products or services. 

Brands must tread carefully to avoid coming across as insincere or opportunistic, as the Reddit community is quick to spot inauthentic behaviour. Failure to do so may lead to downvotes, negative comments, and potentially harm a brand’s online presence and image. One notable example of this occurred in 2017 when video game company Electronic Arts (EA) was met with intense backlash from Reddit users over the perceived pay-to-win mechanics and microtransactions in the game “Star Wars Battlefront II.” EA’s comment defending the monetisation practices became the most downvoted post in Reddit’s history, and the negative attention on Reddit extended to broader media coverage and had a significant impact on the game’s sales and EA’s public reputation.

To mitigate these risks, brands should approach Reddit with authenticity, engage genuinely with the community, and focus on contributing value rather than self-promotion. 

A Success Story

In the vast realm of Reddit, there exists a thriving community known as r/skincare, a digital haven where skincare enthusiasts, novices, and experts converge to discuss all things related to skincare. With an impressive 14.3 million monthly screen views, according to Glossy, this Subreddit stands as one of the foremost hubs for skincare conversations. From product recommendations and personal skincare journeys to in-depth discussions on the latest trends, r/skincare is a treasure trove of valuable insights and a supportive environment for anyone looking to up their skincare game.

Korean beauty brand Laneige ventured into Reddit advertising as part of its Water Bank collection campaign, leveraging promoted posts and videos in skincare and Asian beauty Subreddits. The brand aimed to raise brand awareness, purchase consideration, and intent, and the results were impressive.

Korean Skincare SOV Chart

Streem Social data shows that one month after this campaign, Laneige’s efforts resulted in a 39.5% share of voice when compared to three other leading Korean skincare brands. Glossy also reports Laneige achieved a 50% higher click-through rate and a 42% higher video completion rate compared to Reddit’s benchmarks. The campaign’s success demonstrated how Reddit can serve as a valuable tool for beauty brands to tap into existing conversations, expand their fan base, and gain product recommendations within vibrant and active communities.


Reddit is more than just a platform for memes and viral content; it’s a goldmine of insights waiting to be discovered by brands willing to embrace it. By recognising the unique value of Reddit in the realm of social listening, brands can gain a deeper understanding of their audience, uncover new opportunities, and strengthen their online presence. Don’t underestimate or underutilise Reddit any longer – it’s time to tap into this invaluable resource.

Find out more about Streem Social for Reddit monitoring and reporting, or contact our team to get started. 


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