Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reddit: People come to our platform to be informed

Earlier this year, Reddit recently released a piece of research with media measurement company Verto Analytics which identified the role that ‘the front page of the internet’ plays in the consumer purchase journey compared to social platforms.

Typically, when thinking of commerce, many people’s first (or second, or third) thought wouldn’t be associated with Reddit. But the research found that the platform may be even more influential in the purchase journey than places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

“We feel that people come to Reddit to be informed, because it’s authentic and trustworthy. And this leads to actions like talking about brands and purchasing products,” says Jack Koch, Reddit’s Global Head of Marketing Sciences.

“With the decrease in physical shopping that’s happened over the past year, people can’t go to the stores, they can’t touch things, they can’t feel things, they can’t try on certain things. The biggest change and shift that’s happening within the industry is that people are now shifting their research online. They’re starting to discover where they can really trust the conversations online. But, more importantly, what they can’t trust. Where’s the disinformation? Where are these me-centric conversations happening with influencers and affiliate sites?

“So, we really wanted to understand where Reddit fit in this purchase journey.”

Path to purchase

The research looked at almost 1,500 online journeys for actively-researched products and found that Reddit purchase journeys tend to result in deeper research, faster purchase decisions, more spend, and higher NPS ratings than other social platforms.

On average, Reddit users evaluate twice the number of brands during up to four times more research sessions. At the same time, they make nine times faster purchase decisions and spend 15% more, while being 13% more likely to speak positively about the brands they have bought from and having a 12% higher post-purchase NPS.

Koch feels that a lot that is down to the communities – or subreddits – that exist on Reddit, as they tend to breed authenticity and honesty when it comes to the topics they represent.

“Reddit is made up of over 100,000 different communities with people that are really passionate about those communities. And what we’ve seen is that Reddit is where people come for the most informed and most trustworthy information on topics,” explains Koch.

“The anonymity of the community also fuels that authenticity. That’s what we’ve seen in all of our research. It’s people really talking about their experiences through this anonymity that fuels their empowerment. It allows them to talk about things that are maybe somewhat personal and there’s no reason for them not to be honest and authentic,” he continues.

“Whereas, on some of the ‘me’-centric social platforms, these people are identified. I am Jack Koch on these social platforms, but on Reddit I am just a user that’s very passionate. There’s no reason for me not be authentic and honest with these conversations.”

A moment like this

For brands, this sense of community provides the opportunity for them to “meet the moment”, as Koch describes it.

Brands, as has especially been seen over the course of the pandemic, have the opportunity to truly connect with consumers in an honest and authentic way, while showcasing the value they can provide.

Two brands that have embraced Reddit over the course the pandemic are Netflix and Disney. Netflix got involved with discussions about what TV shows or movies people should turn to once they got through everything on their list, while Disney responded to its theme parks being closed by sharing fairy tale stories that could be read to kids and recipes of the food available when its parks are open.

“Consumers are looking for honest, authentic interactions, especially over the past year,” says Koch. “It’s important for brands to take on a human tone. This can be hard since they’ve spent years cultivating this really polished tone, especially at a lot of these larger brands.

“What we ask brands to do is be honest, be authentic, contribute. It’s about a value exchange and really being an active member of the community. We’ve seen a lot of great brand loyalty come for that transparency and those honest conversations.”

The comfort that Reddit users have around brands on the platform is also backed up research. The platform found that users feel that brands that make an effort to be on Reddit are more trustworthy. And the majority of Redditors agree that brands are able to have conversations with them on the platform that they’re not able to have anywhere else.

“They really respect the effort that those brands make,” says Koch. “So, as long as brands continue to provide value and continue contributing to conversations, they’ll continue to have success on the platform.”