Market Research With Reddit

Reddit as a means for market research: Yay or nay?

Understanding your market is at the forefront of everything we do as digital marketers. And as marketing is becoming even more data-centric, there are loads of analytics tools for social listening and more that give brands even more power in understanding what their consumers want, need, and even aim to precipitate those desires. But, you might find a market research ally right where you least expect it in Reddit.

First off, what is Reddit anyway? Symantec summed it up nicely on their official blog like this: “it is an online social media community where users vote on content.” Anyone can sign up and be part of Reddit. Users join sub-communities, which are called subreddits, which anybody can create but get monitored by volunteers. Within the subreddits, people submit links and the rest of the members can vote on them.

At a glance, some could be thinking: isn’t this just a waste of time? Well, Hootsuite, who is the source of the article inspiring us, did say so verbatim: “Most people use Reddit to waste time.” But, what is most interesting about Reddit is the treasure trove of content you can find on the most popular subreddits. Some users will join channels related to passions, and these channels may not be as popularly frequented. What you will find in the subreddits that will be most useful to you is the Downvote/Upvote. This is how Reddit decides what content stays on top and what is on the bottom.

Researching on Reddit in a nutshell

First, as the Hootsuite post mentions, you must go and find where your customers are. And that’s why the subreddits are your friends. You can either try to use search engines like Google, or there is a tool called the Reddit Enhancement Suite that, when downloaded, helps you search and filter. As you look around, they recommend you spend an hour writing down the most popular keywords and questions that people are asking in your relevant topic.

Hootsuite then recommends you ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do people feel about your product category?
  • How do people feel about advertising in your category?
  • How sophisticated are consumers of your products?

Doing all of this leads you to what Julie Supan coined the HXC or the high expectation consumer. Since Reddit pushes the smartest opinions to the top of their threads, which in turn can be implied to be the most concerning, it then gives you the tools you need to target the most demanding consumers that you would ultimately want to gear your strategy towards anyway. Hootsuite sums it up like this: “It’s a social network filled with smart and opinionated consumers. This is exactly the consumer you want to aim your marketing strategy at.”

Once you have your base of subreddits together, you have options to synthesize all your information together. You can combine subreddits into a multireddit, with all the results on one page. Hootsuite also has a keyword monitoring app, but it requires you to subscribe for $6.99 a month. If you don’t want to create a multireddit and you don’t have the budget to invest in an app subscription or are not using Hootsuite, you can create RSS streams related to the reddits you’ve chosen.

Beware: marketing on Reddit may not be the best idea

Given the fact that Reddit tends to be the place where memes and other content that ends up going viral starts out before launching onto other social media platforms. It makes sense that marketers would want to be present. But, hard-core Reddit users, in fact, detest any content that appears to have a sales angle, and Ad Age confirms that they “overwhelmingly hate marketing in (almost) all forms.” However, not all is lost with Reddit. Besides the market research framework that we’ve briefly described above, there are some other ways you can use Reddit to your advantage. To make sure you know what your brand shouldn’t do, there’s a Reddit for that: HailCorporate. You can search for your brand’s competitors to see what weak points you can capitalize on as you look to improve your performance. If you’re looking to tap into Redditors for a deeper survey, you can use the “Has Anyone Else” Reddit to ask questions most relevant to your research. And, as another tactical incentive, you can give people Gold (which are premium subscriptions to Reddit worth $5) subscriptions to reward individuals who talk very highly of your brand.

How does this apply to me?

In Module 3 of this course, the keyword is measuring. While a lot of the focus is on measuring performance and KPIs across channels (as well as ROI), targeting the right groups for your brand will ensure that you can meet your objectives. And, of course, data is key to measuring the efficacy. Using Reddit is a unique way to use user-generated content to research your market.

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