The Beginner’s Guide to Using Reddit for Market Research

Reddit —the self-proclaimed front page of the internet—is a social networking site with more than 330 million monthly active users.  These users—referred to as Redditors—use the platform to share, interact with, and consume the latest news and trending topics.

Reddit is more than just a social networking site. The platform offers a unique and untapped goldmine of market research. If used correctly, Reddit can help marketers demystify their target audience, perform keyword research, and spark new campaign ideas—today we teach you how. Keep reading!

Reddit 101: A Primer

If you’re new to Reddit, it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. So, let’s quickly review some key terms and concepts unique to Reddit:

Subreddit: Reddit is home to more than 138,000 active communities—known as “subreddits”—which focus on niche topics and interests. Users subscribe to subreddits so posts from those communities show up in their main feed.

Karma: How you act or behave on the website earns you karma. When you abide by Reddit etiquette, you earn more karma. Although karma doesn’t have much impact on user experience, it can change how other users perceive you.

Voting: Within each subreddit, users can submit posts, comment, and vote. An upvote moves a post upward in the feed and a downvote moves a post downward. Based on the votes, popular posts and comments end up at the top of the feed. This reveals what information users find most valuable, funny, or interesting.

Anonymity: Unlike most social media sites, users tend to stay anonymous on Reddit. This is beneficial for research as it encourages more open-ended discussion.

Humor: Reddit is most known for humorous or clever content. The modern Redditor tends to be slightly more tech-savvy, up-to-date on internet culture, and most importantly they have a penchant for irreverence and humor. Keep this in mind when posting or commenting.

Of course, these are just the basics. To get the full Reddit experience, we recommend you create an account and take some time to explore the site. Now without further ado, let’s review our five top tips to use Reddit for market research:

1.    Find your audience.

Reddit is a massive online forum, so it can be challenging to immediately pinpoint your target audience. Some subreddits garner a significant amount of engagement but cover a broad range of topics—while others are extremely focused and have very little user activity. So, in order to find your audience, you must be strategic with your search and strike the right balance between subject matter and engagement.

To do this, use the subreddit search tool. Although there are countless subreddits pertaining to your audience, industry, or interests, we recommend you start simple. Try searching for the following terms and see what you uncover:

Your products:

In order to find existing Reddit threads regarding your products or services, try searching for your branded keywords or specific product names. Not only will you quickly identify where your customers are on Reddit, but you’ll also gauge how people generally feel about your products.

Your competitors:

Gather competitive intelligence by searching for terms related to your competitors and their products. You may find Reddit threads where customers argue a competitor’s product versus your product—which can provide valuable insights to fuel your marketing strategy.

Keywords and phrases:

Consider your SEO strategy and the keywords you target organically. These same keywords will likely yield an interesting set of subreddits where users are having conversations of interest to your brand and marketing initiatives.

Industry keywords:

Consider the broader interests of your audience. Can you think of topics and keywords related to your industry that run parallel to your current product offerings? For example, a marketing automation platform might not sell a social media marketing solution, but they’re likely to find a qualified audience by searching for terms related to corporate social media.

Each search query will generate a list of subreddits. Keep in mind, not every subreddit will be valuable to you or your research efforts. As you investigate each subreddit, look for the following signs to determine if it’s a good fit:

Audience size:

How many subscribers does the subreddit have?

Subreddit activity:

When was the last post? How many comments does the average post generate?

Subject matter:

What topics are users discussing? Are the posts relevant to your typical customer?

If you’re still on the fence about whether to subscribe, we say join anyway! You can unsubscribe at a later point if the posts aren’t helpful to you.

2.    Gather feedback.

Traditionally, conducting market research is expensive and time-consuming. But, by using Reddit, marketers can access a free and fast way to generate honest feedback on just about anything. And, because of the relative anonymity Reddit offers, the feedback you gather is likely more honest and reliable. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Ask questions:

Publish an anonymous or branded question in an industry-related subreddit to see how potential customers respond. For instance, you might ask: “How do you feel about this brand?”, “Do you have experience with X product”, or “What influences your purchase decisions most?”

Consult your peers:

Post a question in a subreddit that’s primarily occupied by other marketers and business professionals. These subreddits are a great place to get advice from your peers when it comes to marketing best practices. For instance, you might ask: “What marketing metrics are most important to you?”, “What’s the best marketing automation platform?”, or “What do you think of this campaign idea?”

Post a survey:

Submit a survey to a related subreddit and ask users to fill it out. This is a great way to collect information without clogging up subreddits or annoying other users.

Remember—each subreddit has its own community rules in addition to general Reddit regulations. Make sure you study these rules before posting so moderators don’t remove your posts.

3.    Generate new campaign ideas.

The structure and expansiveness of Reddit make it a great tool to generate new ideas for targeted marketing campaigns. Think about how Reddit works—users naturally segment themselves by subscribing to specific subreddits and then vote on the content that is most valuable to them. Essentially, each subreddit gives you a behind the scenes look at the content your target audience finds genuinely interesting.

Ready to spark your next big idea? Here are a few ways to get started:

Identify topics that come up frequently:

Find topics are trending or important in your industry—this can help you fill any holes in your content strategy.

Pay attention to posts that garner significant engagement:

Develop campaigns around industry-related topics to drive similarly high engagement for your own initiatives.

Find unanswered questions:

Many people use Reddit to seek out answers to important questions. Look for commonly-asked questions or questions that don’t receive thorough answers—and create content that provides an answer.

Reddit is a goldmine of inspiration! Get creative and engage with other users to find new ideas for your next marketing campaign.

4.    Perform keyword research.

As with most social media platforms—Reddit users tend to adopt a more relaxed, personal tone. As a result, Reddit can reveal how your audience uses keywords and phrases in casual discussions.

To use Reddit during the keyword research process, simply monitor the conversations happening in your space. Do certain terms and phrases keep coming up? Or perhaps you have an idea for a new campaign or piece of content—use the Reddit search functionality to see how your target audience is talking about this particular subject matter.

Final Thoughts about using Reddit for Market Research

Social media sites come and go—as a result, marketers are often skeptical of new platforms. But, Reddit has long since passed the test of time. In fact, Reddit is the eighth most popular site in the world and is the second most popular online news source worldwide (source). While Reddit shouldn’t be your sole source of market research, it can be a valuable resource to add to your marketing toolbox.

For more information about improving your marketing efforts, contact ZoomInfo today. Our sales reps can discuss the ins and outs of our contact database.