Which Subreddits Does Your Audience Follow? What Do They Talk About? Starting Today, SparkToro Has the Answers

Today, we’re launching a new “Reddit” tab in SparkToro. It will show you the Subreddits to which the audience you search for most-heavily subscribes, and the text content of their Reddit posts. This feature is briefly available for all paid subscribers. In a few weeks, SparkToro is updating our prices & packages, at which time it will be exclusive to Standard and Agency tiers.

Read on for more detail about why we’re such big believers in Reddit as a source of audience research, or give the new Reddit tab a try now.

Last year, Reddit was one of only three social platforms with breakout growth (according to Pew). The percent of Americans who say they regularly engage on the platform rose from 11% to 18% (i.e. nearly double!). Reddit’s also become a key part of how people search for content online—large numbers of Google searchers now append “Reddit” to their queries to get more trustworthy data from the Internet’s self-proclaimed front page (sparking Fast Company this year to ask, Is Reddit a Better Search Engine than Google?).

Reddit’s growth rate was the highest in Pew’s 2021 report
(though it’s likely TikTok grew faster; Pew hadn’t asked about that network before)

Reddit is fundamentally different than other social platforms:

  • Users rarely connect their profiles to other social network presences (e.g. while a person’s Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are likely to point to each other, their Reddit accounts are often an anonymous island)
  • Marketing, sales, and the general “creator” economy are shunned in most communities in favor of more authentic, less self-interested content (Reddit users are notoriously prone to downvote any submissions that are perceived as marketing)
  • Reddit communities are specifically interest-based. Users subscribe to Subreddits based on topics they care about rather than individual accounts they want to follow (while Reddit supports following users, this behavior is relatively uncommon).
  • Reddit’s content is heavily text-based. Videos and images are shared in posts, but the vast majority of the site is people commenting in text, often in more substantive and robust ways than on other social networks

For these reasons, we couldn’t use the same methodologies employed by the rest of SparkToro’s social-graph-database; we had to start from scratch. But, if you try it out, you’ll see just how impressive, accurate, and instantly-applicable the search results can be.

For example, say my target audience is amateur and professional videographers:

Knowing that these folks subscribe not only to the (relatively obvious) /r/videography, but that there’s a big overlap with several wedding subreddits, /r/filmmaking, /r/cinematography, and (scrolling further down) the /r/personalfinance, /r/cameras, and /r/editors subreddits is hugely valuable. If I wanted to:

  • Learn what videographers talk about on Reddit
  • Advertise directly on specific Subreddits likely to reach them
  • Find topics for my blog/newsletter/social feed that are likely to resonate with this group
  • Analyze trends in subject matter, text, or self-descriptors

This information (and the comment text below) is invaluable. Honestly, other than building your own Reddit crawler to process and extract this data, I’m not sure how it could possibly return trustworthy results.

Just one more example—say you’re trying to reach parents and students who talk about college test prep to learn about their sources of influence, topics of interest, what they’re thinking about throughout the school year (not just at SAT exam prep time).

Searching SparkToro, you can see what many of these folks follow, subscribe-to, and talk-about, but I’d argue there’s no data source more valuable in this sector than Reddit:

Left: Social accounts followed | Right: Subreddits subscribed-to

I’m not saying social data (or YouTube, website, or text insight data) isn’t valuable. But in this sector, I’d argue a test prep marketer is likely to get more insight, value, and targeting-savvy by subscribing to those Subreddits than any other single audience research activity.

Important note: Reddit data in SparkToro uses its own network-specific social graph. It’s not apples-to-apples comparing /r/SAT’s 59% to Edutopia’s 16%, because the Subreddit numbers rely on only those profiles we found talking about “college test prep” on Reddit, while the Social tab’s numbers are across multiple social networks (not including Reddit).

We believe that Reddit’s data is uniquely useful to marketers precisely because it’s so untouched by sales or marketing influence, and represents such a raw version of what people care and talk about. The unvarnished topics of interest are usually those that earn the most upvotes. The text content is rarely pushing an agenda (certainly never an obvious one). Reddit retains the unique ability to encapsulate how millions of similarly-interested people think, talk-about, react-to, and express-passion-for a subject or piece of relevant content.

We couldn’t agree more with Ross Simmonds’ Tweet (and the replies)

That information at your fingertips is a power every marketer deserves.

Of course, millions of marketers already know the power of Reddit; and for y’all, this feature is more about showing the *value* of Reddit participation, learning, and (when it makes sense) advertising. There’s still a lot of skepticism about Reddit’s reach, audience, and use-case applications from clients and leadership teams, to which transparent, trustworthy data is the antidote.

As always, if you’ve got thoughts or feedback after giving this new feature a test-run, please drop a line to support at sparktoro dot com, or leave a comment below.

p.s. At launch, this new Reddit feature doesn’t support Boolean, “quote” searches, but in the next ~2 months that functionality will be available.