Engaged Communities

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Big news, promised Noam Cadouri from Reddit, as he took his seat on the Big Boulder stage. For the first time, Reddit is making commercial terms available for platform data through a partnership with Socialgist. Now what exactly, you might be asking, does that mean for me? Well, Reddit (known as “The Front Page of the Internet”) is a platform on which users can interact via pseudonyms – without any connection to their name or face – about anything. If you’re a brand, parsing through the literally millions of message boards to understand references and frequency and sentiment is simply not possible; until now, of course, because companies will be able to run queries and figure out all that information with a fraction of the grunt-work. And Socialgist customer, Brandwatch, is now the first to compliantly make this new premium data offering available to brands around the globe.

Reddit is a unique platform with respect to users’ adherence to the site’s rules, because “subreddits” are monitored by thousands of volunteer moderators in addition to Reddit itself; it really is a study in crowd-sourced community-regulation. Which, of course, raises the issue of free speech – that is, how, if, and when aberrant or aggressive users should be disciplined. All platforms, Codouri mentioned, make decisions based on their corporate goal. Reddit’s goal: to create welcoming spaces online.

Reddit is a space that gives people freedom from social pressures and the ability to express themselves creatively, however they choose to do so. – Noam Cadouri

Since users maintain anonymity (or pseudonymity) on the site, they are free to talk about anything they want (you can create an account with only a username and email, i.e., no demographic data at all). As a traditional marketer, the lack of data might be just enough to make your eyes glaze over, but, as Mr. Cadouri pointed out, Reddit is a fantastic tool for marketers. In many cases, subreddits are the largest aggregation of passionate, pure, followers available. Which means, basically, a focus group where the most honest and unadulterated feedback is available on a massive scale.

As Reddit continues to explore the ways in which they are making their data accessible, companies will develop better ways to use that data. A useful application, Cadouri mentioned, was the ability to measure sentiment toward a brand before and after an ad campaign runs. In many cases, Reddit’s transparent feedback from honest and eager users is the most accurate way to tell a brand’s story over time – if you can get through all that data. Which, by the way, is possible.

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