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Community Lessons: Reddit - A glimpse behind the scenes
👩💼 From Duolingo to Reddit
As the year is coming to an end, we want to share with you some significant developments that are taking place on Reddit.
We think it’s important to understand some of the larger trends and developments on the platform, as it hosts thousands of communities. Since Reddit is making headlines these days, we want to give you a quick overview of what is happening.
As we already shared last week, Laura Nestler, the community genius that helped build Duolingo’s exceptional global community, decided to take on a new challenge: VP of Community at Reddit. As we will show in this issue, she’s already implementing community initiatives at Reddit that resemble those that led Duolingo to build its global community.
This move comes at a critical time for Reddit, as the company announced to go public just a week ago. Not only that, but Reddit seeks to push its growth by allocating resources to growing user bases outside the USA – with Laura Nestler spearheading this endeavor.
This has some important implications for community-focused entrepreneurs around the world.
📈 Reddit’s Expansion
Since its founding in 2005, Reddit has been home almost exclusively to English-speaking communities. But expanding its presence in non-English speaking communities has been on the management’s agenda: in early 2021, Reddit started hiring Country Launchers in non-English speaking countries like Germany and France.
And in September/October, they found what they were looking for. Among others, Reddit hired Gustave Sauveroche, former Head of Community at Jodel, and Vincent Dubois, former Operations Manager at Uber, to launch Reddit in Germany and France, respectively.
Having AMAs (Ask Me Anything) with well-known figures seems to be a strategy to drive more traffic to Reddit. We found an AMA which seemed to have been organized by Reddit for the french-speaking subreddit r/vosfinances. The AMA hosted Matthias Baccino (Managing Director, Trade Republic) and Franck Morel (CEO and founder of Zonebourse).
🪄 What made Imgur special?
🚀 Getting off on the right foot: ambassador programs and pushing subreddits
But Reddit seems to have more tools in its toolbox for a successful country launch. Even though Reddit just recently announced the official Germany Country launch, they started being active in the German market already months before.
Earlier in 2021, Reddit launched an Ambassador Program for German Redditors. This was an experimental program to provide German-speaking communities with somewhat of a start-up help. The scope of the program was to hire ambassadors (experts in certain subject areas) to jump-start communities in underrepresented languages on Reddit until they are self-sufficient.
We found two German Ambassadors that moderate large German subreddits: CitrusTheFruitDude and VitaminSpree. It’s interesting to note that both accounts were created on April 26th, 2021. This must’ve been around the time the Ambassador Program (officially) launched.
Besides hiring ambassadors to jump-start German communities, it seems as if the platform gave some nudges to the growth trajectory of many German communities on Reddit. Here are some extremely spike-y growth patterns that occurred at the exact same time in multiple German communities:
r/HeuteLernteIch (German for “todayilearned”)
r/FortniteDE (German Fortnite subreddit)
Other subreddits that showed the exact same pattern (explosive growth from July 7th to August 8th-ish) include: r/MinecraftDE, r/mediathek, r/Formel1, r/radsport, and r/NintendoDE.
Here you can see the power platforms have: Reddit decided to launch in a new market, so they tweak the platform a bit to direct traffic to communities in those markets. This was probably achieved through simple nudging, such as frequently recommending users to join these communities.
However, this isn’t organic growth. It remains to be seen whether this initial push translates into organic growth further down the line. In the case of r/FortniteDE, the growth has even slightly decreased since the initial spike.
Another observation we made in those exploding German subreddits is that Reddit seems to be pushing subreddits that have been doing well in the English context:
r/Duschgedanken = r/Showerthoughts
r/HeuteLernteIch = r/TodayILearned
r/Lustig = r/funny
r/MinecraftDE = r/Minecraft
For German community builders, this is a great opportunity. One could find subreddits that haven’t been translated from English to German yet, and go ahead and build them in the German market. Being the founder and moderator of a subreddit with thousands of members can later help you distribute products/services (to some extent).
🔭 Outlook: other trending categories on Reddit
To conclude this issue, we want to highlight some other categories on Reddit that are experiencing exponential high growth organically — without artificial jump-start support from the platform.
We see two categories showing up repeatedly in the fastest growing communities: hyper-local and live-streaming.
Hyper-local communities usually form around a city or state. Members of those communities share all things related to those places: beautiful pictures, discussions about current events, memes that communicate hyper-local knowledge, and questions by people who just moved to the area. Some examples of such communities include r/Hyderabad, r/Munich, r/SouthJersey, and r/Alabama.
Live-streaming communities seem to be taking off as Reddit just recently introduced a video format (called RPAN, Reddit Public Access Network) to the platform. These communities are still in their infancy, but it totally makes sense to introduce live-streaming on Reddit. Given that Reddit is a place for communities that form around specific interests, providing those communities the possibility to share content in a live video format makes sense.
Interestingly, those subreddits are the ones where the most money is exchanged on Reddit, in form of platform-native coins that can be tipped from user to user. Examples of such communities: r/ReadWithMe, r/GlamourSchool, r/TheYouShow.
As you might have noticed, we found these fast-growing subreddits through our list of exploding communities. If you want to find more such subreddits, feel free to check it out here.
We hope you enjoyed this issue and found these insights as interesting and valuable as we did!
See you soon!
Moritz & Matthias
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