Rev Up Your Reddit Referral Traffic

What a sampling of Reddit referral traffic to major consumer tech brand sites tells us about the platform

Reddit is now a publicly traded company. And in the wake of their IPO on March 21st, we’re sure to see a flood of overtures from consultants and the company itself to get involved in the community and apportion some ad spend for the platform.

But does it make sense for your brand?

To help answer this question, the team at Datos conducted a thorough analysis of behavioral data, measuring the volume of Reddit users (or redditors) that made their way from the site to a sampling of five major consumer tech brands over the past two years. 

Before we go into the numbers, though, it’s probably a good idea to do a quick primer about the Reddit platform and how it works.

The Ins and Outs of Reddit

Reddit is an unusual entry in the social media category. Unlike most other social platforms that impose a range of posting restrictions, directly employ measures to enforce guidelines, and show users primarily what an algorithm wants them to see, the site takes a different approach.

Users of Reddit control much of the content you see on the platform. Almost every board (or sub-Reddit) is moderated by an unpaid redditor. Content can therefore present some brand safety considerations. 

The site does, however, employ a few functions for establishing some measure of authority and legitimacy to the content, providing brands with a moderate safety net:

  • Up-voting and down-voting, where presumably higher votes indicate general acceptance among redditors of a post’s value.
  • Karma, which is earned through an opaque calculation that includes participation, positive votes on content, and other factors, and is supposed to establish the authority of the posting redditor.
  • Trophies, which are earned as milestones are met on the platform, further establishing credibility for the redditor.

 What the Data Tells Us About Reddit 

For the purposes of our research, we looked at redditor traffic to,,, and (which includes, and The selection of these sites was based on the presence of active discussions of each brand on Reddit, and was intended only to provide a snapshot of referral traffic to a single vertical (consumer technology).

On Reddit itself, we found that members of the main discussion board for each brand were:

  • Apple – 4.8M members
  • Dell – 91.1K members
  • Microsoft – 557K members
  • Samsung – 338K members
  • Sony (including Playstation) – 1.7M members

The Findings

Datos’ behavioral data appears to show that Reddit does drive a notable amount of traffic for each of the brands we considered.

For instance with Apple, which has the biggest Reddit community of all the brands we studied, we found that Reddit accounts for 0.77% of total referral traffic, as of the last quarter of 2023. What’s more, this number has been trending upward over the last two years, despite a user protest over API policies and hundreds of subreddits being shut down during this period.

Graph, the number of users of ‘’

Putting this into perspective, only Facebook (0.81% Q4 2023) and search engines like Yahoo and Bing (ranging from 1.06% to 1.66% during Q4 2023) refer a higher percentage of traffic to Google, of course, is the outlier, commanding the majority of referral traffic (86.2%), as they do for nearly every website on the Internet. But setting this aside, these numbers still indicate Reddit is a valuable referrer to Apple.

And, as you can see by the chart below, the same is true for each of the other tech brands we looked at. Over the last two years, referral traffic from Reddit has trended upward for all of the brands except Sony. But even in Sony’s case we find that Reddit has accounted for between 0.78% and 1.19% of their site’s referrals — the highest margins for any of the brands we considered.

Table, Quarterly Percentage of Referral Traffic from Reddit

While this study only addresses a handful of organizations, the results are still promising for all brands considering the Reddit platform for marketing and communications efforts. This is particularly true for brands that have complex relationships with their customers, such as those that inspire rabid fandom or where there are steady streams of product upgrades or updates.

It’s important to note, though, that a majority of the advantages for brands are coming from organically led discussions, rather than through overt efforts by the brands themselves.

In the case of the five brands we considered, only Samsung’s mobile division had a brand account that displayed any activity. Apple, Microsoft and Sony had inactive accounts, apparently just to preserve their identity, while Dell appeared to have no presence at all.

We also need to caution that we don’t have enough data to draw conclusions about ad-driven traffic vs organic traffic. However, we did find that all of the ads we identified on the platform rarely added to the conversation, almost uniformly receiving no comments or up/down votes. And in a previous research project, we found that over the course of May 2023 the average ad on Reddit received 200 times fewer clicks than the average posting.

This is not to say that ads on Reddit are doomed to be ineffective, but it does present the possibility that more may need to be done to integrate the content of the ads into the subreddit conversations where they appear.

Recommendations for Leveraging Reddit

From an immediate point of view, the most logical way to start leveraging the Reddit platform is to nurture or seed conversations there surrounding your brand or product. However, this should be done with both restraint and honest self-reflection.

Not every brand can naturally and consistently inspire riveting conversations that capture the attention and interest of their customers or prospects. And given the decentralized nature of Reddit, forcing a conversation topic centered on your brand is likely to be unsuccessful — or even detrimental.

If your brand or product hasn’t already become a topic, perhaps you can look for a discussion about a problem your product solves. For instance if you’re a toothpaste brand, consider invigorating a discussion about dental issues. But the point is, being relevant in an already existing conversation appears to be a better strategy to pursue.

We also need to pay attention to what seems to be working on the platform for other brands. From what we see, branded account postings are ineffectual. However, non-promotional participation by product managers or other knowledgeable employees can do wonders to energize a conversation involving your business. From helping with customer service issues to providing technical expertise, individual employee participation shows genuine care and concern.

And as for ads, we recommend taking it slow. The sluggishness we found surrounding ad engagement was troubling. But we do see huge potential if the ad is run with a message tied to individual conversation topics and coordinated with honest and transparent employee support.

Reddit presents some exciting opportunities for marketers. It offers us a direct connection to customers, a valuable opportunity to learn about their likes and dislikes, and a powerful tool to stoke interest and sales. The key is to focus primarily on the organic opportunities first, and establish credibility. Then you can bring your more promotional opportunities to life, with an audience that is already invested in your people, your products and your brand.

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