Why Reddit is a good tool for spotting trends

Instead of scrolling through TikTok in search of the last word in -core, maybe you should check out this social network, icon of web culture and trend detector before the rest.

Back in 2010, Reddit users started a community dedicated to Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is still only worth a few dollars and not many people care. The first articles from the general press will not come until a year later. In 2013, redditers are already talking about connected homes in the /smarthome subreddit. And electric cars on r/electric cars in 2009, before Tesla started making its first cars.

It is in this forum-like social network that certain communities are created, which later multiply on YouTube and TikTok. An anti-jobs group campaigning to abolish jobs, for example, was born on Reddit in 2013 before going viral on all other platforms in 2022.

“Digital Crystal Ball”

Do these examples make redditers (the nickname given to their users) fortune tellers? Probably not, but at least good weak signal detectors could become more of a mainstream trend. In other words: Reddit is an interesting tool to try to capture the cycle with a modest beginning.

That’s it anyway storytelling It was highlighted by the social network itself at CES, an annual exhibition of high-tech products held in Las Vegas in early January. In a blog post published before the event, Reddit presents itself as an oracle of sorts. “A digital crystal ball full of communities and conversations shaping the future,” the company writes. To drive the point home, the platform installed a crystal ball on its booth that made predictions about the future of transportation, gaming, and technology based on conversations happening on the platform.

To market its ability to identify future trends, Reddit highlights the profiles of its approximately 50 million users daily. They will be particularly keen on technology issues. Half of US Redditors are tech savvy, and 45% know someone who is early adopters (early adopters of a technology) according to a study conducted by an American company. 60% say they are “the person in their group of friends who always recommends a new product or service to others.”

So what do Reddit pythies tell us for years to come? The company ranked the most talked-about tech chat topics on the platform and asked 2,000 users to estimate when these products and services would be available. For example, for 2025 we find: personalized cosmetic care thanks to DNA, food grown in the lab, music created thanks to AI and personalized according to the user, encounters in the metaverse…

TikTok aesthetic factory, Reddit trends ahead

Reddit’s position is interesting because it illustrates the desire of social networks to be official trendsetters. The master of the matter is obviously TikTok. In the eyes of the media and marketing teams anyway. The Chinese social network has become a real aesthetic factory. Every day it delivers its share of new neologisms adorned with the suffix -core or -ing that designate a new imaginary, a new tribe of the Internet, or a neomania of Internet users. So much so that the network has become a direct source of inspiration for fast fashion giants like Shein, who copy and paste fashions created on the platform in real time.

I’m not sure Reddit has the same productivity. Moreover, the platform detects longer-term trends and further stages than the kingdom of ephemeral fashions, TikTok.

A way to engage the public

The final statements of the platform are also (and above all) a means to attract advertisers. Because if Reddit is appreciated for its geek side and underground, it remains the fifth wheel on the wagon in the eyes of brands. The platform doesn’t have the firepower of Facebook, the commercial aesthetic of Instagram, the algorithm of TikTok, or the idiosyncrasies of Pinterest. But with the loss of momentum of the giants of the sector (Meta and Alphabet), the cards can be changed, calculations Digiday. As advertisers move their ad budgets from one platform to another, Reddit has every interest in attracting the attention of marketers.

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